04: From Mull to Munlochy: Stepping from the known to the unknown background in understanding local history
by Jo Currie
This talk is about the childhood inheritance that made the author want to look deeper into the background of Mull, and how that had a bearing on the people she chose to write about. How working in bookshops, university libraries, publishing, and even the shadowy world of ghost writing led inevitably to an obsessive interest in the history of Mull individuals and the creation of a card file of names which were waiting only to be explained and fleshed out by two of the most outstanding collections of manuscript letters ever to reach the safe havens of British Record Offices.
Jo speculates about the long lives that would be required to do justice to such information, and then, because the two enterprises under examination are so different, Mull so familiar, Munlochy at first a mere name, but a place in the Black Isle not unknown, this talk surveys all the means of discovery, given the tail end of a life only. Jo appeals to listeners for help in finding future historians who may be able to step in to secure the survival of an extraordinary heritage.
About the speaker
Jo Currie was born in Scotland out of two distinctive traditions, one from a long line of Kintyre and Inner Hebrides Gaelic speakers, the other a mix of Irish, Shetland, Easter Ross and Inverness-shire farmers, tacksmen and adventurers. From school she went to live in Paris, returned to work in antiquarian bookselling in Glasgow, and in Glasgow University Library. Later, with children, she taught English in Athens, lived in French Canada, returned to Edinburgh and to University there to take a degree in theology, wrote freelance, worked in publishing and found the most rewarding work of all – answering letters addressed to Special Collections and living with rare books and manuscripts. She had to take reluctant early retirement on discovering that the Lochbuy Papers and other collections would require at least two years of solid reading.
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