Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life in 1834

The library recently acquired a letter written by a Crawfordsville woman in 1834, making it one of the oldest documents in our collection. The town had been laid out by Ambrose Whitlock eleven years earlier, and was incorporated the same year our letter was written. Transcription of the letter is in progress and has already yielded some interesting information. The author notes as an aside that she has heard a rumor that Springfield will be made capitol of Illinois. Because paper would have been expensive in 1834, the author was frugal and  filled every inch of it with writing--she wrote horizontally, and across that vertically, then turned the paper upside down and wrote some more. Envelopes were not used at this time, so the letter was folded and sealed by itself. Letters such as this are a great resource for family historians, as they often give valuable information about neighbors and friends around town, family births, deaths, and marriages, and offer a glimpse into daily life in Indiana its early days. Check back later for a full transcription of this rare artifact.

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