This article explores the posthumous afterlives of manuscripts preserved in the collections of three middling sort families during the long eighteenth century. Tracing these materials over multiple generations, it foregrounds the significant role that family archives played in the construction and curation of memory and identity among non-elite families during this period. Further, by showcasing the different ways that people engaged with written remains – annotating, consulting, transcribing, incorporating, accumulating – it seeks to demonstrate how reconstructing the motives that underpinned family collections might be possible, offering a framework for the study of intergenerational archival transmission. In so doing, it illuminates the palimpsestic, polyvocal quality of the family archive, the complex intersections between socio-economic status, gender, confessional identity, and a subject’s curatorial concerns, and the implications that this has for our understanding of archival culture, both past and present.
|Journal||Cultural and Social History|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 13 Sep 2022|