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Contributed by Katharine Kittredge on 04/15/2014
In the summer of 2002, Katharine Kittredge was doing research in the Hampshire Record Office (Winchester, UK) when she stumbled upon a profoundly moving document: an 1807 journal describing the life and sudden death of a young child. Intrigued, she embarked on a quest to learn more about the journal’s author, the Anglo-Irish diarist Melesina Trench (1768-1827).
Professor Kittredge's twelve-year search has involved lost documents, database “irregularities,” mysterious e-mails from far-flung descendants, and the discovery of a truly bizarre work of early science fiction. It has yielded not only a full picture of a remarkable woman’s life, but also some cautionary tales about trusting archival records, databases, and the "accepted" history of an age.
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