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Sorting strip for valentines made by Catherine Parsons: Valentinesarchive8

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Current Location: In storage


Sorting strip for valentines made by Catherine Parsons




A short strip of cream wove paper, inscribed in graphite in the hand of Catherine Parsons: 'Dobbs Patent / (spider web)'. Catherine Parsons (1890-1956) was a close friend of Glaisher, whom it is assumed she had first met at a party hosted by Mrs McKenny Hughes in 1910. See Julia Poole, 'James Whitbread Lee Glaisher, ScD, FRS (1848-1928) A Cambridge Mathematician and Collector, A paper read by Julia Poole at the Linnaean Society Rooms on 10th October 1992', _English Ceramic Circle Transactions_, vol. 15, part 2, 1994, p. 182. The two corresponded regularly between 1916 until Glaisher's death in 1928. Only the letters from Glaisher survive, but they reveal that, following Glaisher's mention of the pressure he was feeling to organise his various collections, it was Parsons who agreed to arrange and assemble Glaisher's valentines between the Autumn of 1924 and the Summer of the following year: 'I have so many things to attend to now tht [that] I make progress with none - pot lids being now added to valentines and children's books as side issues. ...'. Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 883-1985, July 30th, 1924, letter to Miss Catherine Parsons; 'It will be very good if you will arrange the valentines in any way tht [that] seems to you best when the time comes.'. Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 886-1985, 29 August, 1924, letter to Miss Catherine Parsons. The letters also reveal that in addition to organising the valentines, she cleaned and restored some of them as well: 'I did not thank you half enough for wht [what] you have done in cleaning and putting in the right places the valentines. ... I just looked through them after you had left and saw how well & in wht [what] an interesting way they had been arranged: & I could not have done anything like so good, no matter how much time I had given to it: for your methods of arrangement are a stroke of genius.'. Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 928-1985, March 1925, letter to Miss Catherine Parsons. In addition to making decisions about the arrangement of the valentines in the albums, Parsons, who had her own collection of valentines, was frequently consulted by Glaisher about valentines that were sent to him on approval from various dealers: 'Your letter came this morning & I am very glad to have your opionion of the valentines, & tht [that] they were worth having. ...'. Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 941-1985, April 10th, 1925, letter to Miss Catherine Parsons. This strip of paper is one of three found within the valentines collection, each inscribed in Parsons' hand with valentines publisher's names (such as Dobbs Patent), indicating that she sorted the valentines according to publisher as part of the arrangement process, although this was not to be the organising principle that she followed when mounting the valentines into the albums. See also Valentinesarchive7 and Valentinesarchive11.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Dr J. W. L. Glaisher, 1928

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr

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Identification numbers

Accession number: Valentinesarchive8
Primary reference Number: 215569
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Audit data

Created: Tuesday 14 February 2017 Updated: Tuesday 14 February 2017 Last processed: Saturday 27 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

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