Undergrad Research

The Charles Kingsley Correspondence Project.

Hillary McLain 
   Hillary McLain, research assistant on the Charles Kingsley Correspondence Project consults Kingsley’s copy of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, currently on loan from a private collector.

The Charles Kingsley Correspondence Project began in December 2011 under the direction of Dr. Piers J. Hale. The aim of the project is to accumulate, transcribe and publish a comprehensive correspondence of the nineteenth-century Anglican theologian, naturalist, novelist and science-popularizer Charles Kingsley (1819-1875).

Kingsley was a prominent and well-connected personality, and because he was outspoken on many of the most compelling issues of the day his correspondence give us a real insight into Victorian England. He not only received letters from scientists, Bishops, government ministers, lords, ladies and members of the Royal Household, but also from working men and women from around the country as well as from his own parishioners. The publication of Kingsley’s correspondence will be a valuable resource for professional historians as well as members of the public who have an interest in the Victorians.

Dr. Hale is currently assisted on this project by two students. Hillary McLain and Jared Curran. They are currently working to collect and catalogue existing letters. Hillary McLain is pictured with Charles Kingsley’s own copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species, which is currently on loan to the project by a private collector.

You can contact the Charles Kingsley Correspondence Project by email: phale@ou.edu
or by regular mail:The Kingsley Correspondence Project

Charles Kingsley Correspondence Project
c/o: Dr. Piers J. Hale
Department of the History of Science
University of Oklahoma
PHSC. 601 Elm Avenue, Rm 610.
Norman, OK., 73019-3106
Tel: (405) 325-3392


The Kingsley Correspondence Project was featured in the OU Daily; for Arianna Pickard's story, click here.


“The Medieval Library of Saint-Bertin”
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Steven J. Livesey
Undergraduate Researcher: Kelsey Kolbe (Sophomore in International and Area Studies)The Medieval Library of Saint-Bertin

Founded in the mid-seventh century, the Abbaye de Sithiu, which subsequently took the name of Saint-Bertin, rapidly assumed an important position as a center of culture and influence as well as transmission of knowledge between the Continent and Anglo-Saxon Britain. Some indication of the scholastic culture of Saint-Bertin can be assessed by the surviving manuscripts of the monastic library. Like many religious houses, Saint-Bertin was suppressed in the French Revolution and its manuscripts dispersed, but fortunately the majority of them was distributed to two municipal libraries, Boulogne-sur-Mer (which received 81 manuscripts) and Saint-Omer (which received 549 manuscripts). Within these two collections, the manuscripts of Saint-Bertin are fairly easy to detect: most contain an inventory number in the upper-right corner of folio 1r, reflecting the last catalogue made of the monastic library in 1790 prior to dispersal. With funding from the Honors Research Assistance Program, Kelsey Kolbe is creating a database of information for the 630 extant manuscripts in the medieval library of Saint-Bertin. Ms. Kolbe is working through the catalogues of the Saint-Omer (1861) and Boulogne-sur-Mer (1872) collections, augmenting the information with material from the eighteenth-century inventory (Saint-Omer, Bibliothèque municipale MS 813), and entering data on the date and content of each manuscript as well as the physical description of the book. Once the database is complete, Ms. Kolbe and Professor Livesey will be able to analyze the content of the library by designing queries to check content of books acquired in successive centuries.