My presentation at the Cambridge conference on ‘Multiplicities of Writing and the Archive’ last Friday was concerned with scribbling, things that are scrawled on paper in order to fix them in memory. One comment was that such things are very rare because nearly always thrown away as just ephemera. Tell that to Bessie Price and also the Pringles, Parkinsons, Findlays, and the Forbes!

In a rough calculation, out of 42 Forbes archive boxes, 4 of these are stuffed full of scribblings and of the rough workings that were not thrown away and were not responded to as ephemera in the sense of being disposable but became an integral part of the family archive. For fun, I went through a folder in one of these boxes, which has been labelled ‘Varia’ (various or miscellaneous), and itemised the first half of its contents, with the result below. Some of the items are small or short, some of them long. The comments in square brackets are mine, to help convey what these items are like to readers. This week’s news mag follows at the end.

Things Holkmans wants [list]
FG Labuschagne, WA Labuschagne, ?Hans ?Potgeter [counts in 4000s]
1 cupboard (yellowwood) [wood items]
Jan 7 1870 Geo Purcocks [bill]
80 ft timber 3 x 4 [just this]
Mr Jardine etc [set of names]
Oxen sold [tally]
Railway Kaffers blankets and coats [prices of items with names of men]
Cash in the drawer September 18 1879 [brief note of cash]
1 11 88 [chemist’s prescription]
Numbers [added up numbers, about 10 sets of them]
Contra [headed this, with a set of names following but no other content]
1 box salmon [list of unlikely items to be in the same list together]
Gabas came [a short sentence with no full-stop about Gabas]
Money paid out and money received [detailed, money sums in hundreds]
These things being for us should be all good… [copy of list sent to Lizzie Forbes in Edinburgh]
List of articles sent per registered post
Umgoboes [names, nothing else]
Mr D Forbes weights of wool [beneath this title a list of weights and their total]
Jack pd [just this]
November 27 1888 dipped Forbes sheep count near about all told 608 + 2 big rams [a short sentence with no punctuation saying this]
Estate of the late Joseph Bryant at Westoe [list for legal purposes of items at this farm]
Umhlogonye [list men’s names]
Rainfall 1893 [weekly average rainfall for the year]
Rainfall 1894 [weekly average rainfall for the first five months]
Horses to be entered in A1 class [much detail of names, heights and markings and exactly what they were entered for]
Mealies [muids of mielies in a tally against names]
Copies of various documents [list of them]
Locks [detailed specification of different types of locks]
Gold in large bottle [comment in half-sentences about gold samples sent for assay]
Mangaka – envelope, 1904 [an empty envelope with this on the back]
I hope the cold will come up trumps [short half sentences about crops, diseases and weather]
Write to Alfred Blomberg… [reminder to convey to Blomberg that a worker’s brother has died]
Estate cattle [numbers of cattle owned by Nelly, Madge and Kitty Forbes and their mother Kate]
For aunt Sarah…. [items that are presents for a long list of people, both family members and workers on the farm]
Kaffirs work and what wages are due to them [list of names with sums of money against each]
An envelope [an empty envelope with a calendar on the back]
Census [a census of people on the farm according to huts]

This week’s news mag now follows. Remember to click the item to see the detailed content!


Click the picture below to flip through Liz’s 23 June News Mag by Liz Stanley

Last updated: 24 June 2017


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