I hoped very eagerly to receive a letter from you this morning

Joseph Culver Letter, February 11, 1864, Page 1Head Quarters 1st Brig., 1st Div., 11th A.C.

Nashville, Tenn., February 11th 1864

My Dear Wife

I hoped very eagerly to receive a letter from you this morning, but the mail brought me nothing. I feel satisfied, however, that nothing serious has happened, or else the telegraph would have informed me. I have also looked in vain for Bro. Sammy. He must have taken the other route or else passed through here without stopping. I have received no letters since I last wrote. I wrote to Mother [Culver] to-day & will write to Sister Hannah soon.

I am trying hard to raise money for the Band, still hoping to be sent to purchase them instruments. I would in that event be able to spend a few days at least at home with you. Don’t you wish for it, too? Yet it is not sure enough to base much hope upon. Col. Cropsey has sent in his resignation. I feel very sorry, as we shall miss him very much. Yet his health will fully justify him. It will be well, perhaps, to say nothing about it, as I think he wishes to keep it quiet, especially as it may not be accepted.1

We are all getting along quietly here. Almost every day we hear rumors about moving. The pay-master is busy paying the Brigade. I have not seen Capt. Hoskins to-day, but he was better yesterday. I hope he will succeed in getting a leave of Absence. I have enclosed Cordie Dunmire’s letter, thinking you would like to read it. I wrote to Joe Culver to-day. I believe you saw his letter to me.2  Alf. Huetson was down to see me to-day and drew my horse upon the wall. It was so well done that the Col. [Harrison] says he will prove invaluable in the Engineer Corps, and he will probably be included in its organization.3  Christ [Yetter] & Nate [Hill] were out this morning, they are both in good health. My health is good, except a constant tickling in my throat. I am taking some medicine to-night.

I earnestly hope to-morrow’s mail may bring me a letter from you. Give my love to all. Write often. May the blessings of Heaven rest upon you. Remember me kindly to all our friends. You need not be surprised if I make my appearance there some night. Will you let me in?

Your Affectionate Husband

J. F. Culver

  1. Andrew J. Cropsey’s resignation as lieutenant colonel of the 129th Illinois Infantry was accepted February 27, 1864. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  2. The letter from Joseph Z. Culver is missing from the Culver Collection.
  3. On March 21, Corporal Huetson was detached to headquarters,  1st Brigade, First Division, XI Corps, as topographical engineer.
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35,000 transcriptions

DIY History milestone

DIY History milestone

The diligent and talented contributors to DIY History have now transcribed more than 35,000 pages of manuscript diaries, letters, recipes and telegrams! And this number does not reflect the thousands of pages of proofreading our crowdsourcers have also accomplished, bringing these documents to life and to the eyes of researchers. The transcribed pages tell the stories of Civil War soldiers and their families, of Iowa women making lives for themselves and their communities, of the glories of the kitchen from the 1600s to the twentieth century, of the machinations of railroad  barons, and the high ideals of a football hero. Thanks to all of you for the gift of your time and talents.

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Transcription addiction

We’ve been in touch with one of our most faithful DIY History transcribers, Roger. He didn’t intend to get so drawn into the project when he first visited our site, but now he admits that “things like eating and mowing get in the way but I’ve managed to blow off most other things cause I’m addicted to this.” Besides transcribing the manuscript pages, at which he has become expert, he likes to monitor the “Recent changes” log, which records all the work done by various contributors, and is accessible to anyone who creates a DIY History account. Like other frequent transcribers, he has an eerie sense of entering the private thoughts of writers long ago: “I keep thinking we’re almost invading something private these people from 200 years ago never expected anyone, but maybe a daughter or grand daughter would ever see their writings. It’s a great look into the “olden” times.” Roger has spent a lot of time transcribing recipes in the Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbook collection, and has come across some really harrowing dishes, which make full use of body parts. He knows someone who worked at a meat locker for years, and even she “has no interest at all in the tongue, feet, head or any other questionable parts of meat, like udder. She hated to handle a tongue, no way is she going to eat it.” Ah, how times and palates change. Roger has found a way to multi-task his hobbies: “I use my 46 ” flat screen as my monitor so I can kick back in the lazy boy and start typing and deciphering. I finally decided Sunday I wasn’t able to watch TV and type at the same time and a Nascar race was on. So I did a bit of rearranging so I could watch on the older 27 ” TV while online and if something interesting came up I could jump back on the flat screen to see wrecks or whatever.”

Another of our best transcribers is British; his hobbies include deciphering Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B, gardening, and fine cooking. He has dedicated himself to transcribing and proofreading the Civil War Diaries and Letters, and sometimes reports to us his discoveries about old American slang and expressions, such as “wooden nutmegs and flannel sausages.”

We love to hear the transcribers’ stories, as they help us share the stories of these old manuscripts.

English Cookbook, 1700 | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

English cookbook, 1700 | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

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The poetry of pudding

From the Szathmary cookbook collection, a rhyming recipe from an 1860 English cookbook:

A Paradise pudding

English cookbook, 1860 | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

English cookbook, 1860 | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

If you’d have a good pudding pray mind what you’re taught

Take two pen ‘sworth of eggs when they’re twelve for a groat

Take of the same fruit which Eve once did cozen

When pared & well chopp’d at least half a dozen

Six ounces of bread (let your maid eat the crust)

The crumb must be grated as fine as fine dust

Six ounces of sugar won’t make it too sweet

Some salt & some nutmeg to make it complete

To these you may add if you are willing and handy

Some good lemon peel & a large glass of brandy

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