Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sharpened Edges

A few of the letters I scanned yesterday had been written in pencil, which tends to fade over the years quicker than ink. I used a filter on my graphics program to "sharpen edges". (I use GraphicConverter for the Mac, but many different graphics programs have this function.) I didn't delete the original scan. That way - if I want to try other techniques to improve the legibility, I can start with the original image.

(Click to enlarge)

I couldn't fit both images on my screen at the same time, so I show you more of the sharpened half. Both images are at 50% size. At 100%, you can squint your way through most of the non-altered text, but there are still some bumpy spots. At 50%, the altered text is still difficult in a couple of places, but at 100% it is readable.

My great-grandmother, Margaret Van Every, is writing to her daughter, Minnie (a great-aunt).

Dear Daughter Minnie,

As I have a few minutes time I will write you [a] few lines. We are all well but have not found a location yet [although] we have bought 35 [colonies] of bees. I believe this is good honey country but there is so many bees here it is hard to find just what you want. Agnes and I are here in town waiting for daddy to go look…

The dateline says Phoenix. I believe they didn't find a location there. They had purchased land in El Paso in January of 1917, which is where most of the family lived. They had a farm in Fort Hancock, TX, just south of El Paso. They often had multiple farms, but Phoenix is a good 450 miles from El Paso, so it's not likely. Agnes is the daughter of Willa Van Every, who wrote the poem, Mother. Willa died in 1916, and in 1917 Agnes, age 10, had moved in with her grandparents.

I have always had a large fear of bees, and apiarist is one profession I would never have considered as an option.

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