The Bachelors’ Balls

If a single man in possession of a good fortune was in want of a wife in late nineteenth century Nottingham, he rectified the situation by joining a committee and paying to host a ball to meet eligible young ladies. This volume (MS 243: Minute book of the Bachelors’ Ball, Nottingham, 1908-1928) is the sole surviving …

Robert Boyle, the Biggleswade Bigamist

With dark eyes, broad shoulders and a black suit with a gold-embroidered waistcoat, former soldier Robert Boyle cut a dashing figure. He used his confidence and charm to win the hearts of young ladies wherever he went – and then ruined them. Bigamist Five days into her marriage, Susannah Boyle was confronted with the reality …

Effie, Lady Eastlake, and the evidence in the archives

Last night some of the staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections went to see the film ‘Effie Gray’, in order to compare the evidence in the archives held at the University of Nottingham with the latest interpretation of the scandal that was the annulment of the marriage of Euphemia Gray and art critic John Ruskin, and her subsequent marriage …

From Manuscripts and Special Collections, with Love

Nobody who has stepped into a supermarket or watched TV this past week can have failed to notice that today, Friday, is Valentine’s Day. Although the day has been associated with love since about the 14th century, sending Valentine’s cards and poems has only been commonplace amongst the general public for the last 200 years. Many …