18th Century
American Writing

Chesterfield Manumissions

Friends Historical Library
Swarthmore College

paleography, n.

a. Ancient writing; an ancient style or method of writing.

b. The study of ancient writing and inscriptions; the science or art of deciphering and interpreting historical manuscripts and writing systems.

transcription, n.

a. The action or process of transcribing or copying.

National Archives: Citizen Archivist Dashboard

Transcribing these primary sources helps us increase accessibility to historical records so that all of us can more easily read, search for, and use the information they contain.

Colored Conventions: Bringing 19th Century Black Organizing to Digital Life

This project seeks to not only learn about the lives of male delegates, the places where they met and the social networks that they created, but also to account for the crucial work done by Black women in the broader social networks that made these conventions possible.

Reading 18th Century American Writing: the Basics

Upper case letters were used to begin 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.

Reading 18th Century American Writing: the Basics

​Spelling was not standardized. Writers would spell words differently in different documents or even within a single document. Although challenging to read, such spelling tells us much about pronunciation before sound recordings existed.

Thorn: 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.

and so to come withoute delay

so that they take a day of love and accorde

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.

Joseph Dugdale (1810-1896) was a Quaker minister, farmer, and reformer. He helped organize Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends (also known Longwood Yearly Meeting).


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