Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture

Uncommon Sense—the blog

Update on the Georgian Papers Programme

· November 4th, 2019 · No Comments

The Georgian Papers Programme (GPP) is a 10-year transatlantic collaboration to digitize, share, and interpret more than 425,000 pages relating to the Georgian period (1714–1837) from the Royal Archives and Royal Library at Windsor Castle. The ultimate goal of the Programme is to provide a unique digital resource that is both readily accessible to members of the public and capable of sophisticated manipulation by researchers in any discipline, and to offer academic and public programming representing fresh research and interpretation. The GPP is a partnership between Royal Collection Trust and King’s College London with primary United States partners the Omohundro Institute and William & Mary.

GPP News

On November 5, 2019, the GPP will host a discussion between historians, creative artists and a leading psychiatrist on how the mental illness of George III, revealed so strikingly in the Georgian Papers and famously dramatized by Alan Bennett in his play “The Madness of King George III,” can help us think about mental health today.

“Mental Health and the Georgian World: The ‘Madness’ of George III” will begin at 6:45 p.m. at Bush House in London.

A NEW virtual exhibit“George III: the Eighteenth Century’s Most Prominent Mental Health Patient” — by GPP academic directors Karin Wulf, executive director of the Omohundro Institute and professor of history at William & Mary, and Arthur Burns, professor of Modern British History at King’s College London, examines many of the themes that will be discussed at the November 5th event.

This week also marks the launch of a public-facing transcription effort. The new website, transcribegeorgianpapers.wm.edu, allows those who would like to help decipher the letters of the Georgian monarchs and court take direct part in the project.

Announcing the Georgian Inventories Project

Inspired by the GPP and supported by the Omohundro Institute, W&M graduate students Alexandra Macdonald, Marie Pellissier, and Annie Powell are undertaking a new digital project. They outline their plans here.

by Alexandra Macdonald, Marie Pellissier, and Annie Powell

The Georgian Inventories Project will explore the relationship between luxury and mundane consumer goods and issue of labor, class distinctions, and familial relationships in the context of the Georgian royal households. Using inventories from Carlton House, we will create a site that visualizes connections between producers and consumers of these luxury goods, using mapping and network visualization tools. We hope to give the user a look inside Carlton House itself, and ask them to imagine this now long-gone building in its heyday. Many of the Carlton House inventories have been digitized through the Georgian Papers Programme, and these will form our initial source base for this project.

We hope that this project will be useful to a variety of audiences. It will primarily be geared toward an informed general public, especially those interested in the history of the British royal family, material culture, and the later Hanoverian period. We conceive of this site, too, as a resource for museum professionals and scholars who work with material culture.

As graduate students, this project provides an excellent opportunity to expand a set of skills that will serve us well over the course of our careers, but particularly now, as we are all exploring our interests in the buildup to our dissertation work. The Georgian Inventories Project will be built in Omeka, which will provide all three of us the opportunity to become more familiar with this open-source content management system. We also hope to use this as an opportunity to become familiar with GIS and network visualization tools and their applications in digital history.

This digital project also provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration within or own graduate networks and with other institutions. Generously supported by the Georgian Papers Programme (GPP) and the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture (OI), we look forward to working with the OI’s Lapidus Initiative Advisory Group, the Chesapeake Digital Humanities Consortium, and with scholars in the US and the UK affiliated with the GPP.

This fall, we are focusing on continuing to gather primary and secondary sources, and assembling a basic wireframe of the site. By the end of spring semester 2020, we hope to have a demo site constructed in Omeka and available to the public. We will be blogging about the process of doing this project as we go! Follow along with us on the OI and GPP blogs.

Alexandra Macdonald is a Ph.D. student in History at William & Mary. A historian of consumption and material culture, her research focuses on how working class people in the British Atlantic used material objects to create a meaningful sense of place and of community. She received her M.A. in Art History and Visual Studies from the University of Victoria (Canada) in 2016 and has held curatorial positions at both museums and cultural institutions in Canada. Follow her on Twitter at @AliMicMac.

Marie Pellissier is a Ph.D. student in History at William & Mary. Her research focuses on early American women’s intellectual history and the visibility of women’s knowledge through cookbooks, food, and the body. She received her M.A. in Public History from Loyola University Chicago in 2018. With Kate Johnson and Kelly Schmidt, Marie is the co-creator of Explore Common Sense, a digital critical edition of the first British edition of Thomas Paine’s eponymous pamphlet. Marie is also the creator of More than A Kitchen-Aid, a digital critical edition and online exhibit of a seventeenth-century manuscript cookbook. Follow her on Twitter at @MAPellissier.

Annie Powell is a Ph.D. student at William & Mary studying gender, community, and print culture in early America. She graduated from Cornell University in 2016 with degrees in History and English and received an M.A. in History from William & Mary in 2018.

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