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Patricia Cornwell donates historic letters

30th December 2010

Bestselling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell has donated two 17th-century letters to the John D. Rockefeller, Jr Library at Colonial Williamsburg.

The letters were written by Philip III of Spain to Alonso Perez du Guzman, the seventh Duke of Medina Sidonia, and express the monarch's fear that the English settlement of Jamestown could become a hub for state-sanctioned pirates.

Doug Mayo, associate librarian of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr Library, explained: 'Philip III of Spain was concerned the English would create a base in Virginia to attack Spanish ships in the Atlantic.'

Cornwell decided to donate the letters to Colonial Williamsburg, which is a living history museum dedicated to 18th-century American life, after asking archaeologist and Jamestown Rediscovery director William Kelso where they would best reside.

The Scarpetta author, who is a longstanding supporter of the Jamestown Rediscovery project, acquired the communiques several years ago at the auction of an old Spanish family archive in New York.

In a recent interview with the Independent, Cornwell showed that she is as at home with the modern world as she is with historic artefacts, when she claimed that listening to her readers' comments on social networking websites has improved her writing.
 

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