In the 1980s, I came into possession of over 1,056 letters and documents that had been saved by my ancestors and their relatives from the 1800s and early 1900s. I will explain more as I work on this blog. The letters came to me in an unusual way, and it became one of my personal objectives to bring this history to light. It is also a great pleasure to share the letters with anyone interested.
The letters and documents cover two or three distinct periods, but generally range from the 1840s in Vermont through Sioux City and St. Louis to the early 1900s in California. They tell about history - about big and small events - and they tell about people.
WHY SO COMPELLING . . .
I found the letters compelling, illuminating much about the life and times, local histories, American history, and even more, about the thoughts, feelings, and fascinating lives of the people who wrote the letters. There were more than a few writers, and many were well-educated and delightfully easy to read. Others struggled to write, but bring their own charm and perspective to the body of work.
I learned so much that I'd never heard in history books, novels, biographies, or documentaries. Even as a reader of the Little House books and other material about the history of our country, I felt with these letters that I had stepped into a full and fascinating new world of events, thoughts, and personalities. The letters express comments and thoughts on major and minor events and characters, some in the public eye and some who would never have been heard of again without the letters that were written and saved so long ago. Since I first began to read this material, I have felt that these writers deserve an audience.
NEW TOOLS, NEW AVENUES
During the course of publishing the earliest letters in 14 volumes for my family, I realized what an overwhelming job I had undertaken, and the work of publication came to a halt. I had to get on with my life and my business. Since those years (1980s to mid-1990s) the computer revolution took place, and we now have web sites and blogs (with the capability of links!). What a dream come true for people like me with material to publish. My goal right now is to make the the letters and documents available as quickly and accurately as I can.
So begins a new phase of the Hudson and Joy project. After much deliberation about the right place to begin, I will start where the printed volumes left off, and post the earlier material when the currently-unpublished material is finished.
If I hear otherwise that someone is interested in the earlier volumes or in some aspect that I haven't reached yet, I'll see what I can do to make it available. Time is an issue, but I'll try to help.
. Editor's Note #1 ~ May 30, 2009: The Story of N.C. Hudson - v. 2.0
. Editor's Note #2 ~ May 30, 2009: Scope
. Editor's Note #3 ~ May 31, 2009: Focus
. Editor's Note #4 ~ June 10, 2009: Sioux City Public Museum to Expand
. Editor's Note #5 ~ July 18, 2009: Technology Is Great Until It's Not
. Editor's Note #6 ~ July 18, 2009: Footnotes vs Endnotes
. Editor's Note #7 ~ July 18, 2009: To "Sic" or Not to "Sic," Ain't That the Question?
This work is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.