The Margrethe Hald Archive: Digitalization and Dissemination – University of Copenhagen

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The Margrethe Hald Archive: Digitalization and Dissemination

In 2006, Centre for Textile Research (CTR), University of Copenhagen (KU) acquired an archive that had belonged to the renowned Danish textile researcher Margrethe Hald.

A grant from Agnes Geijer’s Foundation has made it possible for weaver and art historian Ulrikka Mokdad to digitalize the Margrethe Hald archive and to make her work accessible to both academic researchers and the public. The digitalization will take place from 1 January to 30 April 2019, and will result in a full bibliography as well as copies of articles, books, slides and photos, which will all be available on the CTR homepage.

Margrethe Hald (1897-1982) was a Danish weaver and textile scholar who worked as a curator at the National Museum in Copenhagen from 1947 to 1967. As a young girl, MH had learned weaving during her stays at Vrigsted Højskole and Askov Højskole. During her studies at Tegne- og Kunstindustriskolen for Kvinder (School of Drawing, Art and Design for Women), MH was encouraged by her teacher Elna Mygdal, a researcher focussing on popular embroidery, to study the textiles at the National Museum. MH’s research and analyses formed the basis of her work “Tablet Weaving in Danish Antiquities” from 1930. MH has published numerous books on textile techniques besides studying textiles and clothing all over the world.

She received her doctorate in 1950 for her doctoral thesis Olddanske Tekstiler, a body of work that was ground-breaking for its technical analyses and which is still considered to be fundamental within international textile research. Olddanske Tekstiler was translated into English in 1980 and published as Ancient Danish Textiles from Bogs and Burials. MH had special skills in disseminating cultural history to a wider audience and she was a diligent writer, also of non-academic articles and books.

Today, MH is first and foremost known for her work on ancient textiles, but due to her extraordinary technical understanding of weaving and her rich cultural and historic knowledge, she also put the historic Scandinavian textiles and the contemporary textiles of the Middle East and South America in context. From her many study trips in Denmark and around the world, e.g. Jordan and Bolivia, MH brought back notes, photos and objects for further examination at the National Museum, and some of these are also found in the archive now at CTR.

Since the opening of CTR in 2005, researchers have continued to build on Margrethe Hald’s work through contemporary methodology, and her doctoral thesis Olddanske Tekstiler remains a cornerstone for the research carried out at CTR.

CTR is very grateful to Agnes Geijer’s Foundation for the possibility of making Margrethe Hald’s amazing work accessible to all interested parties.