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Wyss Recent scholarship reminds us how eighteenth-century letters were produced and consumed very differently than we might imagine, certainly in the Native communities of New England. Some of those letters mark momentous events in the history of my family. Most, however, are quite mundane, marking the ordinary passage of time before e-mail and phone calls once and for all replaced our exchange of letters.
Mine is probably the last generation in this country to have a felt experience of epistolary exchange now that electronic media have largely replaced handwritten exchanges as the communication mode of choice.
Of course my experience of epistolarity is hardly the same as the eighteenth- and nineteenth- century Native American subjects of my book, English Letters and Indian Literacies, for whom the only tie to family—sometimes for years at a stretch—was the letters that passed between them.
Nonetheless, letter writing involves a set of shared practices and conventions that are gradually passing away at this moment. It is perhaps for this reason that scholars have turned their attention with such enthusiasm and insight to the familiar letter of the past.
Through careful analysis of letter collections in British and American archives, scholars remind us that eighteenth-century correspondents were part of a rising generation for whom letters were an increasingly essential part of their lives.
Rather suddenly, through vastly expanded literacy as well as increased access to the material conditions necessary for letter writing, better and more efficient transportation of letters, and the dispersal of families that characterized so much of the colonial American experience, ordinary people put pen to paper and marked out their everyday lives and experiences.
Increasingly in the eighteenth century, letters became a central means of communication and connection not only for elite families, but also for a variety of people in all walks of life. In New England this included Native American communities living on the outskirts of English settlements.
Epistolarity as Social Network Quill pens manufactured by E. De Young New York, ca. Although the image is from the nineteenth century, quill pens such as these, either purchased or hand cut, were the writing utensil of choice in the eighteenth century. For all the ways that letters and the conventions of epistolarity are familiar to those of us of a certain generation, recent scholarship reminds us of the many ways in which eighteenth-century letters were produced and consumed very differently—certainly in the Native communities of New England.
The implied dyad of the letter writer and recipient that we take for granted today is more or less a fiction: For those whose literacy was not firmly established, the letter writer might more properly be considered its composer, with a scribe either paid or acting out of kindness writing down the actual words.
Then, of course, there was the matter of delivery, which might include formal postage, but just as likely might involve a friend or two, or even a passing stranger willing to carry letters; letter delivery, especially for transatlantic mail, was dependent on transport routes, shipping patterns, and trade vessels.
Finally, the recipient of the letter would be not only the person to whom the letter is addressed, but would generally include a variably sized group of people—other family members, community members, and even passing visitors and friends with whom one might share all or part of the familiar letter, which would most often be read aloud upon its receipt—sometimes even by the person who had delivered it, who might be expected to carry a return message.
There was rarely any expectation of privacy in epistolary exchange, and letters served to consolidate relations that at times crossed from personal to political or financial exchange. The materiality of letters was of course strikingly different as well, as scholars from Konstantin Dierks to E.
Jennifer Monaghan remind us, and access to the technologies of literacy the right quill for a pen, proper ink, a flat surface for writing, light, paper, and, of course, the leisure to compose a letter was a challenge for many of the Native correspondents of New England. Embedded within those letters are references to far more letters than those that remain.
These new discoveries have transformed the way modern scholars approach Native history.Proposal Letters Components of a good letter proposal: Ask for the gift: The letter should begin with a reference to your prior contact with the funder, if any.
requesting a research grant of $, per year for two years, to support our research. Edit Article How to Write a Letter. In this Article: Article Summary Sample Letters Writing a Formal Letter Writing an Informal Letter Community Q&A Knowing how to write a letter is a fundamental skill you'll use in business, school, and personal relationships to communicate information, goodwill, or .
A research proposal is a document proposing a research project, generally in the sciences or academia, and generally constitutes a request for sponsorship of that research.
Proposals are evaluated on the cost and potential impact of the proposed research, and on the soundness of the proposed plan for carrying it out. Research proposals generally address several key points.
Are you wondering what to include and how to format an inquiry letter? View a downloadable sample inquiry letter. Find the tools you need to research career information, training, or jobs. Read More Careers. Interest Assessment; Inquiry letters; Inquiry letter sample; Networking.
Your elevator speech; Make . Letter to the Stranger: James regardbouddhiste.com is the letter that James Brody's parents wrote to request a due process hearing. Do you see how the parents told the story of James' education?
As you research your family, you'll no doubt come across a need to write letters requesting information or assistance from an institution or family member.