What has been done

Judging by enquiries we've received over the years, just about everyone who reads Anne Hughes is fascinated by the mystery surrounding her and no doubt many have tried to get to the bottom of it. The people we know about are those who've been directly involved with its publication.

In the first instance, Mary Day tried to understand more about its background and left various comments in her introductions to the weekly serialisations. Mary was a remarkable lady whose integrity is beyond question and there is no doubt that she only wrote what she believed to be true. This is of importance since she is the only person outside Jeanne's family who has left a record of what Jeanne herself said about the Diary's origins.

After Jeanne's death, Michael Croucher, too, asked questions and left a record of his researches and thoughts in introductions he wrote for two of the Diary editions. It would be worth noting that Michael believed Jeanne stopped writing her wartime diary in 1942, but in fact she started it again. It covers the very period when the British and American troops were billeted locally, including some in her own barn. We can only assume that he never saw it for one reason or another, or because the entries are very sparse compared with earlier ones, that he dismissed them.

When Penguin released their first edition, a storm of controversy arose and some quite vituperative letters were written to the publishers about releasing such a fraudulent work. The young Michael Dover, who inherited the problem from a colleague on maternity leave, set about investigating the Diary's provenance and, like Michael Croucher before him, met and interviewed Molly Preston. A reply he wrote to a Dr. Terle, who had questioned the Diary's authenticity, sheds light on this period and also provides useful evidence for our search.

It was in 1992 that Penguin again released an edition of Anne Hughes and, this time, it had an extensive introduction written by Adele Roberts and Frances Houghton detailing their considerable research into the book.

Ian Shankland began his own research much later. Being concerned that a new road would cut through the landscape he thought at the time was where Anne had lived and worked, he posted a few web pages about it. It was in order to seek permission to quote from part of Adele and Frances's work that he got in touch with them and from this contact a new research team was formed and ideas and knowledge pooled.

It has been out of this joint effort and with the collaboration of Jeanne's grandson, Colin, that so much new information has been discovered.

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