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Copyright Office, What We're Reading

Title Page of Manipur BookClaire Tatro is an intern this summer with the Copyright Office here at Michigan Publishing. Claire is a student at the University of Michigan School of Information (M.A. 2014). She is working on a series of highlights about books in the public domain in HathiTrust with her mentor, Kristina Eden from the Copyright Office. This is Claire’s first post.

Ethel St. Clair Grimwood (a pseudonym for Ethel Brabazon Grimwood) was the wife of a political agent for the British Crown.  She wrote a riveting tale about her life in Manipur published in 1891 as My Three Years in Manipur and Escape from the Recent Mutiny.  You can read Ethel’s book online at HathiTrust Digital Library. ( This is one of the few accounts by a British woman in India, during civil unrest.  Through Ethel’s eyes, this book illustrates not only what a woman’s role was during this time period, but also her view of the lifestyle and culture in Manipur. She was forced to flee Manipur and return to England when the local reigning prince was overthrown and replaced with one of his brothers.  The British did not approve of the change and used military force to address the situation.  This is a window into a firsthand account on the politics within Manipur between the princes of Manipur, the British politicians, and the British military.

Fame followed when Ethel was awarded the Royal Red Cross by the Queen of England for special exertions in nursing sick and wounded soldiers and sailors. She was also received a financial award from the princess of Wales.  From 1881-1904, Ethel was the subject of various articles in The London Times (see works referenced). The recognition of her deeds led to her book: My Three Years in Manipur and Escape from the Recent Mutiny.  She wrote during a time of sensational publications where British readers enjoyed living vicariously through the writer’s experiences and adventures. In reading further about Ethel St. Clair Grimwood, I found that her life story spanned three continents ending in her death in Oregon as the result of ‘toxic psychosis’ – raising even more curiousity. This book and its author may be of interest for historians, women’s studies, or sociologists – and maybe as inspiration for a good film script!

The copyright status of this book was reviewed for the Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) project, a collaborative effort of 14 universities made possible with the support of a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  

Works Referenced

“Her Majesty has been pleased to confer upon.” Times [London, England] 8 June 1891:    9. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 May 2013

K.D. Reynolds, ‘Grimwood , Ethel Brabazon (1867-1928)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2010 [, accessed 20 May 2013].

“Mrs. Grimwood’s Narrative.*.” Times [London, England] 16 Nov. 1891: 10. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 May 2013.

“The Disaster In Manipur.” Times [London, England] 1 Apr. 1891: 3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 May 2013.




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