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Research

Overview of Project

Welcome to People, Religion, Information Networks, and Travel – Migration in the Early Modern World. How did news travel in the seventeenth century? What role did religion play in people’s mobility? Help us transcribe Quaker letters to understand how their authors’ social and religious networks shaped their movements. PRINT is a collaborative digital humanities project that traces the communication networks of early modern European religious minorities (Anabaptists, Quakers and Pietists) and the ways they shaped the dynamic patterns of migration in the Atlantic world. Housed at the University of Central Florida, PRINT is creating a digital repository of letters and tools for visualizing the complex connections the correspondence reveals. We seek to understand the links that arose in response to religious persecution and missionary work and the way those connections influenced migration flows. Our goal is to work with archives and citizen transcribers to provide access to documents not readily available and to create digital tools to foster new textual and network analysis.

Significance of Collection

Drawing on roughly 3,000 letters written between 1630 and 1730, PRINT will bring together manuscripts from archives and libraries in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, and the United States. We are beginning with the Pemberton Family Papers, housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Phineas Pemberton (1650-1702) was an English Quaker and shopkeeper who migrated to Pennsylvania in 1682, where he was a farmer and prominent politician. He was married first to Phoebe Harrison (1660-1696), daughter of James Harrison, and second to Alice Hodgson (d. 1711). These letters provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about the lives of ordinary people in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world. The ultimate goal of this project is to produce a standardized, machine-readable transcription of each letter in the database. This means that the transcriptions will become keyword-searchable so that other researchers have greater access to these documents.

Goals of this Project

The goals of PRINT are to 1) create a digital collection of crowdsourced transcriptions and translations of the letters to make the content more easily accessible; 2) visualize the constantly shifting communication networks that emerge from the letters to better understand how the connections between and across religious groups shaped migration flows in the period; 3) develop open source tools to connect seamlessly customizable network visualizations and the correspondence database; and 4) make PRINT a (de)centralized repository of historical information for researchers and the general public.