What’s That Letter?!?

One of the most challenging aspects of Decoding the Civil War is trying to read the thoroughly unfamiliar handwriting. Zooniverse user crmiller211 suggested compiling a document with 19th century letter and number forms, and we thought that was a great idea. Our initial effort has brought together a sampling of letter forms for A-Z. We hope that by bringing all of these examples together in one place we have provided a ready reference for our volunteers. A side benefit is that this resource may aid other researchers in search of information on historical handwriting.

If you have come across a strangely shaped letter that you want to share you can either tag the page with #whatsthatletter and indicate where the tricky character is located, for example, second line down third word from left. Or you can share a screencap on twitter, tagging @civilwarcodes, along with the HDL identification for the page so that we can find the original image. If you’re not sure where to find the identification, there’s a little “i” in a circle below each image. If you click on that, the Subject Metadata pops up.

subject metadata.jpg

To see the list of examples, click here.

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One response to “What’s That Letter?!?”

  1. Marlys Hesch Sebasky says :

    This is very useful. When I’m really stumped, especially with a capital letter, I try copying their pen strokes–how was the letter formed? It seems to help ☺

    Like

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