Miglena Ivanova, Margaret Dimitrova, Siemeon Stefanov
The paper presents our work in progress on the scholarly project Local Production, Clothing, and Language Treasure (Contribution to Historical Linguistics and Anthropology of Dress), whose main aim is to study and to edit in an electronic form a little-known archival massif of handwritten documents from 1888 and 1889 preserved at the Scientific Archives of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The documents include 1077 handwritten pages with descriptions of clothing, as well as some photographs made for the illustration of certain data. In its entirety the massif presents in a synchronous cut the territory of Bulgaria in the period shortly after the Russian-Ottoman war of 1877-1878 and the restoration of the independence of the country. The interpretation of the data from the documents, which are mainly related to local ways of dressing requires voluminous work – paleographic (the documents were written in different handwriting and are sometimes illegible), historical (history of language, history of everyday life, general history, administration, history of language contacts), ethnological, anthropological, etc. At the same time the complex study of the massif will enrich the knowledge about the diversity and wealth of the Bulgarian language in the post-independence decades. Thus, it will become also possible to acquire additional knowledge about certain practices of the young Bulgarian state, for the municipal, county or local administration; for prevailing technologies of production of clothes and the ways of dressing in different villages and cities, as well as for the specific local cultures and everyday life, for many aspects of the social, cultural and economic history of the country in this period. The project also envisages the detailed investigation of the still poorly known reasons for the creation of the massif. In addition, as a result of the summarizing, analyzing and interpreting the data in the massif, the project team will contribute to the reuse of the archival documents in a number of topical research endeavors. It is also important that through the prism of clothing both durable and changeable aspects of various identities from the period will be revealed in their relation to the oral and written language proficiency.