Feedback from a reader, Dec. 2016: “Reading Mary Hardy’s diaries was one of the best things I did in 2016”
Margaret Bird, editor of The Diary of Mary Hardy, received this Christmas card from the United States in December 2016:
“Dear Margaret, It was such a pleasure to correspond with you this past year.
Reading Mary Hardy’s diaries was one of the best things I did in 2016! It is such a treasure, and your work, passion, and talent seep through it.
I cannot wait for the volumes [of commentary] to be published.”
I continue to receive a lot of feedback from purchasers of the set of volumes of Mary Hardy’s diary, seen here, which I published in 2013 with Burnham Press. The readers give me valuable additional information, or say how much they have gained from my work.
This time Andrea Stanley, the writer of the card, really lifted my spirits. She is a professional maltster with Valley Malt, Hadley, Massachusetts. She has her own passion: to revive the craft element in malting familiar to practitioners in the past.
Inspired by Mary Hardy and Henry Raven
Mary Hardy and her teenage nephew Henry Raven, whose diary is intercut with his aunt’s in the third Diary volume, have a great deal to say on malting methods in the late 18th century and the way the craft was integrated with the farming calendar, with brewing and with distribution to the retailers in the public houses.
It is their coverage which has inspired Andrea: so much so that she appeared as Mary Hardy at a historical re-enactment of brewing at Colonial Williamsburg in March 2016. She is pictured on the website for the commentary volumes to which she refers in her card, Mary Hardy and her World:
Thank you, Andrea, for taking the time to write and for sending me your beautiful Valley Malt Christmas card. I hope very much that we shall meet when you next come over to England, and we can explore Mary Hardy’s villages together.
Best wishes to you, Christian and your family for 2017, and every success in your malting enterprises,