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Write Soon as You Get This: The Lanphear Family Letters, 1854-1870 [Research Assistantship]

Department: University Writing
Professor Mark Mullen

Project Description: What is interesting about this project?
While the Lanphear story is not, ultimately, a very happy one, the letters themselves are a lot of fun to read.  There is humor, no shortage of family drama (no one seems to have liked Reuben’s second wife at all, for example) and each of the family members emerges as a distinct character in the ongoing story.  A key element of this project is that I am transcribing their letters as written, leaving all grammatical and punctuation idiosyncrasies intact. If you are at all interested in the richness of language, or in learning how ordinary working class people in the nineteenth century actually spoke and wrote you will enjoy working on this project.

Duties: The Research Assistant would be responsible for:
a) checking the accuracy of existing transcriptions
b) offering their own suggestions for particularly difficult instances of handwriting interpretation
c) identifying terminology, events, or references that would need further explanation for a general audience

If the RA has an a research project that he or she is currently working on that would be a good fit with this project we could talk about additional research work.  While I haven’t selected the “for credit” option I would be open to changing that depending on the needs and interests of the RA.

Time Commitment/Credits: 1-3 hours per week (average); 0 credits

To Apply: Submit Cover Letter/Resume to: ishmael@gwu.edu