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Guide to the Ann Harris correspondence
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ann Harris correspondence
    Date (inclusive): 1804-1807
    Date (bulk): 1805-1807
    Collection Number: 265
    Creator: Chandler, Richard
    Physical Description: 1.25 linear feet (1 flat storage box)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: This collection is primarily composed of autograph letters and drafts written by Ann Harris and Richard Chandler between October 1804 and September 1807. The bulk of the material is finished letters written from Harris to Chandler. Material attributed to Chandler consists of nine draft letters to Harris. This collection also includes a small selection of letters written by friends and family of the main correspondents. Topics include local society gossip, working-class social conditions, courtship, love and marriage, and financial concerns.
    Languages: The collection is in English.

    Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item]. Ann Harris papers, Collection 265. University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    Information unavailable.

    Processing History

    Processed by Sara Seltzer, 2009.

    Biography

    While nothing is known about Ann Harris or Richard Chandler apart from the contents of this collection, their three-year correspondence provides tremendous insight into the history of working-class women in early nineteenth-century England. The finished letters of Ann Harris tell a story of a woman constantly searching for independence and self-worth in a social class without privilege and only limited freedom. The drafts of Richard Chandler, though minimal both in extent and information, present a man in pursuit of love and happiness struggling to attain what he most wants. The words of Harris and Chandler reveal a deeply loving and troubled relationship that echoes the difficult realities of working-class life at this time.
    From 1804 to 1805, Harris was employed as a governess, and briefly a nurse, in the English town of Hereford, County Herefordshire. The fall of 1804 marked the beginning of her aquaintance with Richard Chandler, a young man from the country village of Prestbury, County Gloucestershire. In her correspondence, Harris confided the hardships and frustrations of working-class life to her new friend. Her letters are often filled with descriptions of exhausting work days and the lack of freedom associated with such a lifestyle. Ann's day-to-day existence was significantly circumscribed by the obligations owed to her employers, duties that limited both her social life and her privacy. Indeed, Harris' relationship with Chandler was greatly affected by her situation, her letters pointing to meetings arranged clandestinely, the risk of discovery never entirely eliminated or avoided.
    Despite such obstacles, Harris and Chandler perpetuated a promising romance that led to an engagement in October, 1805. In November of that year, however, Ann was given the opportunity to work for her brother in London, a position she eagerly wished to take. With Richard's blessing, she took up residence with her brother, working in his newly purchased public house as a barmaid. Harris' tenure in London, rather than granting her the liberation and independence she desperately craved, was plagued with additional unhappiness. Her letters of this period speak of dashed hopes and continued feelings of imprisonment, sentiments that fueled her decision to break all ties with Chandler in August, 1806.
    Though Ann's silence was not permanent, communication with Chandler resuming by February, 1807, the prospect of one day marrying is notably absent from her subsequent correspondence. Harris' remaining letters for the year 1807 emphasize her loyal friendship to Richard and her ever-present desire to find and secure a better opportunity for herself. Richard's drafts, on the other hand, point to a renewed desire on his part to not only correspond with Ann, but still fulfill the dream of a happy marriage with her.
    The abrupt termination of their correspondence in September, 1807 thus provokes many unanswered questions. In her last letter to Chandler, Harris' decision to again stop all communication is credited to Richard's ignoring a loan request made by her in August. However, the absence of further responsive drafts by Chandler leaves the couple's tumultuous correspondence without closure. Though financial troubles appear to be responsible, attributing the split to a single cause would be simplistic. The sudden end to the documented relationship between Ann Harris and Richard Chandler must be viewed against the broad social context which defines the collection.

    Chronology

    1804: Ann Harris began corresponding with Richard Chandler in October.
      Harris moved from Cheltenham, County Gloucestershire to Newnham, County Gloucestershire in October.
      Harris moved to Hereford, County Herefordshire in November to work as a governess.
    1805: Harris was employed as a nurse from July to September.
      Harris and Richard Chandler became engaged in October.
      Harris departed for London in December.
    1806: Harris arrived in London in January to work for her brother.
      Harris broke her engagement and all correspondence with Richard Chandler in August.
    1807: Harris resumed correspondence with Richard Chandler in February.
      Harris asked Richard Chandler to lend her money in August.
      Harris decided to again terminate correspondence with Richard Chandler in September.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection is primarily composed of autograph letters and drafts written by Ann Harris and Richard Chandler between October 1804 and September 1807. The bulk of the material is finished letters written from Harris to Chandler. Material attributed to Chandler consists of nine draft letters to Harris. This collection also includes a small selection of letters written by friends and family of the main correspondents. Topics include local society gossip, working-class social conditions, courtship, love and marriage, and financial concerns.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into four series:
    • Series 1. Correspondence 1804.
    • Series 2. Correspondence 1805.
    • Series 3. Correspondence 1806.
    • Series 4. Correspondence 1807.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    19th century.
    Great Britain.
    Harris, Ann.
    Hereford (England).
    London (England).
    Manners and Customs.
    Prestbury (England).

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Correspondence.