An Invitation to Readers: Letters from Korea

I’ve finished transcribing the letters from Korea. All the pages are open to comments, although I must approve all comments before they are published.

Let me say a word about my transcribing methods/choices:

Mostly, I want the letters to be readable, so I did not, for example, indicate where words are misspelled—I just assumed that readers would understand what word was meant and that I probably know how to spell them correctly. I don’t think there are any cases where misspellings affect understanding.

The author often corrected his own misspellings, usually by putting parentheses around them and then crossing them out. I did include those in the transcriptions, just for an accurate picture. I don’t think they affect understanding, but in some cases they show how the author changed his mind in a sentence.

A few words were illegible, like the name of the silk scarf purchased in Tokyo, and some words that were completely scratched over with ink. Rather than skip over them, I did write illegible in square brackets.

And about all those dashes. I wrote a blog post a while ago about the colon + dash in so many of the WWII letters: “the dog’s bollocks, you say.” But it doesn’t stop there. There is a dash between almost all the sentences in these letters, even if a period is used. At some point, I had to make the decision of whether they should be represented by a hyphen or a dash and whether there should be spaces around them, as it may look in his handwriting. I decided to go with dashes with no surrounding spaces, just for consistency and my sanity, and because dashes do grammatically separate complete sentences—just not so often, please.

My own mistakes: I noticed that I often typed food for good, and while I think I caught them all, please let me know if you spot one I missed. My father often wrote tho for though, sometimes with a period indicating an abbreviation. For some reason, I started typing an s on the end, resulting in thos, so correct me on that as well.

If you aren’t interested in old war letters, please refer them to your friends. You can find a link to the letters from Korea here or individual links here

Transcribing, So Far

I’ve begun to transcribe the letters from the Korean War and have about eleven done, with nineteen more to go. When that batch is done, I’ll make them public, but in the meantime, you can check in on the list to see where I am. I will probably do two more today. If I were a better person, I would do two every day, but, you know, things happen.