December 5, 2009

"To hold it in your hands is really quite thrilling."

"It was really, really exciting. I just sat with it for a few minutes and looked it over and savored the moment."

19 comments:

Freeman Hunt said...

Wow--that's neat!

Ron said...

Whew! I thought it was more sex blogging...if it had been a letter from Franklin, maybe it would have been.

edutcher said...

Yes, that would be something to enjoy - especially if he had been the last one to handle it.

Ron said...

Whew! I thought it was more sex blogging...if it had been a letter from Franklin, maybe it would have been.

Poor Richard apparently talked a better game than many would like to believe. He knew how to flatter a woman and get on her good side - important if you want her husband to support a war the country can't really afford.

He was, after all, in his seventies, and his swinging-from-the-chandelier-by-his-heels days were almost certainly over.

reader_iam said...

Oh, that is cool (comments are interesting, too). Here's a brief bio of Bringhurst. Lots of familiar names, especially to anyone who knows Delaware even semi-well.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Archives are cool. You'll always find something neat, although rarely like this.

Kirby Olson said...

Americans generally fall into Madisonians and Jeffersonians.

People from Madison are mostly Jeffersonians.

People from Jefferson are mostly Madisonians.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

OT: Roll Tide!

Penny said...

Great story and fantastic find for this young lady.

Want to bet she had lots of help going through the balance of the boxes?

HKatz said...

From the article:

"For me, when I find a document, it's very much a personal connection to the person who wrote it or had it," she said. "Just to know that they had written it or had it in their desk -- it's incredible. This letter was like a link to Jefferson himself."

I love her sense of excitement about history and connecting with the past. It's a great find, and also great to see someone who's really into history, and has not only the persistence and work ethic needed for historical study, but also the imagination for it, to think of yourself as being part of a conversation with that time period.

ricpic said...

Great White Men Are So Yesterday, Man

On the odd empty afternoon
Jefferson invented the portable copying press.
His like will not come soon,
Or more likely never again, is my guess.

Palladian said...

I have had the same experience many times, having done a lot of research at various manuscript libraries. The most memorable experience I had, my earliest one in a manuscript library, was when I was at Yale. I used to go to the Beinecke library frequently to do research and spent a glorious week studying all of the William Blake materials housed there. The first one I looked at was their beautiful copy of Songs of Innocence and Experience, written, illustrated, printed by Blake himself and hand-colored with watercolors by Blake and his wife Catherine. I can't describe the emotional experience of holding that book, and reading all of those poems that I knew so well right from the source. I first opened the book to a random page, this one and was totally unprepared for how I would react to the experience. One of the most exciting things I've ever done in my life.

Later I discovered that during the time I was doing research at the Beinecke there was a low-level summer worker named Benjamin W. Johnson who was slicing signatures from historical letters and documents and selling them on eBay. I thank God that the scumbag didn't get his mitts on the Blake materials I had charged out.

Oh, while Johnson was stealing from the Beinecke he was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He later sold the signatures from his Madison dorm room. Probably a law student now...

rhhardin said...

It seems unremarkable to me.

Penny said...

"Jefferson invented the portable copying press.
His like will not come soon,
Or more likely never again, is my guess."

There will always be, "in my spare time", American inventors. The WORLD counts on that, and rightly so.

Will there ever be another American statesman of Jefferson's caliber?

We need to hope for one sooner rather than later.

Penny said...

"It seems unremarkable to me."

If it seems unremarkable as an historical finding, rh, then perhaps you could empathize with the true joy of the young history major?

While I may be wrong, I suspect this will shape her life in a very positive way.

Kirk Parker said...

Kirby,

How can you leave out all the Jacksonians?

Palladian,

How wonderful. I had a similar experience (being overwhelmed in a way I didn't expect) seeing the Rosetta stone.

David said...

Amanda Daddona to Thomas Jefferson: "Go ahead. Make my day."

Chip Ahoy said...

Speaking of Blake, I too discovered an earlier rendition of Ancient of Days.

vbspurs said...

To hold it in your hands is really quite thrilling

Not ANOTHER Tiger Woods' mistress thread.

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

Dickinson, a notable Delaware politician in his own right, worked with Jefferson as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Jefferson wasn't at the 1787 Convention. Am I missing something, or is CNN's fact checking that laughably bad?