Guide to the Ann Harris correspondence

Processed by Sara Seltzer; machine-readable finding aid modified by Eric Milenkiewicz.

Special Collections & Archives
The UCR Libraries
P.O. Box 5900
University of California
Riverside, California 92517-5900
Phone: 951-827-3233
Fax: 951-827-4673
Email: specialcollections@ucr.edu
URL: http://library.ucr.edu/?view=collections/spcol
©2009
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


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.


Collection Contents

 

Series 1. Correspondence. 1804.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series is composed of letters written by Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, as well as one letter written by an anonymous source to Ann Harris. The correspondence charts Harris and Chandler's developing relationship, referring to the couple's intimate meetings across the English countryside. The letters also contain discussion of mutual friends and acquaintances, and provide insight into the character and social standing of Harris.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically.
Box 1, Page 1

Correspondence from "MY" to Nancy (Ann Harris). Letter regarding mutual acquaintances and local gossip. October 8, 1804.

Box 1, Page 2

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Newnham, England. Letter regarding Ann's journey from Cheltenham, England to Newnham, England and her new employment. October 14, 1804.

Box 1, Page 3

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Newnham, England. Note informing Richard of Ann's intent to meet him "at the place you appointed." November 6, 1804.

Box 1, Page 4

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Content includes an account of Ann's journey to Hereford, England from Cheltenham, England and arrangements pertaining to an upcoming visit with Chandler. November 30, 1804.

Box 1, Page 5

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding the couple's forthcoming visit in the town of Ross-on-Wye, England. December 12, 1804.

 

Series 2. Correspondence. 1805.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series is primarily composed of letters written by Ann Harris to Richard Chandler. Two draft versions of correspondence written by Chandler to Harris are also included. Letters provide substantial detail about Ann's working-class employment and her romantic relationship with Richard. Major topics include marriage, financial and social independence, and working conditions.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically.
Box 1, Page 6

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding mutual acquaintances, local gossip, and Ann's newest employment. Includes brief mention of her brother William, a naval officer recently stationed in Spain. January 30, 1805.

Box 1, Page 7

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter written seven weeks after the couple's last meeting. Content includes news of mutual acquaintances and Ann's views on marriage. February 22, 1805.

Box 1, Page 8

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding Ann and Richard's relationship. March 10, 1805.

Box 1, Page 9

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding Richard's prospective military enlistment at Gloucester, England. April 28, 1805.

Box 1, Page 10

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Note chastising Richard for his "long silence" and encouraging him to write soon. May 23, 1805.

Box 1, Page 11

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding Ann's working-class status as it compares with that of a mutual acquaintance. June 23, 1805.

Box 1, Page 12

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding Ann's upcoming assignment as a nurse and her desire to leave Hereford, England. July 8, 1805.

Box 1, Page 13

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Note informing Richard of Ann's lack of time due to her nursing obligations. Includes brief mention of the couple's prospective meeting at the races. July 28, 1805.

Box 1, Page 14

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding the couple's prospective meeting during the Hereford races. Content provides insight into Ann's working conditions. August 9, 1805.

Box 1, Page 15

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding the death of Ann's infant charge, her reluctance to return to her former station, and anxiety over her privacy. September 23, 1805.

Box 1, Page 16

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding a marriage between Ann and Richard and discussion of mutual acquaintances. October 12, 1805.

Box 1, Page 17

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, Prestbury, England. Two lines expressing Richard's feelings about Ann (recto). Paragraph in response to Ann's letter of February 22, 1807 (verso). October 20, 1805, circa March, 1807.

Box 1, Page 18

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding the couple's engagement. Content includes Ann's concerns about the "marriage state" and desire to leave her present employment. October 30, 1805.

Box 1, Page 19

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding the couple's engagement and Ann's practical concerns. November 19, 1805.

Box 1, Page 20

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter requesting Richard's permission for Ann to work in London, England. Includes a copy of a letter written by Ann's brother. November 22, 1805.

Box 1, Page 21

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, Prestbury, England. Paragraph granting hesitant permission for Ann to work in London, England. circa November, 1805.

Box 1, Page 22

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter regarding Ann's forthcoming departure to London, England. Content includes discussion of mutual acquaintances and encouraging words to Richard. December 3, 1805

Box 1, Page 23

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, Hereford, England. Letter informing Richard of Ann's sudden departure for London, England and desire to meet him in Cheltenham, England. circa December, 1805.

 

Series 3. Correspondence. 1806.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains letters written by Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, a draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, and notes written by other correspondents to Richard Chandler. Ann's letters are primarily concerned with her employment in London and intended marriage to Richard. Notes addressed to Richard refer to travel plans and social engagements.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically.
Box 1, Page 24

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter regarding Ann's journey to London, England from Hereford, England. Includes a detailed description of her new lodgings. January 13, 1806.

Box 1, Page 25

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, Prestbury, England. Beginning of two letters answering Ann's latest correspondence. January 29, 1806.

Box 1, Page 26

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Content includes Ann's distaste for life in London, England. February 11, 1806.

Box 1, Page 27

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter regarding Ann's affection for Richard and feelings of imprisonment in London, England. March 19, 1806.

Box 1, Page 28

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Note chasting Richard for neglecting to write. Includes reference to a meeting that was to have occurred in London, England. May 11, 1806.

Box 1, Page 29

Correspondence from Sarah Chandler to Richard Chandler, Prestbury, England. Note from Richard's mother inquiring when he is to return home. Correspondence sent to a London, England address. July 4, 1806.

Box 1, Page 30

Correspondence from R. Chandler to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter from Richard's cousin written shortly after Richard's visit to London, England. July, 1806.

Box 1, Page 31

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter regarding Ann's decision to break off the engagement and desire to end all correspondence with Richard. August 6, 1806.

Box 1, Page 32

Correspondence from Herbert Herbert(?) to Richard Chandler, Frampton, England. Note inviting Richard and his sister to dine with Mr. Herbert's family over Christmas. December 20, 1806.

 

Series 4. Correspondence. 1807.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains letters written by Ann Harris to Richard Chandler and draft versions of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris. Letters document the couple's increasingly tumultuous relationship. Topics include marriage, employment, personal finances, and character.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged chronologically.
Box 1, Page 33

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter informing Richard of Ann's parting from her brother and new residence with "some friends". Content includes Ann's desire to resume communication with Richard. February 22, 1807.

Box 1, Page 34

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris. Lines written in response to Ann's letter of February 22, 1807. March, 1807.

Box 1, Page 35

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, Prestbury, England. Letter regarding Richard's surprise at hearing from Ann. March 31, 1807.

Box 1, Page 36

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris. Letter regarding Richard's continued affection for Ann and his wish for her to remain nearby. April, 1807.

Box 1, Page 37

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, Prestbury, England. Letter regarding Richard's wish to marry Ann once he has a "situation." April, 1807.

Box 1, Page 38

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, Prestbury, England. Letter regarding Richard's continued affection for Ann and his wish for her to remain nearby. April 26, 1807.

Box 1, Page 39

Fragment of paper with inscription "Miss Harris Mrs. Nixon's / 19 Princes St. / Hanover Square." circa April, 1807.

Box 1, Page 40

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Note chasting Richard for neglecting to write. May 19, 1807.

Box 1, Page 41

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter regarding Ann's conduct toward Richard and his opinion of her. May 31, 1807.

Box 1, Page 42

Draft version of correspondence from Richard Chandler to Ann Harris, Prestbury, England. Letter regarding Richard's renewed correspondence with Ann. June 14, 1807.

Box 1, Page 43

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter regarding Ann's search for new employment, her desire to see Richard, and discussion of mutual acquaintances. July 13, 1807.

Box 1, Page 44

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter regarding Ann's request to borrow money from Richard and her wish for him to visit London, England. August 9, 1807.

Box 1, Page 45

Correspondence from Ann Harris to Richard Chandler, London, England. Letter regarding Ann's loan request and decision to again terminate correspondence. September 3, 1807.