September 10th, 2011

bird in the sky

J J Pettigrew's travel diaries - digitized!

Yesterday, I visited the Pettigrew Family Papers collection at UNC's website. I was just curious to see if anything had changed since I last visited. I had ordered a digitization of two of J Johnston Pettigrew's travel diaries a few years ago. I remember my parents telling me about them when they arrived. I was sitting on metro, heading home for the evening. In an excited voice I asked if they could check the disc to make sure that the files worked. "Oh, they work", my parents told me. "Good luck deciphering the text, though!" I grinned brightly, eager to put my transcription skills to the test. If I could read 19th century sailor's signatures, then surely I could read Johnston Pettigrew's handwriting.

While I was scanning through the Pettigrew Papers yesterday, I noticed something new...there were links on the catalog numbers for those two diaries that I had ordered. They have made them available online! I was so pleased and excited that I think I lit up the room! I wanted to tell everyone in the vicinity about this wonderful discovery, but instead I sat with a big smile on my face, glad that no one was looking.

If you read through his travel diaries or his travel book, Notes on Spain and the Spaniards, you'll find the account sprinkled with funny little observations and jokes. I often find myself laughing at his remarks. At other times, I just sit in awe of the beautiful scenery he describes or in blank ignorance as he discusses foreign history, politics, and wars. It's so weird to think that he camped in the town where my grandmother lives just before the battle of Gettysburg commenced!