Most Sacred Things

October 29, 2019

Role(s): Principal InvestigatorThe Fitzwilliam Museum

🍵 1 min to read (suggested)

This pilot project from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, explores how we can best organise and display William Hayley’s correspondence to highlight connections between people, places and the production of literature and visual art. It was funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant Scheme, and the Cambridge Humanities Research Grants.

In this project we used a variety of technologies - IIIF, Storybook,, Mediawiki, Omeka, Laravel, Vue.js - to create a new online digital edition of the collected writings of Hayley, which will be hosted on the Fitzwilliam Museum’s website. Letters were transcribed via a simple MicroPasts citizen science application

We worked with Philo van Kemenade and Alexa Steinbrück to develop a Vue.js component framework for the front end.

I wrote the laravel application that pulled these data together and presented a unified front end, with an integration for SOLR based search and discovery in a couple of days.

William Hayley (1745-1820)

During his lifetime, Hayley was an influential author, scholar and champion of women’s writing.

He was the first person to publish a substantial extract of Danté's Divine Comedy in English, declined the offer of the poet laureateship (partly for political reasons), and, in his biographical writings, often explored issues of mental health.

People I worked with

  • Lisa Gee
  • George Doji
  • Suzanne Reynolds
  • Naomi Billingsley
  • Philo van Kemanade
  • Alexa Steinbrück

Institutional Partners

  • Manchester University
  • MicroPasts

Documents and files


  • Cambridge Humanities Research Grants, Cambridge University
  • The British Academy
  • The Leverhulme Trust
  • Grant amount: £39,635


  • Gee, L ‘A Task enough to make one frantic’: William Hayley’s Memorialising, European Journal of Life Writing, 9 (2020): DOI