“Not merely wifely devotion”: Collaborating in the Construction of Science at Terling Place

Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 44)


In this chapter I critique the literary construction of the scientific practice of John Strutt, Third Baron Rayleigh as a solitary pursuit within a domain separated from family life, and I analyze, instead, the science of his home, Terling Place, as a collaboration with his wife Evelyn Strutt, Baroness Rayleigh. As opposed to judging the character of their marital collaboration anachronistically through a professional lens, I analyze Terling science within the context of late-Victorian country-house society characterized by an aristocratic, evangelical-Anglican orientation. This case demonstrates how collaboration can be an unstable construct reliant upon the meanings imbued by the historical subjects and their discursive representations.


Family Firm Family Farming Manor House Domestic Space Direct Assistance 
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For kind permission to access and quote from unpublished manuscript materials, the author gratefully acknowledges Lord Rayleigh, Terling Place, Essex, and Mr. Andrew Michael Brander, Whittingehame Tower, East Lothian. The present chapter was based on archive research supported by the National Science Foundation, SES-00994442 (2001), and expands upon  chapter 5 of my doctoral dissertation, Donald Luke Opitz, “Aristocrats and Professionals: Country-House Science in Late-Victorian Britain” (University of Minnesota, 2004), pp. 110–143.

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© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DePaul UniversityChicagoUSA

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