Heading into week two I have read 79 pages of nineteenth century hand-writing authored by thirteen different hands. I think I’m getting better at this but it’s definitely not like reading typed text. I’ve also been recording the main features of the contents in a spreadsheet so that I can more easily sort the material into order by the date it was written, and keep track of who all the people are who feature in these letters as authors, recipients, or just people who are mentioned within the texts.
I have also got a plan in place to go to Chatham on October 1 to spend a couple of days filming in that area before there is snow on the ground. I have arranged to meet with the people who have the archive of letters that I’m studying, so I will finally be able to see the original versions. To date I’ve been looking at digital images of the letters.
I still don’t feel like I’ve got a clear narrative in mind, but I hope that, as I continue to read, something will emerge. I still have about twenty pages to read from my ‘basement archive’ and I still need to look back at some other letters from other archives, as well as some more of the secondary literature. So my objective for this coming week will be to do that, and to finalize my filming trip plans.