Over the last few months we’ve discussed the number of staff we’ve had into the archive office to look at old editions of “The Friend”
Last month we were happy to host Gillian Neale, a postgraduate student at the School of Advanced Studies in the University of London. She’s currently working towards an MA in the History of the Book. Gillian’s dissertation topic is someone whose name will be known to many “Friend” readers: Annie S Swan.
For the uninitiated, Annie S Swan was a prolific writer of fiction, credited with writing over 200 short stories, novels and serials.
The vast majority of which seemed to have been published either in “The People’s Friend” or at least with DC Thomson & Co. Ltd. in some other guise. You can read more about her life and work at the Annie S Swan wiki page.
Annie S Swan
For her dissertation Gillian was particularly interested in Annie S Swan as a writer, editor and literary brand, something which we were intrigued to learn more about.
In order to develop a sense of who Swan was, Gillian was granted access to correspondence between Swan and various editors here in Dundee.
The various letters and memos that Gillian worked through painted a picture of a remarkable woman who certainly seemed to understand her power as a ‘literary brand’ and most definitely knew her worth.
So, all in all, the visit to Dundee seemed to have been well worthwhile and gave Gillian more than enough material to work with and definitely fired up her enthusiasm for her chosen subject.
So much so that both she and her husband stopped off at the graveyard in Kinghorn where Swan is buried in order to pay homage, before heading home to begin writing her dissertation.
As part of the course, however, Gillian has to give a viva to support her dissertation and asked if we could supply a couple of images to accompany the presentation.
She was really taken with the covers of the various Annie S Swan annuals in our collection so had a difficult job making a final selection! We’ve included a couple of these brilliant covers below so you can see why she struggled so much.