14 May 2013 12:30pm - 2:30pm CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground Floor


Dr Elaine Leong (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
Paper slips, notebooks and health management.

Dr Helen Smith (University of York)
Paper Technologies




Paper slips, notebooks and health management

Dr Elaine Leong. Upon her death in 1688, Margaret Boscawen of Tregothnan, Cornwall, left bundles of loose paper slips and six paper notebooks of different shapes and sizes all filled to the brim with useful medical and household know-how. From gardening advice to recipes for particular cures to lists of beneficial distilled waters to external indices correlating to Boscawen’s printed medical books, the notebooks and slips contain and represent the wide scope of her practical knowledge. Focusing on Boscawen’s collection of paper notebooks and paper slips, I examine how one woman created and organized her collection of practical know-how and argue that Boscawen utilized the materiality of paper, pen and ink to categorize and codify household practical knowledge.


Paper Technologies

Dr Helen Smith. This 'paper' explores the use of what we might broadly term paper technologies in early modern England, from fold-out diagrams and volvelles to do-it-yourself death masks and decoupage. By turning attention to the formation and deformation of paper (and its use as a conceptual as well as practical tool), I hope to suggest the significance of paper as a flexible technology across a range of contexts, and to argue that paper does not simply receive the imprint of meaning but participates in the construction and articulation (not least in the sense of being 'distinctly jointed or marked') of knowledge.



Open to all. No registration required

Part of the Things: Early Modern Material Cultures Seminar series.

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