The letter that I was transcribing from James Linn was written to his brother. He writes about his regiment as well as his own feelings that he is experiencing about the war. He also requests more stamps from his brother because he was unable to get them at the time. I notice a general feeling of anxiousness in his letters. He seems like he is awaiting some closure. He outright says that he and his regiment are anxious in my letter. He also seems like he is awaiting closure when he talks of a siege of Camden that his regiment was thanked for.
The first words of the letter were illegible to me until the final day of transcription and there are still many words that I have not been able to transcribe. “I expected” was read to me as “Sephora”. This is a great example of the trouble that was had during the process of transcribing each word. As context built and handwriting patters emerged, more and more words became clear. What also became clear was James Linn’s story.
Using zoom tools on the computer was not enough. We set out to the archives to get another perspective on these letters. Immediately I saw a difference. There was a crisper, more readable letter that I was able to hold in my hands. I was able to lean my head closer or further away to get a better look at a word. I could use a physical magnifying glass to look at each word individually as well as reread the letter a few times to look at the context. One of the biggest discoveries that I made were recognizing words such as “that”, “their”, and “them”. I struggled to identify these words an awful lot until we went into the archive and looked at the physical letters. Once I recognized these words, I was also able to distinguish other words that contained a “th” in it from those that did not.
I think that if the Linn archives were not at Bucknell, I would have had to make a much larger effort to transcribe his letter. I may have had to do some research into handwriting analysis and collaborate with other transcribers to understand the process. The archive allowed me to skip that extra work, which I think is good because it is more efficient to have done it this way because I only needed to transcribe the one letter.