|Collection||GB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections|
|Ref No||MS 2526|
|Title||Isabel Duncan, wife of William Duncan, master of the barque, Scotia, of Banff: travel diaries and letters |
|Date||1878 - 1893|
|Extent||3 volumes, 2 folders|
|Creator Name||Isabel Duncan (fl 1878 - 1893), alias Tibbie Duncan|
|Administrative History||Isabel (familiarly, Tibbie) Duncan was the wife of merchant, William Duncan, master of the barque, Scotia, of Banff. During the period 1878 - 1893 she accompanied her husband on voyages to the West Indies, some eastern ports of North and South America, South Africa, Mauritius and Ceylon, as well as various European and British ports.|
|Custodial History||The collection was gifted to the University c 1940, by John A. Robertson, or his widow, Mrs Robertson, who are believed to have been related to Mrs Duncan. The gift was made on the suggestion of Professor Henry Hamilton. It remained in the custody of W. D. Simpson (1896-1968), University librarian, until his retirement in 1966, when it was formally accessioned to the University.|
|Source||Gifted to the University c 1940, by John A. Robertson, of Aberdeen who are believed to have been related to Isabel Duncan. Accessioned in 1966.|
|Description||Collection of three diaries and 81 letters, written by Mrs Isabel Duncan, whilst accompanying her husband, William Duncan, master of the barque, Scotia, of Banff, on voyages to the West Indies, some eastern ports of North and South America, South Africa, Mauritius and Ceylon, as well as various European and British ports, 1878 - 1893.|
The diaries, 1878 - 1882, may have been intended as accounts of voyages to be read by members of her own and her husband's family, one of whom, James Duncan, was in charge of the movements of the vessel from his office in London. Captain Duncan's father or brother, John Duncan, lived at Kensington, near Garmouth in Morayshire, where Captain and Mrs Duncan stayed during 1892 - 1893, allowing the Scotia to sail under another master while deciding whether to retire from the sea altogether. A transcript of a portion of the earliest diary, made by John A. Robertson (donor), covering the period Aug - Sept, is also included with the collection.
The letters fall into two groups. Those for the earlier period (MS 2526/5/1 - 38), from 1880 - 1886, are all addressed by Mrs Duncan to sisters, sisters-in-law, or nieces, from various ports, and give accounts of events during voyages, activities at, and descriptions of places visited, foreign customs, comment on home letters received, etc. Unfortunately, the majority give no clue as to the surname of the recipient and members of families are referred to by Christian names only: one of Mrs Duncan's sisters, Miss Nellie Harper, was a schoolmistress in Leith, and apparently Mrs Duncan had also been a teacher before marriage, and attended training college (MS 2526/5/26). Other sisters appear to be married to farmers, one living near Balgaveny, by Huntly, Aberdeenshire, while a sister-in-law, Miss Ann Duncan, lived latterly at Kingston, Garmouth.
The second group of letters (MS 2526/6/1 - 46) are addressed to a friend, Mrs Gooderidge, 21 Aire St., Goole, Yorkshire, and were written during voyages until 1892, and then from Garmouth during residence there. The correspondence breaks off abruptly with the intimation of the serious illness of Captain Duncan when staying with Mrs Gooderidge while attending to ship's business in Goole, in 1893.
For a fuller account of the collection see Colin MacLaren and Margaret A. Stephen, 'Reports and Surveys of Archives in Northern Scotland', 'Northern Scotland', I, (1973), 231 - 232
|Appraisal||This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures.|
|Arrangement||By record type and chronologically therein |
|Access Conditions||The records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.|
|Copyright||Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation. Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the University Archivist and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material. |
|Physical Description||Many of the letters are damp-stained and/ or torn, but all are legible.|
|Copies||Copies of some papers in this collection are held at Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut, United States of America|
|Publication Note||Diaries and Letters of Isabel Duncan, Wife of William Duncan, Master of the Barque Scotia of Banff, 1878-1893. Northern Scotland, Volume 1, No. 2 (1973), pp.231-33.|
Extracts from the collection are cited in Joan Druett, 'Hen Frigates: wives of merchant captains under sail' (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998)
See also Colin MacLaren and Margaret A. Stephen, 'Reports and Surveys of Archives in Northern Scotland', 'Northern Scotland', I, (1973), 231 - 232