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.

29 July 1727

Hannah Griffitts was born in colonial Philadelphia.
29 July 1750

Laetitia Pilkington died in Dublin: as a result, said her son Jack, of chronic digestive problems and a heavy cough. She probably had ulcers
29 July 1771

The botanist Anna Blackburne wrote to Linnaeus in Uppsala to offer him biological specimens from New York State.
Her brother in New York was her supplier; the blackburnia warbler was named in her honour. Linnaeus already knew her reputation, and responded flatteringly.
29 July 1772

The Daily Advertiser published an advertisement for a husband.
This became a motif for writers, e.g. an anonymous novelist with The News-Paper Wedding; or, An Advertisement for a Husband, 1774, Sarah Gardner with The Advertisement, 1777, another anonymous author with The Advertisement for a Husband, 1797, and Mrs Martin with The Enchantress, 1801.
29 July 1788

After Hannah Webster Foster, three years married, had borne a child, the Salem Mercury related the death at a tavern of the well-born, unmarried Elizabeth Whitman, after bearing a child: this is probably the germ of The Coquette.
29 July 1800

The Morning Post carried Mary Robinson’s Lines Addressed to a Beautiful Infant Inscribed to Mrs Fenwick.
29 July 1801

George Bradshaw, originator of railway guides or timetables, was born at Windsor Bridge near Salford in Lancashire.
29 July 1812

Lady Caroline Lamb made a strange and inconsistent attempt to elope with Byron; she dressed as a page-boy with an overcoat covering her disguise, and apparently surprised him when she turned up. The project was not carried through.
29 July 1826

Anne Katharine Elwood arrived in Bombay after a largely overland journey from England which had lasted over nine months.
29 July 1835

Charlotte Brontë reluctantly returned to Miss Wooler’s Roe Head School as a teacher.
29 July 1835

Emily Brontë went as a pupil to Roe Head School, on the outskirts of Mirfield, near Hartshead, Yorkshire, but returned home three months later because of failing health.
29 July 1848

Irish nationalist Jane Francesca Elgee (later Jane Francesca, Lady Wilde) anonymously published her second polemical leader, Jacta Alea Est (that is “the die [literally the javelin] is cast”), in the Nation. The paper was at once suppressed.
29 July 1858

Margaret Oliphant’s father died.
29 July 1864

The Contagious Diseases Act (first in a series of such Acts) inaugurated the state regulation of prostitution. Named by analogy with earlier legislation regarding cattle disease, it initially attracted little notice.
The Act permitted the regular, forcible inspection of women working at major naval installations or within fifteen miles of any major garrison. Women found to have venereal disease were detained for three months. This later became six months, then nine. Further Acts were passed in 1866 and 1869. The Acts were suspended in 1883, and repealed in 1886.
This regulatory system resembled that of many countries on the European continent, including France. Victorian culture became obsessed in the 1850s and 1860s with the prostitute as a figure of guilt and contagion. The legislation was prompted specifically by concern following the Crimean War over sanitary conditions in the army, since high rates of venereal infection among soldiers were causing considerable expense on treatment.
This initial act applied to districts near eleven military bases, and provided for the creation of a specialised police force and purpose-built Lock hospital wards for the forcible detainment of infected prostitutes.
29 July 1864

Admiral Henry John Codrington brought a case for divorce into court against his wife, Helen Codrington, which was to involve Emily Faithfull very closely.
29 July 1871

Laurence Alma-Tadema’s father, painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema, made a second marriage: to Laura Theresa Epps, who was not yet twenty and had been taking lessons from him.
29 July 1873

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon met Phoebe Sarah (Hertha) Marks, a Girton student who became like a daughter to her.
29 July 1877

Samuel Warren, novelist, died at 16 Manchester Square, London.
29 July 1897

War broke out on the Indian frontier and in the Khyber Pass, which connects Afghanistan with what is now Pakistan.
The Khyber Pass was considered safe again for travel after March 11, 1898.
29 July 1899

Rose Macaulay left Oxford High School for Girls shortly before she was eighteen, having taken the external Oxford and Cambridge Higher Certificate Local Examination.
29 July 1901

Walter Chapman, the mentally unstable postmaster at Grayshott, murdered his wife Emily, not long after Flora Thompson ceased working at Grayshott Post Office.
29 July 1940

The American edition of Jan Struther’s Mrs. Miniver appeared, and quickly looked set to outgo the British edition in popularity.
29 July 1948

The BBC broadcast a television programme on the opening of the Olympic Games from Wembley Stadium in still visibly bomb-damaged London. This was the first Olympics to be televised.
It was also the first Olympic Games since the hiatus imposed by the Second World War, as well as the first since the 1936 Games, which were still connected in the public mind with Hitler. Germany was not invited to participate. Fanny Blankers-Koen won four gold medals for Holland.
29 July 1949

BBC television aired its first weather broadcast.
29 July 1959

The Obscene Publications Act (England), 1959, replacing a predecessor of 1857, substantially modified its elements; it newly provided the defence of public good (which was held to include literary merit), and the use of expert evidence.
The Act came into effect on 29 August. Its first major test was the trial by which Penguin Books sought to claim the right to re-publish D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which opened on 21 October 1960. The book was declared not to be obscene within the meaning of the Act.
29 July 1971

The British Black Arrow rocket-launching programme (based at Woomera in Australia, low-budget, and largely unsuccessful) was cancelled.
A House of Commons Select Committee had been investigating it since 2 February.
29 July 1981

Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in a famously publicized ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral which was widely billed as fairy-tale.
29 July 1986

George Allen and Unwin Limited and Bell and Hyman Limited merged to form Unwin Hyman Limited.
29 July 1994

In Pensacola, Florida, a physician and his companion were shot dead by a fanatical anti-abortionist.
29 July 1999

Anita Brookner’s next novel, Undue Influence, is typical in the isolation and inconsequentiality of the heroine’s life.
29 July 2004

Francis Crick, one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA, died in California.

Reviews of Orlando

Miranda Hickman in Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature

Orlando features not only British women writers but rather a wide range of male and female writers in some way related to literature associated with the British Isles. As a modernist, I welcomed entries on American writers H. D., Djuna Barnes, and Marianne Moore (Hickman 181).

It is inspiring to see such richly collaborative work in action in the humanities, enabled and encouraged by the Orlando framework; this reads as a real example of what Vera John Steiner calls the ‘co construction of knowledge.’ . . . I soon realized that the ground breaking (I should say pathfinding) nature of the project’s set up lay in how its structure allows one to navigate such pages [individual entries] in aggregate. . . . What Orlando allows you to do, in a spirit nicely faithful to the agility implied by Woolf’s Orlando, is to choose your own adventure. . . . When one departs from the usual technique of shuttling immediately to an individual writer’s entry, one appreciates more fully the mercurial quality of the information, uniquely susceptible of rearrangement thanks to the intricate electronic encoding system. This system of electronic tagging both indicates and enables theoretical savvy (Hickman 182).

The rich corpus of information the Orlando team has managed to build in the project’s brief lifespan is nothing short of astonishing. In both theoretical and practical terms, this exciting project makes superb use of the implications of new technologies, and like Woolf’s Orlando, it points to the future. Like Woolf’s oak tree, may it flourish and ramify (Hickman 184).

Miranda Hickman. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 27:1 (Spring 2008), 180-86. (Available from Project MUSE).
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