If you like puzzling out 19th-century handwriting, try transcribing the papers of John Torrey (1796-1873). You'll get to eavesdrop on 19th-century science and exploration through the letters of this major American botanist and his 350+ correspondents.
The NY Botanical Garden's Mertz Library (with help from the NEH and Carnegie Corporation) aims to make the Torrey Papers full-text searchable through the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
To learn more and start transcribing:
Sample documents/transcriptions: http://188.8.131.52/display/read_work?work_id=52
I heard about this and saw examples of the papers last week at the 150th anniversary meeting of the Torrey Botanical Society (www.torreybotanical.org/). I'm not a good mss transcriber -- my eyes aren't good enough -- but I rely on transcription projects like this in my research. So I'm spreading the word. I can imagine this making a good assignment for a historical methods class.
Karen Reeds, PhD, FLS
Peter Kalm’s New Jersey, 1748-1751
NJ350 Publication Initiative grant, New Jersey Historical Commission
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