Thursday 22nd September 2022 marks the 182nd anniversary of the death of Anne Lister. To mark the occasion in this blog post we will be looking back at Anne’s life through documents held here at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale.
Beginning with some of the earliest documents we have related to Anne and then a document from each decade of her life ending with the last document we have written by Anne.
Anne was born on 3rd April 1791. In this letter her father shares the news of his daughters birth with his brother. Anne was just 12 days old when this letter was written. This is the first document in the Shibden Hall collection which mentions Anne.
“I am happy to find Mrs Lister has got her bed of a daughter, and with her little one is likely to do so well”
The first document we have, with an exact date, written by Anne Lister is a letter from the 5th May 1800 when Anne was 9 years old. This letter, written to her aunt Anne Lister [senior] discusses her life at school. Interestingly Anne signs her name “Ann Lister” at the end of this letter.
“I like music much better than dancing and am very happy at school”
The Shibden Hall collection contains a great deal of Anne Lister’s correspondence with her friends and family as well as her business correspondence. This letter was written by Anne on 30 August 1810 when she was 19 years old to her friend Isabella Norcliffe. Anne’s high regard for punctuality when letter writing is clear in this letter.
“I would remind you that punctuality to a day would add much to your power of giving me pleasure”
Anne had a life-long passion for learning and could read and write in a number of different languages. This notebook, written when she was 29, contains notes about and extracts from texts read in Latin, French and Greek.
As well as her extensive diaries Anne kept a record of her spending in her account and day books. This day book entry covers July and August of 1830, written when she was 39 while travelling in France.
Anne travelled extensively throughout her life and documented these travels in her diaries. On the 22nd September 1840 while travelling in Georgia Anne died at the age of 49. Her last diary entry dates from 11 August 1840 and that entry ends with “lay down at 9 ½” written faintly in pencil as Anne went to bed.
If you would like to find out more about Anne Lister check out our online exhibition.
The Lister Family of Shibden Hall collection is held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale. If you would like to find our more about the diaries or the Shibden Hall collection please contact our Calderdale Office. Full contact details can be found here.