BBC: Anonymous letters providing solace in the pandemic

BBC: Anonymous letters providing solace in the pandemic. “When the letter arrived at Daniel Guzmán’s doorstep, it provided him with a glimmer of hope during one of the hardest moments of his life. ‘Keep going, when this is all over, you will walk out of the house with your head held high and your heart willing to give the best of you,’ it read. It was signed simply ‘Niña Peregrina’ (Spanish for ‘Wandering Girl’) Niña Peregrina’s was one one of hundreds of letters that have been exchanged by complete strangers in the Colombian city of Medellín during the country’s months-long quarantine.”

Smithsonian: Before Chain Letters Swept the Internet, They Raised Funds for Orphans and Sent Messages From God

New-to-me, from Smithsonian: Before Chain Letters Swept the Internet, They Raised Funds for Orphans and Sent Messages From God. “The 900-plus chain letters in folklorist Daniel VanArsdale’s digital archive range from the conventional—an 1896 fundraiser for a Louisville orphanage and a 1982 note urging recipients to relay the contents onward or suffer devastating consequences—to the unexpected, including a 1917 missive detailing how potential draftees could obtain conscientious objector status, a 1940 postcard calling for those addressed to ship handkerchiefs to strangers, and a 1986 petition advocating the boycott of Proctor and Gamble products adorned in ‘satanic symbol[s].'”

John Stevens Cooper Family Papers, PC.2190: Featuring a Soldier’s Letters to Wife Left in Charge of the Farm, Family, and Slaves, 1863–1865 (State Archives of North Carolina)

State Archives of North Carolina: John Stevens Cooper Family Papers, PC.2190: Featuring a Soldier’s Letters to Wife Left in Charge of the Farm, Family, and Slaves, 1863–1865. “The John Stevens Cooper Family Papers (PC.2190) are remarkable for the series of letters from John to his wife, Elizabeth, while he served in the Confederate military in 1863 and 1864. This correspondence sheds light on John’s recognition of the fact that, in his absence, Elizabeth knew what was best for managing their farm and slaves. His letters further illuminate his homesickness, his lack of faith in the Southern cause, and, in two notable instances, his desolation upon encountering the enemy.”

Columbia Missourian: SHSMO concludes digitalizing World War II letter collection

Columbia Missourian: SHSMO concludes digitalizing World War II letter collection. “Staffers and volunteers at the State Historical Society of Missouri finished the almost four-year process this month, according to a SHSMO press release. The selection contains texts written by more than 3,000 people, men and women, from every state of the country. They were transcribed and scanned to the SHSMO website with the goal of making the work of researchers, scholars and visitors easier.”

France24: Marie-Antoinette and lover’s censored letters deciphered

France24: Marie-Antoinette and lover’s censored letters deciphered. “Love letters between the ill-fated French queen Marie-Antoinette and her lover, which contain key passeges rendered illegible by censor marks, have been deciphered using new techniques, the French National Archives said on Wednesday. The revealed passages are further confirmation of the steamy relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Count de Fersen, who were writing to each other two years after the 1789 French revolution.”

CNET: As jails and prisons face coronavirus, a new app tries to bridge the mail gap

CNET: As jails and prisons face coronavirus, a new app tries to bridge the mail gap. “More than half of all Americans have had a family member in jail or prison, according to a 2018 survey. Yet the cost of making phone calls with prisoners has skyrocketed, leaving families to bear the burden of hefty fees to get critical information past prison walls. Even sending mail to a prisoner can become expensive to families in need. Amid the urgent COVID-19 crisis in jails and prisons, a nonprofit tech company is stepping up to help bridge the communications gap between those behind bars and their loved ones outside.”

Rome: Keats-Shelley House launches digital archive (Wanted in Rome)

Wanted in Rome: Rome: Keats-Shelley House launches digital archive. “The Keats-Shelley House Museum and Library in Rome has launched its new digital collections of manuscripts and art celebrating the lives and works of the Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. The launch of the museum’s new website and online collection coincides with the start of Keats-Shelley 200, a three-year programme of events, exhibitions and activities in the UK and Italy in celebration of the poets’ extraordinary works.”

Hamilton College: The Zo, Based on the American Prison Writing Archive, Debuts

Hamilton College: The Zo, Based on the American Prison Writing Archive, Debuts. “In 2008 when Professor of Literature and Creative Writing Doran Larson launched a seminar on American prison writing at Hamilton, he found there existed no collection that offered a broad sampling of writing by inmates. Thus began his solicitation of essays from the incarcerated that led to the publishing of Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, edited by Larson, and to the subsequent creation of the American Prison Writing Archive (APWA). The archive, now numbering more than 2,300 essays from 950 authors, has been used by colleges in 33 states and many countries around the world from Australia to England. Never before, however, has the archive received such well-deserved attention as that generated by Welcome to ‘The Zo’, a new series of videos from The Marshall Project that takes a look at life inside prison through sentiments expressed in the APWA letters.”

Smithsonian: The Unprecedented Effort to Preserve a Million Letters Written by U.S. Soldiers During Wartime

Smithsonian: The Unprecedented Effort to Preserve a Million Letters Written by U.S. Soldiers During Wartime. “Andrew Carroll is never far away from the slim black portfolio he calls ‘the football.’ Inside are more than two dozen original letters, creased and faded, bullet-torn and tear-stained, spanning 225 years of American war history, from the early days of the Revolution to 9/11. Each page is sheathed in a protective plastic sleeve, and for added security, there are the handcuffs. Carroll locks the case to his wrist when he travels, which he does almost constantly. By his own count, he was on the road almost 200 days last year, using this remarkable sampling of letters to convince anyone who will listen how important—and ephemeral—such documents are. It’s all part of the historian’s ambitious effort to rescue these eyewitness accounts from attics, basements, garage sales and trash bins.”

The Guardian: Letters shed light on lovelorn prince who became George IV

The Guardian: Letters shed light on lovelorn prince who became George IV. “Mary Hamilton’s advantages ‘in form and person’ over other women are eulogised in detail by the lovelorn Prince of Wales in a newly digitised letter. The revealing, magniloquent letter is one of more than 1,600 records and documents relating to George IV from the Royal Archives published online for the first time.”

SooToday: Digitized letters explore life at residential school

SooToday: Digitized letters explore life at residential school. “The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) is preserving documentation of daily life in the Shingwauk and Wawanosh residential schools through its Healing and Education Through Digital Access project. A total of 10 letter books spanning a period from 1876 to 1904 were digitized, which include letters from residential school principals Edward F. Wilson and George L. King, which were intended for government officials, church representatives and students, among others.”

Fold3: New Naval Records on Fold3!

Fold3: New Naval Records on Fold3!. “We have added a new collection of naval records to our archives! The Navy Officers’ Letters 1802-1884 is a collection of letters to the Secretary of the Navy from officers assigned to naval ships, stations, and Navy bureaus. The letters contain routine personnel matters such as duty assignments, leave or furloughs, desertions, resignations, court-martials, and other administrative issues. The collection is organized by year and then alphabetically by sender. The letters offer a glimpse into military history and provide valuable genealogical records for ancestors that served in the Navy.”

WTOP: Holocaust Museum digitizing letters from Anne Frank’s father

WTOP: Holocaust Museum digitizing letters from Anne Frank’s father. “Ryan Cooper was a 20-something Californian unsure of his place in the world when he struck up a pen pal correspondence in the 1970s with Otto Frank, the father of the young Holocaust victim Anne Frank. Through dozens of letters and several face-to-face meetings, the two forged a friendship that lasted until Frank died in 1980 at the age of 91.”

The Newberry: The Newberry Releases Digital Collection of 26,000 Early 20th-Century Postcards

The Newberry: The Newberry Releases Digital Collection of 26,000 Early 20th-Century Postcards. “The Newberry has launched a digital archive of over 26,000 high-quality images of picture postcards produced by pioneering British company Raphael Tuck & Sons during the first half of the 20th century. Drawing on a vast archive of postcards received by the Newberry in 2016 and developed with the support of Leonard A. Lauder, the new digital collection provides users with a comprehensive body of material for investigating the ways in which British citizens formed and disseminated their perceptions of the world 100 years ago.”

The Journal: Shepherd, Loyola Chicago awarded grant to create historical database

The Journal: Shepherd, Loyola Chicago awarded grant to create historical database. “The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture at the College of William & Mary has awarded Benjamin Bankhurst, assistant professor of history at Shepherd University, and Kyle Roberts, associate professor of public history and new media and director of the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities at Loyola University Chicago, with a $5,000 Lapidus Digital Collections Fellowship for ‘The Maryland Loyalist Project.’ The project is a collaboration between Bankhurst and Roberts, aiming to make the letters and petitions of British loyalists who fled the American Revolution housed in the British National Archives available in a digital archive.”