Mum’s gone to Iceland

Famous for its harsh landscapes and heroic sagas, Iceland was a source of endless fascination for 19th century travellers. Many were sent on geological, botanical or other scientific expeditions. Ida Pfeiffer was different. Born in Vienna in 1797, she was bitten by the travel bug aged 5 when she accompanied her parents to Palestine and Egypt. Her father …

Wish You Were Here

British Summer Time is here and the sun is shining – for the moment, anyway – and many people are looking forward to getting away for a short break over Easter, or a longer one in the summer. Prior to the twentieth century, holidays were the preserve of the upper classes. Overseas travel was prohibitively …

Grand Tourists and Others: exhibition opens

Intrepid explorer, Levison Wood, author of Walking the Himalayas and University of Nottingham History graduate (2004), journeyed to Nottingham Lakeside Arts to open Manuscripts and Special Collections’ latest exhibition Grand Tourists and Others: Travelling Abroad Before the 20th Century. The exhibition, curated by Levison’s former tutor Dr Ross Balzaretti (School of Humanities), takes the visitor on a …

Manuscripts Mysteries: Canada, Cake and Clergymen

The stereotypical, romanticized view of archives is one where researchers delve into a box of yellowed, long-forgotten papers to uncover clues and solve a mystery. But what happens when the boxes present more questions than they answer? For the last few months we’ve been turning to social media in an attempt to find out more …

A Fresh Crop of Records

There has been a flurry of new documents, books and digital files arriving at Manuscripts & Special Collections these last few weeks (is it possible to have a flurry of digital files?). Here are just a few of the two dozen or so new acquisitions we have taken in since the start of the year. Reaping …