"I Remain" - A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera
Arts
From the gentle art of sport to the more Muse-inflected pursuits of music, drama, and painting, this category contains letters from figures as diverse as Orson Welles, Babe Ruth, and William Michael Rossetti, a portion of Bach's working score for the Mass in B Minor as well as nineteenth-century printed images of Lincoln and Napoleon.
Daily Life
The items in this category comprise the "stuff" of history; they include checks, railroad passes, tickets to the impeachment of a president, a certificate of indenture, and ephemera from Abraham Lincoln's funeral. A review of these items offers insight into the daily practices of commerce, government, and travel. Letters within this section provide a window into the social life of other centuries: paying calls, fighting illness, acquiring land, and courting. Letters by well-known historical figures reflect on daily life and common concerns: Michael Faraday harangues against the occult phenomenon of table-turning and James Russell Lowell warmly celebrates the importance of friendship.
Features
This category showcases the collection's more unusual, unique, or valuable items such as manuscripts of important literary figures, letters focusing on issues of socio-historic import, or documents that offer rare perspectives on cultural history. Some featured writers are currently available on the site.
Honor
In the eighteenth century a gentleman's honor had material value in the world; the prestigious (or otherwise) circulation of his reputation or his word affected not only his social interactions, but his political connections and business dealings as well. If called into question, honor was hotly defended with words and sometimes swords. The letters in this category record the sharp words used to parry slights to the honor of the writer.
Language
The collection includes a number of non-English language letters by pivotal figures like Voltaire, Goethe, Leibniz, Hans Christian Anderson, and Victor Hugo. The languages represented in the collection include French, German, Italian, Greek, Latin, and Danish. A particularly unusual item in this category is Rafinesque's Synglosson, an 1832 Rosetta Stone-style manuscript listing comparative vocabularies for the languages of "Asia, Africa, Europe, and Polynesia." Also included in the collection are several letters discussing the process and methodology of translation, especially in the case of scholars discussing the Iliad. To increase the accessibility of these letters to all readers, a future development in this category may include the translations and transcriptions by students studying the languages represented here.
Lehigh History
Letters from Lehigh's founder and its presidents demonstrate the University's long history of development through the eyes of the administrators who helped to define its mission and shape the institution's national reputation. These letters link Lehigh to the global spheres of entertainment, politics, and literature.
Science
This category designation includes inventors, medical practitioners, archeologists, geologists, naturalists, and chemists. This portion of the collection disavows the image of a scientist working alone in an isolated lab, harnessing the powers of the universe. These letters reveal that scientists saw themselves as members of a community; they shared ideas with one another, gave advice on publication and data, as well as dealt with their everyday humanity.
Travel
Among the manuscript materials in this category are a late-eighteenth century log book complete with navigational poetry, a manuscript for a voyage travelogue in Spanish, and a journal kept during the French and Indian wars. In addition, this category includes documents that deal with the process of travel such as railroad passes and even nineteenth-century passports (including James Fennimore Cooper's!). Letters in this category describe modes of transport and reflect on life in other countries; the letters also offer evidence of intellectual and commercial exchanges between people who lived worlds apart. One letter, seeking a market for indigenous handicrafts, provides an account of early twentieth-century life on Pitcairn Island.
War and Politics
Letters from the front written during the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, and even the Cold War indicate that victory required not only fierce fighting, but diligent planning and careful coordination and distribution of supplies and personnel. The letters in the collection will exhibit how Presidents and politicians managed the pressures and opportunities of public life.
Working Writer
Emphasizing the daily pressures writers faced, this category reveals the process of writing as a continuing athletic struggle to put words on a page and to transcend ordinary modes of expression. In addition to literary luminaries, this category also features letters from artists, philosophers, and scientists who address the same issues on the writing process and the proliferation of new knowledge.
Writing through the Centuries
As the letters in the collection bear out, communication styles and trends have evolved over the course of the last two centuries. The eighteenth-century's epistolary tradition was transformed first by the introduction of technology like the telegraph, the typewriter, and later the computer; this category offers examples of letters, telegrams, and typed notes, as well as the use and development of letterhead, and the proliferation of mourning stationary.
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