What’s After the Letters?

Currently, there are 402 pages on this site. The blog itself is one continuous page, and then there are title pages and resource pages, and so on.

Three hundred fifty-nine of those pages are letters from Walt—359!

::deafening applause::

But that’s not the end. I still have those packs of Ruth’s letters to be sorted and scanned and transcribed. They are without their envelopes, so I am hoping each one is dated, and that maybe they were returned in order. I will start by scanning and posting them before I do any transcribing, though.

There are other items that might be of interest, such as Walt’s pilot’s log book, and of course documents from the government following his death.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates about where the site goes from here.

Saving some old pictures

My mother, using the old image-cropping tool of scissors, cut up a bunch of one-of-a-kind photos and made a collage, using some kind of adhesive that no longer holds—that’s kind of a good thing, because they just come apart without tearing the edges of photos under them. One picture at the bottom edge didn’t make it, and I don’t know what it was or when it fell out.

collage

 

This grouping contains, among others, the only photo I’ve ever seen with me and my father in the same picture, so I’ve decided it’s time to get them all apart and scanned (maybe not those ones of me in the teen years). Then what should I do? Should I put the originals back in this arrangement in a frame? Or should I store them in a photo box? I kind of like things to be used rather than hidden away in boxes, even if it leads to their demise, so I’m leaning toward putting it all back together, once the scanning is done. Maybe I can even find another picture to fill in that empty spot, some embarrassing picture of my brother, for example.

A few of the photos can be seen on the 1951 page, showing some of the people talked about in the letters from Korea.

A Lovely Display of Letters

At least to an academic, this digital collection of “The John McCoy Family Papers” at the Dartmouth College Library is lovely. View the documents and letters from this page: http://collections.dartmouth.edu/teitexts/jmccoy/index.html

Here’s a nice example of what I find so inviting in the display. The transcription on the left is clear and easy to read, without too many interruptions except where words are illegible. The actual letter image is available on the right in a nice viewer that does not allow readers to copy or download the document, to prevent distribution. I don’t think I’ll ever have the skills or resources to do something like that (you never know), but this would be a nice format in which to display my letters once transcribed. I’ve heard (I have connections) that the collection will eventually offer a toggle to the full TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) markup, something I’d like to learn in my coding adventures.

Dartmouth Library Document Collection Display
Dartmouth Library Document Collection Page Display

Remaining Letters

It just occurred to me that all the letters will be scanned soon and out of the envelopes in which they’ve resided for 70 years, unfolded, filed into folders and placed in a file cabinet, recorded in a database, soon to be fully read and transcribed. Occasionally I read snippets as I scan and discovered in one of the earliest letters that Ruth had an idea to make a scrapbook, which explained the stack of returned letters that she had written. Those envelopes have never been opened, but will be soon. I guess I am fulfilling that mid-century idea of a scrapbook as a digital object befitting this next century.

So, I think I should take some photos of the letters that remain in their envelopes, because it certainly feels like a milestone. I’ll keep returning to this post with more photos as the stacks dwindle down to that last one.

12 June–I’m done with 1942. Just the remaining letters from 1944-45, and then the unopened stack of my mother’s letters that were returned for her scrapbook. And no, that’s not a tin of 70 yr. old tobacco–it’s a tin of marbles.

unexpected treasure

Sometimes you find unexpected items folded in with the letters when you first remove them for scanning. Today I found a snipping of a poem from a newspaper, with just a simple note of “I like this. Do You?” It was a sentimental poem, unsigned, about people living apart and not sharing the same experiences, mostly of nature, waiting to experience them “hand in hand.”

Then in the letter dated August 27, 1942, there was this sketch of Walt by an unnamed guy in his platoon, although the sketch is signed by what looks like J. Blatt. It looks pretty good compared to photos I’ve seen. Unlike photographs, this is interesting in that it captures a moment as perceived by an artist, not a camera.

croppedsketch