Today in Orlando

This is a small sample drawn from within and beyond the lives and careers of writers. Look again tomorrow! Read more about The Orlando Project chronology.

28 July 1625

Early in the morning at Englefield, Lady Eleanor Davies (later Lady Eleanor Douglas) had her first vision, which set her on the path towards becoming a public prophet.
28 July 1644

Sir Archibald Douglas, Lady Eleanor Douglas’s second husband, died; he had suffered what was probably a stroke on 1 June 1631.
28 July 1667

Abraham Cowley, civil servant, poet, and essayist, died at Chertsey at under the age of fifty, after catching a chill.
28 July 1683

Prince George of Denmark, brother of the Danish king, married Princess Anne (the future queen) at the Palace of Whitehall, London.
28 July 1683

Margaret Fell, writing at Swarthmoor, dated an encouraging epistle To Thomas Lower and his Fellow-Sufferers, which was later included in the Brief Collection of her works.
28 July 1686

Anne Whitehead died in her mid sixties; her second husband survived her by thirty-seven years.
28 July 1714

The Spectator printed as its number 573 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s contribution, an autobiographical letter from an imaginary recasting of the stereotypical predatory widow.
28 July 1781

Jemima Kindersley received £25 from James Dodsley for her recently published translation of An Essay on Women, from the French of Antoine Leonard Thomas (dating from 1772).
28 July 1793

Frances Burney and Alexandre-Jean-Baptiste de Piochard d’Arblay were married at St Michael’s, Mickleham, Surrey, after weathering strong opposition.
28 July 1814

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley met in Hatton Garden, London, to elope to France; with them went her stepsister, Claire Clairmont.
28 July 1821

Peru declared its independence from Spain, but Simon Bolivar, first president of the new republic, was not secure in his position for a good while longer.
The victory of the revolutionary movement was officially attributed to the combination of two armies, that of Bolivar and that of the Argentinian José de San Martin. The Scots naval officer Lord Cochrane (later Earl of Dundonald), who was in commant of the Peruvian fleet, felt that his own contribution was both vital and under-recognised.
28 July 1827

The first issue of the Foreign Quarterly Review appeared.
This journal, originally edited by Robert Pearse Gillies, aimed to discuss contemporary foreign literature and English foreign policy, as well as classical and medieval literature, music, medicine, architecture and the sciences. The timing of its launch was perfect, with continental communications once again improving after the Napoleonic Wars, and at least a thousand political refugees living in London alone.
The Review was also sold on the Continent, and maintained a steady circulation of between 1,500 and almost 1,800 copies. However, by 1833 it was encountering financial problems, and soon met with fierce literary competition. By the end of the 1830s it had become thoroughly Conservative; soon afterwards it ceased publication.
28 July 1844

The future priest and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was born in Stratford, Essex (then just outside London), the eldest of nine children.
28 July 1848

Frederick Douglass in The North Star reported—and praised—the recent women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York.
28 July 1849

The Encumbered Estates Act began to rationalize Irish land titles, in a move towards English-style capitalist land ownership.
The act also circumscribed long-held landlord privileges, which were popularly felt to have been mismanaged. Because thousands of Irish landlords were insolvent as a result of the famine, the Act resulted in a massive transfer of land in the country: by 1857 3,000 estates comprising 5 million acres. Transfers broke hereditary ties between many landlords and their tenants, and the new landlords frequently evicted. The novel Julia Howard, 1850, by Mary Martin (one of the first to lose her family’s estate under the new regime), dramatises the impact of this change from the perspective of the old Irish gentry.
28 July 1849

An Act to Protect Women Under Twenty-One From Fraudulent Practices to Procure Their Defilement was passed; the act was ineffectual and not enforced.
28 July 1850

Elizabeth Barrett Browning suffered the last and most serious of her four miscarriages.
28 July 1864

The House of Lords, the highest court of appeal, found in favour of William Charles Yelverton in declaring that his marriage to Maria Theresa Longworth was not legally valid.
28 July 1866

Beatrix Potter was born at a large house in Bolton Gardens, London; after it was destroyed by bombs during the Second World War she called her birthplace “unloved”.
28 July 1869

Sophia Jex-Blake placed an advertisement in The Times asking women interested in entering a medical faculty to contact her.
At this time, Jex-Blake was attempting to persuade Edinburgh University to agree to female matriculation, but in order to do so she needed to rally enough women to warrant separate lectures. Isabel Thorne, Matilda Chaplin, Mary Edith Pechey, and Helen Evans responded to the advertisement; Mary Anderson and Emily Bovell joined in later. Jex-Blake referred to herself and the other women as the “Septem contra Edinam” or “seven against Edinburgh.”
28 July 1877

Henry Vaughan Palmer, father of Henrietta Eliza Vaughan Palmer (who later wrote as John Strange Winter) died.
28 July 1891

Soon after her fortieth birthday, Jessie Fothergill died suddenly at Bern in Switzerland on her way home from Italy.
28 July 1904

The Dowager-Empress of China recognized the medical work of Protestant missions by contributing 10,000 taels (£1,450) towards the construction of Lockhart medical college at Peking.
28 July 1907

Flora Shaw (Lady Lugard) arrived in Hong Kong with her husband, Sir Frederick Lugard, who had been appointed Governor of the colony.
28 July 1910

Lloyd George announced in the House of Commons that the Conciliation Bill on suffrage would receive no more attention that session.
28 July 1910

Lady Cynthia Charteris married Herbert Asquith, Beb, the second son of Herbert Henry Asquith and Helen Asquith.
28 July 1916

England banned the importing of cocaine and opium.
28 July 1933

Sheila Borrett became the BBC’s first female radio announcer.
28 July 1947

Mary Renault published Return to Night, another of her novels depicting hospital life.
28 July 1951

The Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees was signed, to protect the interests of displaced persons leaving their native countries on grounds of persecution.
A Protocol extended its scope in 1967.
28 July 1964

Naomi Royde-Smith died of kidney failure in London, approaching ninety.
28 July 1975

Frances Bellerby received her copy of her final poetry collection, The First-Known and Other Poems, published by Alan Clodd of the Enitharmon Press.
28 July 1983

Frances Horovitz’s divorce from Michael Horovitz was finalized.
28 July 1995

The official name of Bombay in India changed to Mumbai (of which the Hindi form is Bambai).
28 July 2005

Penelope Lively’s Making It Up appeared: a collection of stories each of which is based on imagining some turn in her own past life quite different from the road that was in fact taken.
28 July 2005

The Army Council of the IRA declared an end to its war against Britain, instructing all units to dump their arms and turn to “purely political and democratic means” for ending British rule in Northern Ireland.
Britain responded by announcing a radical cut in numbers of troops stationed there. Dreadful violence by Loyalists in Belfast intevened between that date and the announcement at the end of September that the entire IRA arsenal had been destroyed.

Reviews of Orlando

Jacqueline Wernimont in Digital Humanities Quarterly

Wernimont takes Orlando, together with Women Writers Online, as “exemplary instances of digital literary scholarship.” Orlando’s DTDs or interpretive markup, she writes, are tools which are generative and transformative, not merely declarative. They "can be read as paratextual with respect to the absent primary texts — the literary texts written by women that Orlando articles discuss. Consequently, we can see this markup as generating a feminist and materialist hermeneutic space through which a reading of primary texts is enabled.”

Jacqueline Wernimont, “Whence Feminism? Assessing Feminist Interventions in Digital Literary Archives” (Digital Humanities Quarterly, 7: 1 (2013),

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