Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bermuda Trip Update

Greetings from Bermuda! Today was going to be my day for exploring some parts of the island I haven't gotten to before, but since it's a bit stormy to do that, I'm hunkered down with a pile of books and lots of pictures from this week to get through. Tomorrow looks like it'll be much nicer for a hike.

I'm incredibly pleased to report that this has been an extremely fruitful trip thus far. I've already examined more material in the first five days at the Bermuda Archives than I expected to see for the whole trip, so everything I look at next week will be icing on the cake. My major focus has been on the volumes of wills and inventories through 1810, but I've also had a chance to look through a number of personal letterbooks, records of the Bermuda vice-admiralty court, government correspondence files, &c. The archivists have been wonderfully helpful, as always, and they've been pulling out all sorts of interesting little goodies for me to look at, including a "Bermuda incunabulum," one of the first pieces of job printing published in Bermuda (even better, it was the rules for one of the island's early literary societies).

I also was delighted to be able to look over the bookshelves at Verdmont, one of the Bermuda National Trust's house museums. There weren't all that many books, but a few of them had very interesting early Bermuda provenance, so I was happy to know of them. The most pleasingly appropriate was a copy of the 1777 third edition of James Lind's An Essay on Diseases Incidental to Europeans in Hot Climates, signed on the title page by Bermuda physician Richard Bell.

On Monday I'll be viewing the early records of the Bermuda National Library, and on Tuesday will visit the Bermuda Historical Society, which reportedly has some early Bermuda volumes. There are still a few more things on my "view if possible" list at the Archives too, and I'm now hoping I might actually be able to look at all of them (which would be really exciting).

I've put up a few of the non-research pictures from this week here, and once I've gotten the research images more fully processed I'll certainly pass along a few of those as well. I've been finding some fascinating things, but I need a bit of time to digest it all, so will hold off from sharing too much right at the moment.

And now, with the winds picking up outside (there are "gale warnings" up for this afternoon and evening), I think I'll go settle down with The Far Side of the World for a while.

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