Thursday, 23 August 2012

Deface This!


I froze, my archivist's standard-issue 2B pencil quivering in my hand, my eyebrows arched with both surprise and shock. A horrified gasp was swiftly followed by a shrieked word:  "Defacemeeeeent!!!!!!!!!!" which echoed around the archive searchroom.

"Who did this?!" I cried, leaping to my feet, "Who DID this!?", customers cowered before a torrent of spittle and a colleague ducked before the flying pencil. "Who did THIS!!" I demanded, pointing to book SC11/50/10.

This treasured, calf-skin bound tome was open at the front flyleaf. Upon which. Was a doodle.

A Doodle! On one of OUR archives! Reader, I was incensed.....

I felt the pressure of a calm hand upon my shoulder and turned to see the kindly, yet wary face of my supervisor. " It's contemporary," she said quietly, "It was done over 300 years ago. The defacer is dead now."


 I wept with relief as did the customers.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

'Be A Womanly Woman Under All Circumstances.'

Today, in 1920, the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing suffrage for women, hoorah!

6 years later, on the 18th of August 1926, an announcement appeared in the Orkney Herald for  the release of 'Women: An Inquiry', an essay exploring gender differences by Willa Muir, wife of  Orcadian poet Edwin Muir. Hoorah!


Willa Muir in 1967

On the 18th of August 2012, the archive staff found this terrifying piece in the 1905 Orcadian entitled '2s Every Girl Should Learn'


Thank goodness the female archive staff were not living in 1905, for we can admit to very few of these attributes. We do respect old age, (as an archive we revere it), and we sweep away some of the cobwebs and we of course read only the best of books (Does Games of Thrones count?) and steer away from trashy literature (Does Game of Thrones count?)

But we are not taking active exercise for anyone.