The Victorian Lives and Letters Consortium

Founded in 2011, the Victorian Lives and Letters Consortium (VLLC) is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization composed of teachers, scholars, programmers, librarians, students, and enthusiasts devoted to the challenge of creating interactive digital archives of life-writing extending from the coronation of Queen Victoria to the outbreak of World War I. The goal of the VLLC project consists of two major components: 1) the digital scanning of hidden, dispersed, and physically fragile archives that would be impossible to reproduce other than in digital form and 2) the design and development of a unified content management system and a flexible online platform to accommodate multiple approaches to building searchable, interoperable, and peer-reviewed electronic scholarly editions of the archives. Beyond the task of simply re-creating analog archives in digital environments, the VLLC seeks to test in new ways Thomas Carlyle’s observation in his essay “On History” (1830) that “Social Life is the aggregate of all the individual . . . Lives who constitute history; History is the essence of innumerable Biographies.” The VLLC intends to create a new generation of scholarly digital editions that will highlight the complex interaction between private lives and public personas in Victorian society. Four archives—each with unique qualities as well as overlapping attributes—have been chosen to illustrate this dynamic interplay between Victorian interiors and exteriors.


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