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Copyright Office, What We're Reading


The Danvers Jewels

Claire 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.

The Danvers Jewels, a mystery novel written in 1898 by Mary Cholmondeley, is a riveting tale of murders and theft surrounding the Danvers jewels.

The author, Miss Cholmondeley, lived a relatively quiet life, taking care of her siblings and her ill mother. She thought of herself as plain and boring; so at a young age she resigned herself never to marry. To support herself she began writing. The Danvers Jewels was her first novel published as a series of installments in the Temple Bar magazine. With this book she gained a small following, which later grew with her most popular book Red Pottage.  Red Pottage is a sensational book which focuses on the sexuality and vocation of women, and pokes fun at religious hypocrisy and the narrowness of country life.

Feminism plays an important part in Miss Cholmondeley’s books. The Danvers Jewels has a more subtle feminist undertone. Her female characters are strong, cunning, and intelligent. The character of Jane often stands up to her brother, trying to protect him from murder and theft in spite of his nonchalant attitude. His foolhardy behavior is a sharp contrast to the intelligence and resourcefulness of the women. He is determined to take the jewels with him on all excursions, believing them safest in his possession in spite of the fact that murders and robberies follow him everywhere. His chauvinistic nature blinds him to the women both helping him and attacking him.  The Danvers Jewels is a vehicle for Miss Cholmondeley to explore misperceptions of feminine intellect and stereotypes.  You can read this novel and its companion volume Sir Charles Danvers in the HathiTrust Digital Library.

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).

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