Opening up the Archive: May Sinclair Goes Digital
The May Sinclair Critical Editions team are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Award for the digital arm of our editions project. This funding will bring together the General Editors on the Edinburgh Editions of the Works of May Sinclair, the Commissioning Editor at Edinburgh University Press, and individual volume editors from the first tranche of editions together with the Digital Humanities team at the University of Pennsylvania, the Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and several specialists in archival manuscript research and digital archival practice. The Kislak Center for Rare Books and Manuscripts will host a week-long series of workshops in July 2020 and we will collaboratively produce a digital genetic edition of one of May Sinclair’s short stories, and publish this online as an innovative, open access resource. Our aim here is to begin to open up the archive for scholars and interested readers who can’t get to Philadelphia to look at the manuscripts in person.
The May Sinclair Papers include workbooks, manuscript drafts, typescript drafts (sometimes more than one version), and marked up page proofs of more than half of her novels. Most of Sinclair’s published non-fiction also appears in the holdings at the Kislak Center, including not only holograph copies of the published works, but multiple drafts. There are fifty-two boxes of material relating to Sinclair, including forty-eight individual workbooks, in three of the boxes.
The genetic digital edition we will be working towards will include digitized scans of all drafts of one short story, from the original workbook notes (including the whole workbook, so interdisciplinary connections can be traced), through manuscript and typescript draft, to page proof and the first published version of each text. Users of the website will then be able to trace each idea from its initial inception, through to finished publication.
This good news follows on the heels of the announcement in March of the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants: the Sinclair team won funds for research assistance for the project, and the process of hiring for this post has now begun.