October 18, 2021, by Kathryn Steenson

Cataloguing Connie part 3: the Finale

Connie Ford – veterinarian, poet, supporter of the arts, traveller, political activist, correspondent, sailor – left behind an enormous personal and literary archive.

We are pleased to announce the completion of the Connie Ford catalogue which is now open to view on our website. Over the next few months our blogs will highlight specific aspects of her life. The first blog looked at her veterinarian work, and the second on her poetry writing and love of music, dance, and theatre. This last blog in the series will look at her love of travel, politics, corresponding and sailing.

Connie was an extensive traveller and the places she visited include the former U.S.S.R., Denmark, Hungary, Italy, and Poland as well as trips around the UK (CF 4/4). She especially had a fondness for Russia and visited several times for work and leisure between the 1960s and 1980s. Connie also visited Mauritius in 1986 to see Halley’s Comet as a member of the Halley’s Comet Society.

Montage of photos of Russian streets and a passport open to show the Russian visa stamp

Connie Ford’s passport, tourist information, and photographs from Russia (Ref: CF 4/4/15 and CF 4/10/22)

In keeping with her fondness for Russia, Connie was very interested in communism and socialism, and was a long-term member of the Communist Party of Britain. She also attended many talks on political, social and economic issues, and was a staunch advocate for women’s rights. Connie’s collection of badges from CND to politics to hunting showcases her passion and convictions.

Connie Ford’s collection of badges and some literature on Socialism and Communism (Ref: CF 4/5 and CF 4/10/21)

Combining Connie’s love of travel and politics, as well as other interests, is the huge amount of correspondence from friends, family and comrades both near and far. Connie also kept some carbon copies of her replies so we can see both parts of the communications, which forms a useful resource spanning seven decades of the 20th century. Her correspondence with her sisters shows their affection and familiarity with abbreviations like V.D.2 for Very Dear Dandelion (their nickname for Connie) and UTD for Under the [hair]Dryer.

Some of Connie Ford’s correspondence with family and friends (Ref: CF 3)

Connie was a proficient sailor and bought a flat on the River Trent in the 1960s for this very purpose. She travelled a lot on her boat ‘Marie Curie’ and kept logbooks of her journeys (CF 4/7/3) and travel diaries of canal voyages in the 1970s (CF 4/4/11 and CF 4/4/13). Connie even received a certificate for navigating Erewash Canal in 1974.

Connie Ford’s sailing logbook, photographs, and certificate for navigating the Erewash Canal (Ref: CF 4/7)

Connie Ford’s archive of correspondence, papers, photographs and memorabilia covers an amazing range of topics and interests, and celebrates a life full of huge professional achievements and personal joys and triumphs. The Papers of Connie Ford catalogue is available here, and the collection can be viewed in the Manuscripts & Special Collections Reading Room by appointment. Email mss.library@nottiongham.ac.uk to book and let us know which documents you would like to see.

Post by Rachael, Archives Assistant.

Posted in Cataloguing