Saturday, 14 July 2012

Research in Connecticut

I am currently in Boston, having completed my research at Yale's Beinecke Library in New Haven and the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford. I have always loved going to New Haven to do research at the Beinecke Library. Yale's campus is beautiful and the staff at the Beinecke are very courteous and helpful. The Connecticut Historical Society is also a pleasure to visit, and is usually less busy. As has been the case in the past, I was the only person in the library doing research.

On Friday while at Yale I looked at the Journal of Esther Edwards Burr, a collection of letters from one of Jonathan Edwards's daughters who married Aaron Burr Sr. Although the journal has been published years ago by Carol Karlsen and Laurie Crumpacker, I wanted to transcribe my own excerpt from the original manuscript to use for my forthcoming evangelical reader.  Like most eighteenth-century manuscripts, the journal is full of misspellings and grammatical errors. I will need to decide soon if I should amend the spelling and punctuation of the published excerpt.

Yesterday (Saturday), I spent the morning at the Connecticut Historical Society, which holds a photocopy of the diary of Hannah Heaton and the journal of Nathan Cole. I intend to use excerpts from both texts for the evangelical reader. Both manuscripts have been published (Barbara Lacey's The World of Hannah Heaton and Michael Crawford's 1976 journal article, "The Spiritual Travels of Nathan Cole" in The William and Mary Quarterly), and so it was a matter of completing my own transcription from the original documents and then checking my work against the published accounts. Although I have read Crawford's published version of Nathan Cole's journal several times, it was a thrill to view the original journal composed in the middle of the eighteenth century. Cole's account of how he raced to Middletown, CT to hear George Whitefield preach is priceless.

I look forward to some sightseeing at Boston on Sunday before I look at two rare texts by Henry Alline at Harvard.

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