Letterlocking: How did you fold a letter in the early modern period and what did it mean?

First impressions are important. When I receive mail – physical items by post, that is – simply the size and shape of the envelope tells me something about the sender. A5-sized envelopes (well, C5-sized, but you know what I mean; ditto below) tend to be bills or notes from the bank, A6 and smaller are […]

Editing is Hell, and normalization is an illusion

As a procrastinatory excursion, here are some thoughts about editing historical texts. Rather than an insightful comment on editorial philosophy, the following stems from practical matters and contains nitty-gritty details, and is not written in conversation with other editors (sorry). I’m sure everything I say here has been said before, but repetitio etc. 1. Why normalization […]

Datamoaning

At the beginning of this week, I attended the two-day Big Data Approaches to Intellectual and Linguistic History symposium at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki. Since Tuesday, I’ve found myself pondering on topics that came up at the symposium. So I thought I would write up my thoughts in order to unload them […]

No signal, just noise

One of the (oh too many) things I work on is code-switching* in historical texts. Or, more broadly, how multilingual environments are reflected in Early Modern English (merchants’) letter-writing. In particular I’ve done some work on the letters of early English East India Company merchants – some of it published – and then of course a […]

Did English spelling variation end in the 1630s?

1. Early Modern English spelling variation Yesterday, rather late in the evening, I followed a link on Twitter: So there's an EEBO-TCP spelling variation google ngram browser http://t.co/OLxUv5NLBQ (via @dr_heil) — heather froehlich (@heatherfro) April 24, 2014 This led to the great Early Modern Print : Text Mining Early Printed English website where there was […]

Kindness is the child of money

Thomas Wilson (c. 1565-1629; ODNB link) – among other things, intelligencer, secretary to Sir Robert Cecil, MP, and Keeper of the State Papers at Whitehall – left quite an impressive paper trail of his life post-1600. Yet thus far I have only come across one letter from him to a family member, being CP 83/47 […]

On the numbering and foliation of the Cecil Papers

While discussing the provenance of the manuscripts in my PhD edition, delving into the histories of various collections and repositories, I ran somewhat off on a tangent when writing about the Cecil Papers. Turns out that the foliation in the Cecil Papers is problematic, and references to documents in the Cecil Papers can be obscure. […]

Deer heads for Mr Secretary

This inclosed to your lordship is from francis Seagar seruant to the lantgraue of Hess [.]  he hath sent also to your lordship 2 deeres heades the one of a Rayne deere, the other of an Ealand a kynd of deer soe caled ther [.] the heades are heer att my chamber att somersett howse vntill I vnderstand your lordhip‘s pleasure […]