In this lesson, students consider the challenges facing researchers of primary sources and try their hand at transcribing a letter from 1865. They will analyze the language style of the letter and rewrite it into modern language.
Ask students to imagine themselves as a family member of a sailor on a whale ship in the 1850’s. Have them write a short letter to him in a style that would be appropriate to the time period.
Using the information on the language analysis form completed in class, write a one-page response to the question: What does the style of Susan Cromwell’s letter tell us about letter writing in the 1850’s? Be sure to mention specific examples from the letter to support your ideas.