Finding Joy (and Jeffry) in the Archives

May 2, 2023
a short-statured figure with knees together, one hand raised in an oratorial gesture, the other holding a bag over his shoulder stands on a three-legged stool addressing an older man in a wig who leans down over a sign, a group of men sit on the left.

In this entry for the Scholars’ Progress blog, Miriam Wallace recounts her experience researching “ ‘speaking subjects’—that is, considering how the visual record contributes to a late century fascination with and fear of public speech by non-elite or common speakers” at the Lewis Walpole Library and finding the fascinating figure of Jeffry Dunstan, public orator and purported wig seller, known as the “Mayor of Garrat.”

Miriam L. Wallace is Professor of English, New College of Florida, and Co-Editor, Transits: Literature, Culture, Thought 1650-1850 series, Bucknell University Press.