Previous research on Lister’s diaries and letters

I haven’t been active on this blog for a couple of years and it’s nice to see the site is still getting hits and sometimes comments. I do get notifications on comments and appreciate reading them. I also log on to answer them. In this post I wish to push for the previous, or early research on the Anne Lister archive. A groundbreaking work was carried out by the Halifax archivist Muriel M. Green. Her unpublished work on Anne Lister, entitled A Spirited Yorkshire Woman was written around 1938 and is still collecting dust at the Halifax Central Library.

Not much has been done in honouring Green’s work on Anne Lister, but in 1992 a new edition of her collected Lister-letters was republished. Today, this title is rare to come by and if ones lucky it can be found on amazon or ebay.

It’s a small, but representative collection starting with the childhood letters sent to young friends and family. A letter written by the nine year old Anne was sent to her aunt so it’s really amazing so much material has been saved over the centuries. Another typical childhood letter was written by Anne fifteen years old and sent to her friend Eliza Raine. Eliza Raine was from West India and spent her early school years with Anne at Manor School in York. Eliza Raine also spent summer holidays with the Lister family.

Muriel Green’s letter collection also has a list of key persons referred to in Anne’s correspondence and chronology. Some letters touch upon the Shibden estate and the management of affairs.  In the 1820s Lister travelled a lot to Paris so there are letters from this time as well. Anne Lister died while travelling abroad and her final years was marked by her visits to several european cities, mainly Scandinavia before entering czarist Russia.



Lister, Anne & Green, Muriel M (1992). Miss Lister of Shibden Hall : selected letters (1800-1840). Book Guild