Elaine Forrestal

Clara Saunders in the Internet Age

Clara Saunders, circa 1894

The all-pervading influence of the internet has reached back into the past and touched Clara Saunders this week.

Some time ago the educational publishing company, Nelson, made contact with me and asked for my permission to use one of my blogs, as an example of informal writing, in the 7th Edition of their reference book, Look it Up. I very happily gave my permission and went on with what I had been doing. Then, with all the formalities done and dusted, I received a page proof. My text was intact, but the photograph of Clara I had used to accompany the blog had been changed. When asked the reason for this the editor said she had contacted the National Trust who only had one photograph of Clara Saunders and it was not the one I had used. Same person, different photo. Fine. Except that I had used the other one because I felt that it gave a different impression of Clara as a person. I passed on my reference information. Nelson agreed to contact the National Trust again but said that, as their deadlines were very tight by then, they would have to go with the referenced photo they had, unless the National Trust had the other one as well.

Clara Saunders, 4th July 1894

Of course I am happy to have Clara appearing in such a widely used and highly regarded reference book as Look it Up. But which image of Clara Saunders will appear?