Scholars have long struggled to explain the provenance of documents in the British State Papers, the “working archive” of the British principal secretaries. Intensive work with the State Papers Online metadata and network analysis have aided scholars Ruth and Sebastian Ahnert in the Tudor Networks of Power and Networking Archives projects.

The Ahnerts will join Virginia Tech collaborator Rachel Midura on March 1 from 4 to 5:15 p.m. to discuss their recent project to identify intercepted letters, modeling a toolbox of traditional and digital methods for work with deliberately sparse data. Identifying illicitly acquired documents sheds news light on intelligence networks in Britain and Europe.

The speakers’ affiliations are:

  • Ruth Ahnert, professor of literary history and digital humanities at Queen Mary University of London
  • Sebastian Ahnert, Gatsby Career Development Fellow in the Department of Physics at Cambridge University
  • Rachel Midura, assistant professor of digital history in the Virginia Tech Department of History

The virtual event is sponsored by the Virginia Tech Department of History and the West Ambler Johnston FaculTea Speaker Series, with support from a Global Partnership Grant in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the Networking Archives Colloquium.

The virtual event can be accessed here: FaculTea Zoom Link (meeting ID: 981 9433 1316; passcode: WAJ2021). Contact Rachel Midura at with any related questions.