International Study Conference – 5th & 6th June 2014

On June 5th & 6th the Athenaeum hosted a study session organised jointly by the Athenaeum Library and the Eighteenth Century Worlds Study Group, based at the University of Liverpool.  The theme of the conference was Eighteenth Century writing; actual hand written manuscripts, not printed words.  The keynote paper was given by Professor Dena Goodman from the University of Michigan who set the scene by outlining the way, in which during the Georgian period, increased literacy, especially amongst women, made letter writing a popular mode of expression; a trend manifest in the epistolary novels of the time.  She went on to look at the material aspects of writing, the supply of paper, pens, inks, inkstands and the development of the escritoire amongst the most celebrated cabinet makers of the period. A copy of her paper is available in the Library.  The evening was attended by nearly forty people drawn from a disappointingly few of our Proprietors, a number of Friends of the Library and from the academic world.

On Friday 6 June many of the audience returned to listen to papers presented by scholars from Uppsala in Sweden, Paris, Frankfurt, Bari and Liverpool. These dealt with topics as diverse as he records of the Stockholm secret police, household cookery and household management books from southern Germany, and Swedish autograph books.  The afternoon was rounded off by examination of various manuscripts from our own collections.

Our guests went away in love with the Athenaeum full of gratitude for the hospitality they had received, and with appreciative comments about the quality of the afternoon teas.

As usual a number of people have to be thanks for the success of this conference, notably Professor Rosenhaft and Dr Mark Towsey from the University of Liverpool, Professor Dena Goodman who is presenting a copy of her latest work to the Library and our team at the Athenaeum who ensured that our guests needs were provided for with their usual discreet efficiency.

The whole event was a great showcase for Liverpool, the Athenaeum and our collections