Tudor and Stuart women: their family lives through their letters

O'Day, Rosemary (2001). Tudor and Stuart women: their family lives through their letters. In: Daybell, James ed. Early modern women's letter writing 1450-1700. Early Modern literature in history. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 127–142.

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How useful to historians are letters written by aristocratic and gentle women in the early modern period? The essay argues that women's correspondence was concerned with issues that were not normally central to male letters and that, as a consequence, they provide historians with unique information and insights about women, men and family and about the 'private' and its active and continuing relationship with the 'public'.The essay provides a critique of letters as evidence and contrasts them with, for example, diaries and autobiographies. The work concentrates on the Bagot, Bacon and Townshend and Ferrar letters and suggests that, to be most valuable, they have to be studied in context.

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