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Essex Pauper Letters, 1731-1837 - Records of Social and Economic History (New Series) 30 (Hardback)
  • Essex Pauper Letters, 1731-1837 - Records of Social and Economic History (New Series) 30 (Hardback)
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Essex Pauper Letters, 1731-1837 - Records of Social and Economic History (New Series) 30 (Hardback)

(editor)
£110.00
Hardback 772 Pages / Published: 07/06/2001
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The immensely rich archives emerging from the parochial administration of the English poor law before 1834 include letters to the overseers of the poor that came from the poor themselves. As personal testimonies of people claiming relief, which are often written in a stunningly 'private' tone, pauper letters allow deep insights into the living conditions, experiences and attitudes of the labouring poor in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Some 750 of these pauper letters, all those presently known to survive in the county of Essex, are contained in this volume. The historical apparatus draws on material from other sources (overseers' correspondence, overseers' accounts and vestry minutes), to put the letters in context. The documents reveal the strong belief of the poor in their right to relief, and their surprisingly powerful position in negotiating their case with the overseers. The Introduction demonstrates the immense importance of this largely neglected source - both for the social historian and for the comparative study of literacy.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780197262429
Number of pages: 772
Weight: 1381 g
Dimensions: 244 x 164 x 47 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Sokoll is the first historian to have used pauper letters on a large scale ... The editing is excellent and scrupulous and the production is a model of its kind ... Dr Sokoll has produced a number of most interesting publications and in doing so can only be encouraged to continue mining these histories. * London Journal *
This is a most valuable collection, which takes us as close to the 'voices of the poor' as we are ever likely to get, and provides an invaluable tool for both teaching and research. * Local Population Studies *
... this is a wonderfully high quality edition of all of the 758 Essex pauper letters extant from the period of the Old Poor Law, dating from 1731 to 1837. * Local Population Studies *
Breaks new ground ... Archivists and local historians in Essex must feel gratified that so distinguished a volume has been devoted to their county ... fine example of innovative scholarship. * Journal of the Society of Archivists *
Dr Sokoll is to be congratulated on his pioneering work, while his publishers deserve the highest praise for such a handsome book. * Local Historian *
The letters have been edited with the greatest expertise by Sokoll, and all poor-law historians will be in debt to him for such a magisterial work. * The Economic History Review *
This is a quite exceptional editorial achievement, which deserves the very highest praise. The result is an extraordinarily illuminating book, that brings into sharp relief the lives of the labouring poor and their social relationships. * The Economic History Review *
This valuable book has been exceptionally well edited by Sokoll ... Nothing like this exists in print, and so the book is a very welcome addition to the literature ... The 758 letters are printed as written and as such they represent an enormous resource and insight into the minds, expressions, and activities of the labouring poor. This is the ultimate in 'history from below'. * The Economic History Review *
Thomas Sokoll and his research assistant have performed a very thorough and painstaking task in rescuing those missives from the Essex overseers' records, in organising them, and providing indexes, explanatory notes and a clear introduction to the volume ... This is a resource of considerable importance to social and economic historians. * English Historical Review *

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