Digital Paxton: Digital Collection, Critical Edition, and Teaching PlatformMain MenuIntroductionWill FentonUsing Digital PaxtonHistorical OverviewWill FentonDigital CollectionKeywordsEducationTranscriptionsPublic OutreachRedrawing HistoryRedrawing History: Indigenous Perspectives on Colonial America, a two-year project funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, connects Native American artists with the Library Company’s rich collections and far-reaching scholarly community. Partnering with artist Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva), author Lee Francis (Laguna Pueblo), and the indigenous publisher Native Realities Press, the Library Company will publish a graphic novel that reinterprets the Paxton massacre from the perspective of the Conestoga. Dr. Will Fenton, will serve as creative director, connecting the creative team with an advisory board of scholars, local tribal leaders, and educational specialists, and making new archival records accessible via his digital humanities project, Digital Paxton. Published, printed, and distributed by Native American businesses, the graphic novel will include a curriculum to facilitate use in secondary and post-secondary classrooms. Original artwork will be exhibited at the Library Company together with the original collection items that inspired it. And a slate of public programs, including a colloquium and public readings, will engage local audiences; conference presentations will bring the project and its model to academic audiences.ContactCreditsThe Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The Library Company of Philadelphia
Philadelphia Friends to Wyaloosing Indians, November 28, 1772 - 1
12017-01-21T09:28:59-08:00Will Fenton9e3bf7727b68fc64e416bcd18efaefb81d06944c72001Philadelphia Friends' message to Wyaloosing Indians2017-01-21T09:28:59-08:00HC11-24133 (manuscript collection 1250, AA4.4)The Friendly Association Papers (Vol. 4). Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections, Haverford College.Manuscript, 4 pages.41Will Fenton9e3bf7727b68fc64e416bcd18efaefb81d06944c
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12017-01-21T09:31:08-08:00Will Fenton9e3bf7727b68fc64e416bcd18efaefb81d06944cPhiladelphia Friends to Wyaloosing Indians, November 28, 1772Will Fenton2Philadelphia Friends' message to Wyaloosing Indiansgallery2018-02-13T03:53:00-08:001772Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures.Call Number: HC11-24133 (manuscript collection 1250, AA4.4)Available in the "Philadelphia Yearly Meeting records (Vol. 4)" in the Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections, Haverford College.Haverford College Quaker and Special CollectionsWill Fenton9e3bf7727b68fc64e416bcd18efaefb81d06944c
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12017-04-13T04:10:34-07:00Transcription Best Practices4Kate Johnson, Marie Pellissier, and Kelly Schmidtimage_header2017-04-13T10:42:11-07:00
Formatting – Match What You See
As you transcribe, try to match the format of the document as best you can. This includes matching line or paragraph breaks, hyphenated words, or possibly including a notation such as [crossed out] next to crossed out text to indicate its format. Not only does the content of the document provide us with information about the past, but the form can give us clues and insights too.
Correcting – Maintain the Same
Resist the impulse to correct words or phrases to modern standards. Transcribe the text exactly as you see it, including spellings, capitalization, abbreviations, names, and dates. Not all authors write with consistency, they may capitalize a word in one place but not capitalize it elsewhere.
Deciphering – Use Clues, Not Guesses
18th century handwriting can be difficult to read. Below are some tips to help you when you encounter a tricky part of the text.
Look at similar letters in the text that could be used to help decode a difficult word
Consider the context of the document, or what the document is about, to help figure out what it might be describing
Continue transcribing part of the document, and then come back to the word with fresh eyes
If you think you can read the word but aren’t sure, follow the word with a question mark: [encampment?] When you can’t make out a word, use [illegible] or in brackets put what letters you can recognize and use dots to mark letters you can’t read: [A..m..d]. Do your best and use your best judgement.
Common Writing Conventions
Upper case letters were used to for nouns, as well as to begin sentences.
The lower case s was written in elongated form at the beginning of a word, in the middle of a word, and when written twice, as in pass. The elongated s can be mistaken for an f, and ss can look something like a p. See the examples, “propossed” and “Mississippi” below.
Shortened versions of words were indicated by beginning the word in regular-sized letters and ending with superscript letters, maybe with a line underneath where the missing letters would be. Some writers simply shortened words and left no other indication of the missing letters. In the example below, you see a shortened version of “which.”
Spelling was not standardized. Writers would spell words differently in different documents or even within a single document. Many writers spelled phonetically, using the way the words sounded as a guide. Although challenging to read, such spelling tells us much about pronunciation before sound recordings existed.
In words like the, y could stand for the th and the e was added in superscript. The y was pronounced as we pronounce a th today. Here's an example:
Depending on the writer, some uppercase letters can look similar. Here are some to watch out for:
K, P, and R
J and T
L and S
For more tips and explanations of 18th Century writing conventions, reference this toolkit.