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Deciphering the Past: An Introduction to Transcription

1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

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Letter from Jane Mecom to Benjamin Franklin


Thursday, June 4th from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Have you ever been interested in transcription and the mysteries it can unlock? Join the American Philosophical Society and the Science History Institute on June 4th as Julie Fisher talks about paleography (the study, deciphering, and dating of manuscripts), its importance today, and tips you can use when transcribing historical manuscripts. Learn about transcription projects already taking place across the United States and how to join them.

After the talk, join Julie to try your hand at transcribing a letter from Jane Mecom to her brother, Benjamin Franklin. Read along as Jane “Sett a Leach or Leaches that will contane Eighteen Bushels of Ashes and won Bushel of Stone Lime to hogsheds.”

About the Speaker 
Julie Fisher holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Delaware with a focus on Early American and Native American history. She is currently at the American Philosophical Society as the Members Bibliography and Biography Postdoctoral Fellow. Before coming to APS she was a consulting editor with the Native Northeast Portal, a digital humanities project based at Yale University from 2017-2019 and the primary investigator for a National Park Service grant at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island from 2016-2018. She first began transcribing and learning paleography skills for her first book, Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics and Narragansetts: Diplomacy, War, and the Balance of Power in Seventeenth-Century New England and Indian Country. She has been transcribing ever since.

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