Posts for Tag | William Denton

Researching at the Wellesley Historical Society

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Benjamin Laird

For the past six weeks I have been researching the Denton family collection at the Wellesley Historical Society. The collection is immense and so, unfortunately, I was not able to view all the documents related to William Denton in detail. That is a task that would take a significantly longer time commitment, because the Dentons kept seemingly every piece of paper and small object related to their lives: correspondence, diaries, artefacts, slides, business and legal documents and even posters and tickets from William Denton’s lectures.

I have had expected and unexpected finds while trying to create a fuller picture of Denton’s life. Among the documents I found were Alfred Deakin’s letters to William Denton (letters from Denton to Deakin are with the Papers of Alfred Deakin at the National Library of Australia), allowing me a clearer sense of their relationship and common interests. Of course, there may ...

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Why Denton?

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Benjamin Laird

At my mid-candidature review, where I presented on my PhD progress, I was asked why I had chosen William Denton as the subject of my biographical poetry.

A decade ago, when I was collecting books on early parapsychology and psychical research (a hobby of mine at the time), I found William and Elizabeth Denton’s Nature’s Secrets. This is a UK version of the first volume of The Soul of Things, Denton's three-volume work on psychometry, though this version is special as it was “Edited with an introduction by a clergyman of the Church of England”.

Psychometry is the ability of a person to obtain visions or feelings when exposed to an object or place. William carried out a range of psychometrical experiments with his wife Elizabeth, sister Annie Denton Cridge and his son Sherman. The psychometer (the psychometrically capable person) would see the histories of objects (often ...

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Missing Archives

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Benjamin Laird

I recently received from the National Library of Australia electronic versions of the letters William Denton sent to Alfred Deakin. When I initially asked about the letters I was told that item 1/11 was missing though there seems to be two lost letters. The first letter 1/11 is absent or perhaps never existed as noted by the file image but item 1/15 is also does not have a document associated with it though it has not explicitly identified as being a lost file. It is not the first time that I have come across astray archives.

Late last year when I was attempting to find more information about the Melbourne Argus expedition in New Guinea on which Denton died I was told by a librarian at the State Library of Victoria that the whereabouts of the Argus administrative archive are unknown. So while copies of the newspaper ...

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