Tag Archives: women

Hidden Histories and Secret Voices by Catherine Paula Han

Join us at Special Collections and Archives on March the 8th for our free event to celebrate International Women’s Day


Celebrate International Women’s Day by discovering women’s hidden histories and secret voices in Cardiff University’s Special Collections and Archives. The event will be an opportunity to explore the collections, listen to a series of exciting talks and examine some of the items before participating in a creative writing workshop.

The first speaker is Susan Morgan who will discuss the anatomical textbooks that have inspired her PhD in creative writing. Her talk will provide insight into the history and evolution of anatomical textbooks. It will also give an overview into changes in the medical understanding of women’s bodies while revealing what these textbooks tellingly omit or obscure in their representation of women.


Charles Estienne, La dissection des parties du corps humain (Paris, 1546)

After that, Stephanie Clayton, a PhD student in English Literature, will draw on her expertise in women’s manuscript cultures in order to present the diaries of Priscilla Scott-Ellis (1937-1941). Scott-Ellis’s account offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of a front-line nurse during the Spanish Civil War. Her diaries also show evidence of significant editing, a process that reveals how some women’s voices have been lost but can also be recovered.


Fashion detail from The Ladies Treasury

Becky Munford, a Reader in English Literature, will give the last talk about the fashion-related items from the library’s collection and present her research project ‘Women in Trousers’. She will also be launching an online archive related to her project. In so doing, she will challenge the perception of fashion as a frivolous subject and will demonstrate the significance of women’s garments to their physical, social and political freedom.

In the final part of the day, local poet Emily Blewitt will lead a creative writing workshop. She will enable you to respond to the event’s theme of women’s hidden histories and secret voices as well as the items in Special Collections and Archives.



2.00: Welcome

2.15: Talk by Susan Morgan

2.30: Talk by Stephanie Clayton

2.45: Talk by Becky Munford

3.00: Time to browse collections and archives

3.30: Break

3.45: Creative writing workshop

5.00: End

Date and Time

Wed 8 March 2017

14:00 – 17:00 GMT

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Special Collections and Archives

Arts and Social Studies Library, Cardiff University

Colum Drive


CF10 3EU

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You can register for free here.

For more information please email specialcollections@cardiff.ac.uk




A woman in science: Eleanor Ormerod and her sketchbook

An unusual volume in the Border Counties Collection of E.R.G. Salisbury held at Cardiff throws interesting light on the youth and early education of Eleanor Ormerod (1828-1901), a 19th century entomologist.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Eleanor was a renowned expert on the turnip fly and other agricultural pests: she became a consultant at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, and an examiner at the University of Edinburgh. She was awarded medals by the University of Moscow and was the first woman granted an honorary LL.D. at Edinburgh. Eleanor Ormerod grew up at Sedbury Park in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, one of a family of ten children of the antiquarian George Ormerod (1785-1873). George Ormerod is chiefly remembered as a historian of Cheshire, and it probably for this reason that a volume of plates of sketches made by the Ormerod family is to be found among the books collected by Salisbury, Cheshire being one of the main counties represented in his Border Counties Collection.

Despite her later fame as a scientific expert, Eleanor had been privately educated at home with her sisters, and she was largely self-taught in her field. Her education included painting lessons from the pre-Raphaelite painter Holman Hunt. The illustrations in this volume are attractive landscapes and local scenes from both sides of the River Wye near Chepstow and around her home at Sedbury Park.

"SW view of Penhow or St. Maur Castle in Monmouthshire" (1852)

There are twenty illustrations by various members of the family: the mother Sarah and sisters Susan Mary and Georgiana, and four by Eleanor herself. The sketches are dated between 1834 and 1852. According to an anecdote related of Eleanor, her interest in insects was ignited on 12 March 1852 when a rosy-winged locust was caught at Chepstow: possibly she lost interest in sketching local landmarks after this date!

This is a charming volume from a little-known part of the Salisbury Collection, and it shines some light on the private education and background of a woman who was a pioneer  in a scientific field.

"Offa's Dyke in its ascent towards its termination on the Sedbury Cliffs and the shore of the Severn Estuary"