13 - Houshold matters

Unsichtbares Akkordeon

Busy Mills helpful friend Carlyle has to revive the french revolution twice because of a maids negligence.


John Stuart Mill, a friend of the historian Thomas Carlyle, found himself caught up in other projects and unable to meet the terms of a contract he had signed with his publisher for a history of the French Revolution. Mill proposed that Carlyle produce the work instead. Mill even sent his friend a library of books and other materials concerning the Revolution and by 1834 Carlyle was working furiously on the project. When he had completed the first volume, Carlyle sent his only complete manuscript to Mill. While in Mill's care the manuscript was destroyed, according to Mill by a careless household maid who mistook it for trash and used it as fire kindling. Carlyle then rewrote the entire manuscript, achieving what he described as a book that came "direct and flamingly from the heart." This was not helped by his usual mode of working, which involved tearing his notes apart after he had finished using them for the intended chapter. He voluntarily destroyed the closest thing to a backup that was available at the time.

This story shows two things: first research data management and its mishaps are not a new topic and second whatever material form your manuscripts, it is vital to have more than just one copy of them in case something happens to the original.