"No documents, no history" - Mary Ritter Beard
The Hypatia Collection at the University of Exeter comes from the Hypatia Library, set up in Cornwall by Dr Melissa Hardie in 1996 to record the achievements and contributions of women world-wide in all fields of endeavour.
The collection at Exeter is part of a larger collection (other parts can be found in Cornwall and America); the whole comprising of 'books, documents and artefacts that concern women's role in history and contemporary life'. Dedicated to documenting women's lives through research, publication, and exhibition, it includes many ephemeral titles and books on subjects and by writers traditionally excluded from the academic canon.
Comprised of over 12,000 items, Exeter's collection is strongest on biography, social life, occupations and history, as well as on literature (especially fiction) and the arts. It also includes the Cheris Kramerae Gift of books on second-wave feminism and related topics.
The Hypatia Project was founded in 2017 in order to create a digital showcase of highlights from the collection; honouring the Hypatia Trust's aim to make these texts available to the widest possible audience, it encourages scholars to work with, reflect on, and make accessible material held within Exeter's Hypatia holdings.
The project is a truly student-led endeavour - a team of over 50 volunteers has worked to choose the material featured, write the commentaries, and digitise sections of the texts in Exeter's state of the art Digital Humanities lab in order to make them accessible for all. They have also been responsible for the project's presence across the web, including our twitter account - @UOEHypatia.
The project is co-ordinated by Dr Sarah Jones (Associate Research Fellow in the Department of History) and Dr Christine Faunch (Head of Heritage Collections), alongside colleagues from Exeter's Digital Humanities Lab.