Looking ahead to 2016; or, here’s to another year of slow scholarship

Highland Archive Centre. © LDN Architects.

Highland Archive Centre. © LDN Architects.

The arrival of a new baby just before the start of a busier-than-ever teaching term has meant very little time for work on Macintosh (aside from putting together a small grant application which, I hope, will allow me to consult Macintosh’s book collection in Avignon). I have, however, managed to identify a number of potential leads for further archival work in 2016.

The most interesting of these lines of enquiry (famous last words) is a collection of material previously housed in the Highland Council Archive, but now in the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness—”D351: Mackintosh of Balnespick, 1606–1895“. The Scottish Archive Network has a record for William Macintosh and connects it to this collection. Whilst I suspect there is a degree of conflation/speculation in this connection, the collection is, nonetheless, worth investigating, not least for an 1895 document contained therein: Historical notes on the Mackintoshes of Gask and Balnespick by Charles Innes. If only to obtain further contextual information about Macintosh’s family, a visit to Inverness to consult this material has found its way onto my 2016 to-do list.

The Fraser Mackintosh Collection at the Inverness Library.

The Fraser Mackintosh Collection at the Inverness Library.

A rather more speculative lead (also in Inverness) comes through the excellent-looking “Meet the Books” project at the Inverness Library. Led by Dr Kristin Lindfield-Ott (University of the Highlands and Islands), the project is examining the 5,000-volume collection of Charles Fraser-Mackintosh (1828–1901). The collection is partly accessible thanks to the digitisation of the original card catalogue (above) by the Highland Libraries Special Collections.  I have reason to believe that one of the books in the collection—Lewis Chambaud’s The rudiments of the French tongue (1802)—may have belonged to William Macintosh; it is described in the catalogue as being “Inscribed by Willaim [sic] Macintosh”. Dr Lindfield-Ott has kindly agreed to examine the book’s ownership inscription on my behalf. Fingers crossed.

2016 should see the publication of a book chapter—”Circulating seditious knowledge: the ‘daring absurdities, studied misrepresentations, and abominable falsehoods’ of William Macintosh”—in an edited collection in Springer’s “Knowledge and Space” series. The chapter was written early in 2012, so it will be nice finally to have it out. I am also due to give a couple of papers on the Macintosh project in Glasgow and Cambridge, but the main business of 2016 will be to complete a large grant application to support the archival work in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States on which the larger book project will eventually depend.

Here’s to another year of slow scholarship!

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