EXPLORING CPP 10A214: A New Candidate for the Layfield Hand, Part 1

By Hillary Nunn with Rebecca Laroche

The more Rebecca Laroche and I work with the College of Physicians manuscript, the more enmeshed we become with the religious politics of the mid-seventeenth century. Rebecca’s most recent post, on the transcription of the “Horologe” from Lancelot Andrewes’ Private Devotions, not only provides additional evidence for dating the manuscript in the 1640s, it connects the Layfield hand even more securely to the world of the church.

This new context makes our latest discovery even more exciting: we have a new idea of the person behind Hand 2, thanks to a new writing sample from the archives.

Looking for potential “E. Layfield”s while at the Folger Shakespeare Library, I stumbled across the following image of a signature from the State Papers Online.[1]
LayfieldSig1

The L and y immediately caught my eye: our Layfielde, I thought, had those:
Probatum Anne Layfield

But the match isn’t perfect. For one thing, the f is substantially different in this signature, as is the e. And then, of course, there’s the spelling. As much as we know early modern people often used variant spellings of their own names, the new signature’s ei is repeated in another of Edward Layfield’s signatures of the period:
LayfieldSignDraft2
I immediately knew that I needed an expert opinion. Besides, this new signature belonged to Edward Layfield, Archdeacon of Essex, and Edward Layfield, rector of Wakes Colne from 1640 to 1666, had seemed our most likely candidate. The signatures, moreover, carried the date 1660, and our recipe manuscript’s inscription says the book belonged to a Layfield – Anne – in 1640. But the similarities made it well worth pursuing.

I consulted with Heather Wolfe and Sarah Powell at the Folger, and their verdict was a resounding maybe. The idea that the newly-found signatures belonged to the same person as the CPP manuscript’s Hand 2, they told me, was “plausible, but not provable.” They noted that the distinctive h in the letters’ archdeacon does not commonly appear in the CPP manuscript, but they also pointed out that the two new Edward Layfield signatures were different from one another as well, with substantially difference ds. in Layfield. Could Mr. Layfield’s handwriting be changing in his later years?

While this verdict from the experts surely didn’t give permission for the “eureka!” I’d been stifling, it wasn’t a reason to stop this new line of pursuit, either. So we’ll be taking it further, to see what difference it makes if we consider Edward, not Edmund, as behind the Layfield hand. Church politics will most certainly be involved. More of that to come in the next posting.

 

[1] Both the Edward Layfield signatures come from The National Archives of the UK, as reproduced in State Papers Online. This first image is For University Promotions or Degrees: Certificate by Edw. Layfield, Archdeacon of Essex, and three others, in favour of the petitioner’s orthodoxy and loyalty (SP 29/9 f.130), and the second is Certificate of Edw. Layfield, Archdeacon of Essex, and two others, in behalf of Rich. Beresford (SP 29/10 f.86).

Networking Recipe Writers with “Networking Early Modern Women”

By Melissa Schultheis

There are few events that could put me to work before 8 A.M. on a Saturday with a smile on my face, but Networking Early Modern Women was certainly one of them. Networking Women and the subsequent “add-a-thon” trained participants to add early modern women and their relationships to the site Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, a digital humanities project that represents early modern social networks. As moderator Christopher Warren explained, women made up half of the population during this epoch but make up only 6% of entries in Six Degrees’ main source, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Networking Women aims to complicate such a male-centered view of history by representing the networks in which early modern women participated: “news networks, print networks, food networks, court networks, literary networks, epistolary networks, support networks, and religious networks,” the event’s “Rationale” explains, “in short, all networks.”

Tracking recipe writers’ and compilers’ networks will be tremendously helpful to our work: perhaps we will be able to say more about a recipe’s movement, evolution, and original location. We may be able to analyze more accurately disparities in early modern healthcare based on the social status, education, and wealth of writers and compilers. Or we may be able to draw parallels from the popularity of recipes and ingredients to a burgeoning global pre-capitalist society. The Recipes Project and EMROC have found another great ally, and I am thrilled to be a young scholar at a time when a myriad of disciplines can collaborate easily and share in the labor of representing the historically un- and misrepresented.

Of course, digitally reconstructing the social fabric of early modern society comes with both pitfalls and advantages. Racial and social-status diversity can be difficult to clearly represented due in part to language, cultural, and educational disparities. And representing women and their relationships has been problematic for contemporary researchers since, as Amanda Herbert notes in her keynote, “less scholarly attention has been paid to the way that women’s networks helped constitute and maintain a growing British empire in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.” Additionally, even when we broaden archival work to include hand-worked objects such as clothing and jewelry or traditionally overlooked pieces of historical writing such as account and recipe books, we run into masculine apparatuses that obscure women’s identities and thus their role in the period.

For example, as I added female recipe contributors mentioned in Aletheia Howard’s Natura Exenterata (1655), I struggled to identify these women elsewhere due, in part, to marriages and subsequent name changes—not to mention the possibility of alternative spellings for both maiden and married names. As you can see in the image of my entry for Lettice Pudsey, trying to locate the same early modern woman in more than one currently searchable source requires many open tabs: OED, ODNB, EEBO, Six Degrees, The Recipes Project, Luna, Google Docs and Google Book searches. While not an extensive search, the pursuit of more biographical information on Pudsey came up short that day, and with one relationship (to Mrs. Risley, who may be related to Thomas Risley (1630-1716) who practiced medicine) the node is floating in a network that I hope will one day have more to say about the woman it represents.

Lettice Pudsey Node

Traditionally, identifying early modern women has depended on identifying their relationships with and to men. And with so few early modern women in contemporary databases at this time, we will inevitably rely on early modern men to identify many of these women. So while Six Degrees now allows me to represent Howard’s relationship to recipe contributor Lady Cook and Coventry and gives Pudsey a place in this digital recreation, I can hear Hillary Nunn’s inquiry buzzing in the back of my mind: “If only that means we could say for sure who these people are.”

Of course, the paradox here is that as we add women and track their lineage, often through their relationships with and to men, we will begin to see more clearly the complexity of women’s networks, more accurately articulate their dependence on and independence from men, and better understand who these people are, while continuing to complicate narratives that portray early modern women only as victims of patriarchal apparatuses. Six Degrees is a tremendous resource for this work with the potential to grow with and adapt to contemporary research that augments the historical canon of the period.

Fundamentally interdisciplinary and collaborative, Six Degrees will be most helpful when working in a similar manner. The day of the add-a-thon I worked from a list of names compiled by Hillary Nunn and a transcription of the Natura that she shared with me. I worked from Google Docs with other contributors. I watched enthusiastic Twitter users discuss the day’s talks. I went from being two degrees from the project, to one. The day gave me a new support system, a new network, through which I can more easily learn who these early modern women are, while sharing that information with other scholars. As with any project that aims to shed light on underrepresentation, for Networking Women to more accurately represent early modern women’s social networks, it demands much from its contributors. We must look in margins and notes, as Amanda Herbert recommends, and search for women’s work in material items. We must think both creatively and together as we reconstruct the past, working with the conviction articulated so well that day by @DanAShore on Twitter: “Obviously #networkingwomen isn’t just about a single website. The hope is that inclusion in one resource leads to wider inclusion as well.”

Melissa was part of the EMROC (Early Modern Recipes Online Collective) contingent who participated in Networking Women. She is an M.A. student at the University of Colorado-Boulder. This post was originally published at her own blog.

Exploring Six Degrees of Francis Bacon in Beta

By Hillary Nunn

Since the beta version of Six Degrees of Francis Bacon (SDFB) debuted in September, users have been joyfully exploring early modern social networks with the interface’s easy-to-use tools and color-coded illustrations. The much anticipated launch opens up The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in a new way, allowing users to focus on relationships as much as the individuals involved in them. SDFB’s visualization tools map social connections running through English society between 1500 and 1700, hinting at how ideas and influence traveled within the larger culture. In short, SDFB is a fantastic new means of tracking the people involved with early modern recipes.

While the ODNB routinely names a person’s associates, its entries cannot fully show how those connections linked individuals together in wider networks. Reading that Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent – whose famous “powder” appears in scores of recipe books (11/02/2014)– traveled in the same circles as John Florio, Samuel Daniel, and Queen Elizabeth I, for example, is impressive, but her social network becomes even more intriguing when we can see how she can also be linked to not just Queen Henrietta Maria, but the cookbook author Robert May (21/12/2012). Her entry in the ODNB doesn’t tell us that.

.Grey

SDFB’s usefulness for less prominent recipe writers, however, is currently limited, largely because only 6% of the people included are women. In addition, a name needs to appear five times in the ODNB subset of 13,000 entries in order to be represented in SDFB (See the Help page). As Project Director Christopher Warren outlines in a forthcoming DHQ article, the digital tools used to extract names from these entries cannot always pick out individuals when they’re identified solely by title or relationship. As a result, Elizabeth Grey’s SDFB network does not reveal a direct connection to her accomplished sister Aletheia Howard, countess of Arundel when I initially called it up; instead, it shows Howard and Grey as linked only through male associates (who are not family members).

Using Howard as a point of entry into the project highlights one intriguing feature of the SDFB interface – its “relationship confidence” slider. My first search for Howard, with the default “Likely to Certain” confidence measure, resulted in this image:

Howard

Adjusting the level of certainty, however, yielded two direct connections, to King James I and Sir Henry Wotten, and a slew of secondary connections.

This underrepresentation of women is a concern to SDFB’s makers, who already have plans to help rectify the situation, and their beta encourages users to add relationship information through the “Contribute” button. In fact, I’ve already added the Grey-Arundel connection, and a few others, and the process is straightforward. All that is required is that users create a free account and supply a reference for their addition.

So, while the SDFB may not currently represent all the relationships recipe readers want to know about, it can in the future. As Warren points out in DHQ, the immensity of the SDFB project means that it can never be as detailed as smaller scale efforts humanists might undertake by hand, but these large and smaller projects can improve one another. SDFB already serves as a valuable tool for envisioning the networks that early modern writers operated in, and will only grow more useful, with our help, in the months and years to come.

Exploring CPP 10a214: The Downings of Massachusetts Bay

By Hillary Nunn with Rebecca Laroche

The Herrman Moll Map (or the “Post Map”), Map of New England and the adjacent colonies, c. 1729.
The Herrman Moll Map (or the “Post Map”), Map of New England and the adjacent colonies, c. 1729.  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

No one from the Downing family was at the first Massachusetts Bay Thanksgiving in 1621. It’s interesting to note, though, that the Downings – a family that Rebecca Laroche and I have been mapping into a thoroughly English network of recipe writers – made important contributions to the development of the New England colony. The family’s arrival in North America offers us tantalizing new angles for exploring our recipe manuscript – one that resides at The College of Physicians in Philadelphia, but whose authors all seem to have called England home.

The Downings missed the first Thanksgiving dinner by almost twenty years, arriving in Boston in August of 1628. Emanuel Downing – born in 1585 to Calybute Downing and Elizabeth Wingfield – was a member of the Inner Temple in London; his second wife was Lucy Winthrop, sister of the Massachusetts Bay governor John Winthrop. According to Charles Wentworth Upham, Downing and his brother-in-law “went together, with their whole heart, into the plan of building up the colony.” [1]

Downing bought a farm in Salem, and he remained in the colony until securing an appointment in Scotland in 1655. His son George became the first tutor at Harvard, ventured to the Caribbean, and later returned to England to become a wealthy financier and diplomat, obtaining a baronetcy in the process.[2] At least two of Emanuel and Lucy’s children, however, remained firmly embedded in the New England colony, marrying into the local Gardner family;[3] in fact, Anne Downing Gardner took as her second husband Simon Bradstreet, whose first wife had been the poet Anne Bradstreet.[4]

Emanuel’s Salem farmhouse, meanwhile, continued to be called Downing House; it gained a degree of infamy during the following decades, when its new resident, John Proctor, was tried and hanged for witchcraft.

The American connection forged by this branch of the Downing family offers no easy explanations for the CPP manuscript’s travels. The recipe book, after all, seems to have moved out of the direct Downing line and into the Layfield family’s possession. We have no evidence (yet) whether Anne Layfield ever left England, but her descendants may have. Perhaps they bestowed the manuscript on an American cousin?

A newspaper clipping, dated 1739, wedged inside the manuscript suggests that the book remained a household reference source well into the next century. Unfortunately, the clipping offers no indication of the newspaper’s name or city of origin, nor do the listed ingredients betray any particular local flavor.

But how did the manuscript end up in Philadelphia? The CPP records offer no hints regarding the book’s journey from England to the United States. Nor do the recipes in the book itself suggest any drastic change in location. And, even if we could trace the manuscript’s journey from the Layfield family to a distant relation from Emanuel Downing’s New England line, that would not explain the book’s move from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. We can only hope that further research on the Western half of the Atlantic brings us further clues to the manuscript’s travels.

[1] Charles Wentworth Upham, Salem Witchcraft; with an Account of Salem Village, 45. [http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/texts/tei/Uph1Wit?div_id=d1e9960, accessed 13 Nov 2014]

[2] Jonathan Scott, ‘Downing, Sir George, first baronet (1623–1684)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/7981, accessed 13 Nov 2014]

[3] Upham, 45

[4] Francis J. Bremer, ‘Bradstreet, Simon (bap. 1604, d. 1697)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/37215, accessed 13 Nov 2014]