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Old 03-10-2009, 09:13 PM
Stewart P Evans Stewart P Evans is offline
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Default Provenance

Hi Ally, the word provenance is bandied about a lot with regard to the Swanson copy of The Lighter Side of My Official Life which contains the 'Swanson marginalia'. I actually prefer to use two descriptions with regard to the pencilled annotations in this book. First you have the marginalia, obviously written in the margins in the text of the book. Then you have the rear free endpaper notes, which are not 'marginalia'.

The provenance of the actual book cannot be doubted and was left to the late Jim Swanson by his aunt, Alice Julia, when she died in 1981. Jim Swanson was an executor of her will. It indicates in The Jack the Ripper A-Z that these annotations were made 'in or about 1910', which is the year the book was published. But, of course, the actual date that these annotations were made is a total unknown. Ergo the provenance of the actual book is not one and the same thing as the provenance of the annotations as we don't know when they were written.

At the time Jim Swanson inherited the book, in 1981, he also inherited several of Donald Swanson's papers. These led him to look at the book and he discovered the annotations. It was then, in 1981, that he sold the rights to a story on the annotations to The News of the World. In the event that newspaper did not use the story. In 1987 the Ripper centenary was in the news and 7 books on the Ripper were published.

A few weeks after reading Martin Fido's, The Crimes Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper, Jim Swanson contacted the Daily Telegraph and they bought the story of the 'marginalia.' Journalist Charles Nevin went to see Jim Swanson, and the book, at his home. The story was published in the newspaper. At this time Martin Fido was also in touch with Charles Nevin and had a letter published in the Daily Telegraph a short while later. This was in October 1987.

Jim Swanson gave his reasons for going to the newspaper with the story because he did not like a lot of the 'rubbish about Jack the Ripper' that had appeared in the press, and that as he 'had proof of Jack's identity' he 'felt it only fair to his grandfather and Anderson to make the facts known.' He wanted to get some recognition of the part his grandfather played and show that the senior people at Scotland Yard 'were on the ball and were completely satisfied they knew his identity and that he had been safely put away.'
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Last edited by Stewart P Evans : 03-10-2009 at 09:24 PM.
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