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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reading 18th Century Documents

Wow! Has it really been 3 weeks since my last post? I am such a slacker. I have some crazy good pictures to post from Fort Ticonderoga, but I haven’t had the chance to load them to my computer yet. But keep an eye out for those in the near future.

For today, I have a fun website that I plan on thoroughly exploring. Back in July there was a topic on one of my boards of reading period documents. If anyone has ever looked at a period document, it can be difficult for our 21st century eyes to read.

Here is an example of a handwritten letter, composed in 1770:

18th Century Handwriting Example

As you can see the writing style is just something we are not used to seeing or reading.

One of the people who jumped in on the discussion shared a great website that can help us train our eyes to read these documents a little better. It is from the US National Archives, and can be found here:

Reading 18th Century Documents Tutorial

I haven’t had the chance to go through it all the way, but I think it will be a good one to explore. Handwritten letters can be a great resource when doing research in this time period. It gives you a first hand experience of what life was really like. And if you get the chance to read the original document yourself, even better, because there is no chance for intepretation mistakes.

If you are interested in reading 18th century documents, typed up in a font you can easily read, check out this website:

Avalon Project

Happy reading!

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