Sunday, 12 August 2012

Uncatalogued Samson Occom Letter at the New York Public Library

Here is some evidence that the Miscellaneous Personal Name File at the New York Public Library contains hidden treasure.

A few days ago, I began reading Joanna Brooks's The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan in order to write my introduction for Occom in my forthcoming book, Early Evangelicalism: A Reader.  Brooks has done a wonderful service for religious scholars by editing all of the known letters, journals, and publications of Occom. The book is extremely thorough and well organized.

I recalled that I had examined a letter in the Samson Occom file at the New York Public Library and so I got out my copy of the manuscript and attempted to read it. Because of the difficulty of the handwriting and quality of the copy, I decided to ease my burden by consulting Brooks's edited book in order to read her transcription of it. My copy of the letter, however, wasn't listed in her volume. It seems that this is a prime example of the potential hidden treasure that awaits scholars willing to mine the Personal Name File at the NYPL, a topic that I recently blogged about.

I have since contacted Dr. Brooks, asking her to review my introduction and excerpt on Occom. She seemed elated to learn of a new Occom letter.

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