The crowdfunding project for my research expedition to London was a great success, with 46 people helping me raise 91.58% of the trip’s costs (although, there are at least 4 other people I would include in that number that made contributions that are harder to quantify in money, but were significant nonetheless). From February 2-27, I flew to London and engaged in 18 days of work on photographing historical documents for my work on maritime clothing. Most of this time, I explored the resources available at the National Archives. I am now using what free time I have to process the images of the documents I took while on this trip. Upon my return from the UK, I found that I had over 8,000 images, taking up a combined 50 GB on my hard drive. While it took three weeks, I now have a reasonable grasp on the documents I have that concern my studies of maritime clothing. I have, generalized notes on what kind of information they contain, which documents I should fully or partially transcribe, and other pieces of useful information that will assist me in my upcoming endeavors.
The next step for the work needed to expand and transform my thesis on Anglo-American maritime clothing in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries into a book for publication requires a number of transcriptions and collecting of statistics from my research. While I will be working on accomplishing this, at the same time I will be writing as well. I plan writing the following:
- The Post Trip Report: As I stated on my crowdfunding project page at Gofundme, people who donated $20 or more to the project will receive a report regarding what I achieved through my work at the archives in London. I will be working on writing this first. The report will detail more statistics on the documents I obtained, obstacles I encountered in my work, noteworthy discoveries I made, and other observations I have from conducting this research.
- A Brief Guide on Archive Research in London in 2017: At some point, I will also be using my experiences from this trip to create new posts for this blog. One post I will definitely write, after I complete the “Post Trip Report,” is a guide to help assist others who wish to conduct research at the archives I visited in London. While I have found out that the archives do occasionally change the way they operate, I can at least offer a perspective as of 2017 that should be relevant for at least a few years. Hopefully, this will encourage (or at least assist) others who wish to engage in historical research at what I often describe as the “front lines” of history studies.
- Other Possible Blog Posts – Conducting Crowdfunding Campaigns and Primary Source Studies: Beyond the research guide mentioned above, I wish to write other posts for my blog that concern my greater experiences from this project and from the documents I found in my research. One possible post I could write would be about using Crowdfunding to raise money for historical projects. The other possibility are posts about either individual documents or types of documents I encountered at the archives in London.
While I’ve said it in other places several times, I cannot say thank you enough to the people who supported me throughout this project. Based on what I discovered while digging through thousands of pages of centuries old documents, I am confident in saying that my work with maritime clothing will bring a whole new light to a subject in great need of illumination. Also, I foresee my work helping bring about several more publications beyond this current one concerning maritime clothing. Finally, this trip was an amazing experience from a personal perspective. Up until this trip, I had never been outside the continental United States. Being able to see another country in another hemisphere was remarkable. In addition to that, I was able to engross myself in the history I love to study in a way not possible in my home country. Simply put, the trip was one of the best things I have ever done in my life, and I have so many people to thank who made it possible.