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Forgery: Modus operandi (British History)
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Hatty
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I got the wrong Kemble.

From: Papers of William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1790-1858)

There is also a series comprising papers of individuals associated with the 6th Duke of Devonshire that were found together with his own papers. These include a journal of Mrs (Robert) Arkwright (née Frances Kemble), actress

Frances -- 'Fanny' -- Kemble, niece of John Kemble and Sarah Siddons, was not only a successful actress but ' a well-known and popular writer, whose published works included plays, poetry, eleven volumes of memoirs, travel writing and works about the theatre', not to mention writing up her own memoirs and

In 1863 Kemble also published a volume of plays, including translations from Alexandre Dumas, père, and Friedrich Schiller. These were followed by additional memoirs: Records of a Girlhood (1878); Records of Later Life (1882); Far Away and Long Ago (1889); and Further Records (1891). Her various volumes of reminiscences contain much valuable material illuminating the social and theatrical history of the period. She also published Notes on Some of Shakespeare's Plays (1882), based on her long experience in acting and reading his works.


But the bulk of the Devonshire library seems to have been via the "record-breaking auction" of the library of the Duke of Roxburghe (d. 1804) in 1812, probably at the instigation of his librarian, John Collier. According to Wiki the auction lasted 46 days

The duke was well versed in the old English dramatic literature, and added largely to his books from the library of the Duke of Roxburghe. After 1835 he removed many of his pictures from Devonshire House and Chiswick to increase the interest of his gallery at Chatsworth.
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Mick Harper
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Once again we are faced with tidal waves of memorabilia. Perhaps the best way of judging this is by the tried and trusted AE principle, "What is, is what was."

You have just been made Duke (or as may be, Duchess) of Strawberryshire for unspecified services to your sovereign. You have decided to become a collector of dramatic literary memorabilia and you decide you are going to specialise in "The British Theatre of the last 150 Years". From Wilde onwards. Let me know how you get on with collecting, let's say

original manuscripts by performed dramatists
original typescripts by performed dramatists
cast notes, prompt sheets, actors dialogue copies of performed plays
original correspondence in connection with any of the above
playbills, posters, first night reviews etc etc etc

Assuming money's pretty well no object, how many tidal waves do you anticipate acquiring in your lifetime?
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Hatty
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That Frederick Madden, the Keeper of the Manuscripts at the British Museum, had a wonderfully quick eye. He was the person who spotted John Collier's handwriting on the Second Folio

Sir Frederick Madden, the foremost palaeographer of the era, took a look at the Folio. For Madden, the chicanery was obvious immediately

Other people had had suspicions about Collier's publications but no-one had actually accused him of forgery. How could Madden be so sure at first glance as it were?

Not only was the handwriting wrong but he could see, partly erased, the modern pencil marks that the forger had laid down to guide his pen. Chemical testing by a mineralogist confirmed that the pencil marks were beneath the ink notes, and that the ink was not ink at all but a modern watercolour formation.

Madden and his assistant Nicholas Hamilton were now sure that Collier had written both the pencil notes, which were clearly in his handwriting, and the final annotations....Hamilton published the results of his and Madden's research as the 1860 Inquiry into the Genuineness of the Manuscript Corrections in Mr J. Payne Collier's Annotated Shakespeare, Folio 1632; and of Certain Shakespearian Documents Likewise Published by Mr Collier

That's quite important to know scientific testing was used in the mid-nineteenth century. But honestly, you'd hardly need a scientist for such a laughably amateurish effort. It seems Collier, no mean literary scholar and, as noted, the Duke of Devonshire's librarian, was unaware what went on behind the scenes at the Museum.

I expect a fuller version of events is in Madden's diary. At 43 volumes it can surely provide some insights

He is one of the great nineteenth-century diarists, whose 40-volume diary, estimated at four million words and still not fully published, covers the years 1819 to 1872. It includes fascinating details of 19th-century life, scholarly references to manuscripts and an account of the British Museum at a time when the staff lived on site. Madden was a noted palaeographer whose Museum career was blighted by a longstanding feud with the librarian Antonio Panizzi (q.v.), and resentment at his failure, in the light of his long service and undoubted brilliance as a scholar, to be appointed Principal Librarian. In a fit of pique he bequeathed his diaries to the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

These museum types seem to be prone to fits of pique. Even if he was a tiresomely cantankerous Keeper, 'still not fully published' suggests British Museum staff haven't changed much. Maybe the Bodleian had published the contents of Madden's journal?

The papers were bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1873, on condition that the box containing them should remain unopened until 1 January 1920.

Presumably the condition was laid down to make sure no-one mentioned in his journal would still be alive when it was read.
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Ishmael


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Mick Harper wrote:
As for Grossman's books themselves I was deeply sceptical with all the talk of notebooks and archives.


My own currently-held hypothesis is that the industrial holocaust story was invented by the Russians in support of their anti-Western, Zionist agenda (and I use "Zionist" in the very-much non-pejorative sense!). The story was then embraced by the emergent Israeli state as a founding myth.

p.s. I do not dispute the mass death of Jews during and immediately following the war but I no longer accept the story of "gas chambers." The evidence I've seen just does not seem to support it.
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Mick Harper
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It is true the 'gas chamber' aspect is the weakest link in technical terms of archaeology and contemporary documentation but two factors should be borne in mind

1. it is undoubtedly the case that einsatzgruppen conducted experiments using carbon monoxide from car exhausts to kill people and the efficacy of that method went up the chain of command. Zyklon B was made, was distributed and does not have many other applications. (Though there are some.)
2. it is undoubtedly the case that Hungarian Jewry -- many hundreds of thousands of individuals -- 'ceased to exist' in a very few months 1944-5. It is difficult to believe they could die other than from induced killing. (Though it is possible.)

It is ironic (if that is a strong enough word) that one of the limiting factors in industrial killing is that the killers have their problems too. Psychiatric ones or conscience ones, take your pick, but anyway they tend to have nervous breakdowns if they are too close to too many killings. It is reasonable (if that is the right word) to suppose that the camps required a means of killing that could work industrially but not personally. Apparently you're OK if you just think of yourself as an usherette.

And by the way, pace Hannah Arendt, let us not kid ourselves about how many of us would do the job given the right circumstances.
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Mick Harper
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I am intrigued by your phrase "and immediately following the war". Perhaps you can expand on this enigmatic phrase. It is true the Russians killed Eastern Europeans on a (near-) industrial scale after the war but while some of these would be Jews (the criteria was anybody that might make trouble) there weren't many Jews left and the ones that were tended, if anything, to be co-opted by the Soviet regimes in the satellite states. Leading, by the by, to minor scale antisemitic pogroms in later risings against the Soviets, Hungary 1956 being the worst. Jews were harshly treated in the Soviet Union itself after the break with Israel in 1949 though none, so far as I know, were killed. At least not for being Jews. But the 'Doctors' Plot' is an episode that still hasn't been sufficiently explored. Bit of 'careful ignoral' going on there.

Ironically (again!) quite a lot of Jews died in western camps when liberated by kindly western soldiers sharing their rations. Fatal for the truly emaciated. Even the medical people had no experience of ... um ... best practice in dealing with such unprecedented situations as Dachau. Though, again, I am obliged to point out that, although Dachau was used as a byword for Nazi atrocities and publicised as such worldwide, the situation there was more because of the breakdown in prison administration during the last months of the war than of overt German action. They couldn't feed them, they wouldn't let them out. An atrocity but not the right kind of atrocity.
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Ishmael


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Mick Harper wrote:
I am intrigued by your phrase "and immediately following the war". Perhaps you can expand on this enigmatic phrase.

I read Elie Wiesel's Night. In retrospect, I am struck now by how little the book has to say about the Industrial scale holocaust. There is an enigmatic reference to cremations when the narrator arrives at the concentration camp (where he sees the body of a child being burned---that's an image that has stuck with me). But there's no reported observation of gas chambers that I recall. And, again in retrospect, what evidence is there that the child or any of those being cremated had been executed? None that I recall. In fact, the author doesn't tell us how the people died.

But as the war comes to its end---after the inmates left the camps--- that's when the book presents its greatest horrors. The starvation and its consequences is just nightmarish. That's how I suspect most of the Jews from the camps met their end.

Dachau was used as a byword for Nazi atrocities

So was Aushwitz. In the 80s we were told that Auschwitz was the worst of the Death Camps. Then Ernst Zundell was prosecuted in Canada for saying that it wasn't a death camp at all, and wound up proving his case. So then the story changed---for a few years anyway. Aushwitz became then a work camp and the real mass killing happened "somewhere else."

But now, Zundell is forgotten and so is his evidence and "Aushwitz" is once again used as a byword for Death Camps. The whole episode went down the memory hole and no one ever mentions it.

...the situation there was more because of the breakdown in prison administration during the last months of the war than of overt German action. They couldn't feed them, they wouldn't let them out. An atrocity but not the right kind of atrocity.

Exactly. And I think this is what really happened. There were no gas chambers anywhere. The Jews that died numbered far less than six million (though of course it was a massive number) and they died by starvation in the final months of the war and in its immediate aftermath.
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Mick Harper
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Blimey, it's not often I find myself having to undeny the Holocaust but here goes.

(where he sees the body of a child being burned---that's an image that has stuck with me)

This has indeed proved an enduring image/problem. "The ovens" gets confused with the "gas chambers". The former is a health measure, the latter isn't.

Then Ernst Zundell was prosecuted in Canada for saying that it wasn't a death camp at all, and wound up proving his case. So then the story changed---for a few years anyway. Aushwitz became then a work camp and the real mass killing happened "somewhere else."

I don't know this particular case but it is true there were 'work camps' at Auschwitz as well as 'extermination camps' and they were very different things. A Briton lost a case because it was shown that he had been in a civilian POW camp rather than a 'concentration camp' of the same name (can't remember which). 'Concentration camps' are simply (!) prison camps for political dissidents and criminals, not labour camps or extermination camps. All these had high death rates but even so they have to be distinguished (!).

The Jews that died numbered far less than six million (though of course it was a massive number)

Well, yes, this is subject to the AE dictum of 'the tyranny of large numbers' but Eastern European Jewry numbered very many millions and they ain't there now.

and they died by starvation in the final months of the war and in its immediate aftermath.

Again with the aftermath already. There was no aftermath (the numbers I was alluding to would be in the hundreds). You'd have to explain how millions of people could starve in a very short time from a system that only contained ... what? ... a hundred thousand at most.
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Mick Harper
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One aspect that always gets overlooked is that another tranche of 'several million people' died at Nazi hands. This was Russian POW's -- estimates are in the low millions, but definitely millions. The whole thing is not much explored (by the Russians as much as the Germans) but the following is not disputed:

1. None of them were 'killed'. Actually, in the very early days of Barbarossa it would probably have paid the Germans militarily to kill them because they were so gumming up the logistics, but they weren't.
2. Not all of them died (maybe a half) but enough of them died (maybe a half) to exclude the normal excuses of normal armies for normal excessive deaths in captivity eg both sides in the American Civil War, the British in the Boer War i.e. logistics
3. Russian POW's were in German hands for a long period -- Barbarossa predates Wannsee.
4. Western POW's in German hands didn't die at all. The safest place to be when there's a war going on.
5. By contrast, Russian POW's best bet was to sign up for service with the German army (after the war, you got sent to the Gulag whether you did or you didn't).
6. Compulsory labour (from the west as well as the east) did die in excessive numbers -- perhaps towards the Russian POW figures, perhaps not -- again nobody's sufficiently interested to find out.

Or it may be me that hasn't bothered to find out. That's an AE problem in this entire area. You have to have the stomach for it and people with the stomach for it may not be the most objective people around. Anyway, make of all this what you will.
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Mick Harper
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Only Now Can It Be Told

Nine stories by Marcel Proust that the author is believed to have kept private because of their "audacity" are due to be published this autumn ninety-seven years after his death. Touching on homosexuality, the works were written during the 1890's, when Proust was in his twenties, but only discovered in the nineteen-fifties.

Damn, I seem to have put this in the forgery section by mistake.
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Mick Harper
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Communist dictators need to come from ever so 'umble backgrounds.

(close up of 1918 birth certificate in the name of Nicolae Andrusta Ceaucesciu)
voice over: Nicolae Ceausescu was born to a poor peasant family. His father was so drunk during the baptismal ceremony he forget he already had a son called Nicolae.
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Mick Harper
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I thought this was just some harmless Commie-era persiflage but the History Channel and its resident expert takes it all very seriously.

Ceausescu's illiterate mother, Alexandra (pic of standard babushka in headscarf) found it difficult to bring up her large family on the meagre earnings of her and her husband Andrusta (pic of handsome man in a suit bearing striking resemblance to the dictator Ceausescu) from the soil of their tiny plot of land. Their village did not have a cart, an ox or a plough.

OK, got it. Don’t believe it but got it.

The Ceacescus' tiny house (pic of perfectly preserved small but picturesque cottage)

Does anyone involved with this programme understand that not even Abe Lincoln’s log cabin is the actual log cabin he was born in?

stood in the middle of their tiny plot where their one sheep would graze providing milk for the whole family of two adults and ten children.This impoverished background influenced Ceausescu's political beliefs

What do you know, Mr History Channel Voice-Over? I demand a second opinion from a bona fide academic expert.

Professor Dennis Deletant of London University:
Ceausescu’s communist ideals, I think, derive first of all from his impoverished family background.

Maybe so but isn’t it your job to find out what it was? It sure as hell wasn't this.
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Mick Harper
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Hatty and I have been working on 'picaresque heroes' of the eighteenth century (it's more important than it sounds) so it was a real pleasure listening to how the young Ceausescu managed the always tricky transition from dull but safe home in the country to the exciting potential of the city. In the Ceausescu Legend he just leaves home, aged ten, and arrives in Bucharest to take up but never master the trade of cobbler. Or cobblers as we would put it.

On a technical note it is difficult trying to compare the ease with which nineteenth century forgers produce picaresque heroes just using the ordinary techniques of messing with the archives, and the ease with which twentieth century Communist forgers do it using the ordinary techniques of messing with the archives. The one thing they have in common is twenty-first century academics swallowing it all without pausing for thought.
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Hatty
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An artefact known as the Funen Bracteate came up on Facebook as the cover image of an article on The 'Anglo-Saxon' burial costume of the fifth century AD [not my quotation marks]. The Museum of Denmark says it was dug up in 1833 and since then other hoards have been found by farm workers, treasure hunters and metal detectorists, usually on farms.

The Broholm treasure, which weighs more than 4.5 kg, was ploughed up on the field Enemærket at Lundeborg on Funen in 1833. The artefacts probably belong to two hoards: one with men's objects like neck and arm rings, sword parts and gold bars, the other containing women's objects like a gold brooch, bracteates and finger rings.

The Funen bracteate was only one of nine bracteates. Most of the hoards cluster in and around a village called Gudme, apparently meaning 'home of God' which archaeologists interpret as Odin.

Treasure from Gudme consisting of nine gold bracteates, a small sword stud with garnets in cloisonné, a finger ring, two round pendants and a worn, Roman silver denarius. The treasure was buried close to a post of an Iron Age house in the time around 500-550 AD.

https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-late-iron-age/gudme-gold-gods-and-people/gold-and-silver-treasure/

The items are thought to belong to a period called, by archaeologists, the Germanic Iron Age when gold objects were apparently plentiful but then for some reason gold dried up. There is unfortunately very little info

Precisely because the Roman culture was destroyed, there was no longer classic authors, who could report to later times what happened in the northern countries. No Pliny or Tacitus wrote down what travelers had reported to them, and therefore we have a regrettable parenthesis in the history of Denmark for the period.

So, according to the museum's site they have a prehistoric collection thanks to around fifty gold hoards 'found in Denmark'. Was the island of Funen some kind of offshore bank? Only a handful of gold hoards have turned up on the island of Britain.
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Hatty
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Hatty wrote:
Remains of Anglo-Saxon glass-making furnaces have been found in several areas, notably at York, Glastonbury and Kent.

It transpires that the glass bowl, and indeed Anglo-Saxon glassware generally, consists of reused Roman glass

Anglo-Saxon glass making was directly influenced by Roman practices, but the results were generally less refined. A great deal of Anglo-saxon glass was made by melting down broken Roman glass and re-working it.

http://britisharchaeology.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/highlights/cuddesdon-bowl.html

According to Historic England's treatise on glass-making...

Soda-lime-silica glass (including soda-ash and natron glass) is typical of the Iron Age, Roman and much of the early medieval periods, and also more recently from the 19th century. This type of glass often survives burial very well.

...but they don't reveal how, or if, archaeologists can distinguish prehistoric glass from nineteenth-century glass (but note that medieval glass only rarely survives well). Since many objects we've discussed are suspected of being manufactured in the 19th century this is more grist to the mill.

Glassmaking sites are recorded no earlier than the 13th century so where Anglo-Saxons actually made the stuff remains a puzzle.
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