The Letters of Bess of Hardwick

Project start date: 2008-04 Project end date: 2012-02
Elizabeth, countess of Shrewsbury (c.1522-1608), known as ‘Bess of Hardwick’, is one of Elizabethan England most famous figures. She is renowned for her reputation as an indomitable matriarch and dynast and perhaps best known as the builder of great stately homes like the magnificent Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House. The story of her life as told to date takes little account of her more than 230 letters. The aim of the project is to make these letters accessible by producing a searchable, interactive online edition of all ca. 230 letters written to and from Bess of Hardwick. The Letters of Bess of Hardwick Online will go live, freely and openly available to all, in summer 2011. The website will be accompanied by publications, online resources and podcasts which will introduce, comment upon and offer analyses of the letters.
Methods usedCategory
2d scanning and photographyData capture
Cataloguing and indexingData structuring and enhancement
Coding and standardisationData structuring and enhancement
Content analysisData analysis
Data modellingData structuring and enhancement
DocumentationStrategy and project management
General project managementStrategy and project management
General website developmentData publishing and dissemination
Human factors analysisStrategy and project management
Interface designData publishing and dissemination
Manual input and transcriptionData capture
PreservationStrategy and project management
Searching and queryingData analysis
Security planningStrategy and project management
Sound recordingData capture
System quality assurance and code testingStrategy and project management
Text encoding - descriptiveData structuring and enhancement
Text encoding - presentationalData structuring and enhancement
Text encoding - referentialData structuring and enhancement
Usability analysisStrategy and project management
Funding sources: 
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Software tools used: 
Source material used:  
There are in the region of 230 letters extant to and from Bess of Hardwick (with ca. 80 written by Bess herself), scattered across 15 different archival repositories in the UK and US. They span a period of almost 60 years, from the 1550s to 1608. The diplomatic editions of the letters reproduce and discuss material features and peculiarities of the letters faithfully; the normalised versions standardise the text and layout for straightforward access to the letters' contents.
Digital resource created:  
The project produces online editions (normalised and diplomatic transcriptions with print-friendly versions) of these letters, complete with a fully searchable database catalogue and accompanying online materials for the historical background of the materials and their contents. Some letters will be accompanied by photographic reproductions of the manuscripts in the form of high resolution images.
Access to digital resource:  
Open Access
Data Formats created: 
Metadata standards employed: 
Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)
Interactive website; articles or monograph.

Institutions affiliated with this project: 

UK HE institutions involved:
University of Glasgow

Project staff and expertise: 

Principal staff member:Alison Wiggins
Other staff:PhD student(s)
External expertise:Humanities Research Institute (HRI) at the University of Sheffield (web design), Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) at Queen Mary at the University of London (consultancy), VARIENG Research Unit at the University of Helsinki (consultancy)

Metadata on this record
Author(s) of recordValentina Asciutti
TitleThe Letters of Bess of Hardwick
Record created2010-06-02
Record updated2011-05-31 13:48
URL of record
Citation of recordValentina Asciutti: The Letters of Bess of Hardwick. <> created: 2010-06-02, last updated 2011-05-31 13:48
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