Undergraduate Research Scholarship project 2020
Department of History
How do the books we read reveal who we are? How does reading change us? In 1919, Vera ‘Jack’ Holme read Hungerheart out loud to a friend. This classic novel by Christopher St. John explores both queer desire and feminist political commitment. Holme commented: “How well Chris writes the feelings which have come in to my life so often.” Holme was an artist and an activist, most famously working as a chauffeur to suffrage leader Emmeline Pankhurst of the WSPU. Holme was also a compulsive diarist who kept detailed lists on what she’d read nearly every year.
These lists, and the mental world they reveal, form one part of a larger project on queer world-making in 19th and 20th century Britain, and will form the focus of the undergraduate researcher’s summer work.
What you will do
- Convert Holme’s original lists into an annotated catalogue
- Conduct analysis of the patterns revealed by these lists
- Work with Holme’s diaries to enrich the picture of Holme’s engagement with these books
- If access to London is possible, will visit the original archival holdings at the London School of Economics
- Must be detailed-oriented and accurate
- Experience locating books in a variety of library catalogues is desirable
- Some knowledge of lgbt history and/or literature is desirable
How will the project benefit you?
- Will gain expertise working with and analyzing archival material
- Will gain expertise in constructing a humanities database
- Will gain knowledge about twentieth-century history and literature, especially connected with lgbt, feminist, and artistic issues