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Deciphering the Past: Transcription Hour

1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Letter from Abiah Franklin

October 8, 2020 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Join the American Philosophical Society and the Science History Institute for this three-part series on deciphering historical documents throughout time. Puzzle through mysterious writing, try your hand at decrypting colloquialisms and unfamiliar spellings. In each session we’ll be working with a specially selected manuscript straight from our vaults. Learn tips you can use when transcribing historical documents, practice new skills, and discover your inner detective.

For our October session, we’ll be transcribing the only existing letter from Abiah Folger Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s mother. Join us to learn more about her life through clues in her letter.


About the Speaker
Julie Fisher holds a PhD 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 the APS she was a consulting editor with the Native Northeast Portal, a digital humanities project based at Yale University from 2017 to 2019, and the primary investigator for a National Park Service grant at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island, from 2016 to 2018. She 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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