Final Print Internship Post

Well this has been a crazy semester and I can’t believe it is basically over. I learned so much about being a historian but also about myself in general.

I learned that I love instructing and talking about history.  Some of the highlights were the UCF Celebrates the Arts presentation and the one on one consultations with some of Dr. Beiler’s students.  Of course, working with some of these historical sources was amazing and I really enjoy being able to learn so much about these individual’s lives hundreds of years after they lived.

Being able to be involved in digital humanities and contribute to the Linked Open Data, something that is so important, was humbling.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at first and was, honestly, really intimidated by it.  But the more I have worked with it, the more comfortable I am becoming and I plan to continue to work on it on a volunteer-base going forward.

I already sort of was aware about some flaws I have, but this internship brought to light areas of myself as an academic and historian where I can improve.  I really enjoy this subject and there is so little that we really know.  So I get lost in the Quaker meeting minutes and the letters and the other random primary sources I come across and sometimes lose track of the task at hand.  The tasks still are completed when they need to be and I accomplish tasks, but I need to work on getting lost in black holes of information.  It is beneficial to this project and Dr. Beiler didn’t regard this as something that worked against us, but I still feel that I can improve.  I’m also a bit of a perfectionist and I have learned that while studying history, there might not always be a complete package.

This week I met with the PRINT team like we always do and we discussed what projects we were working on and briefly discussed how we felt the UCF Celebrates the Arts event went.

I worked on biographies and the Linked Open Data for Phineas and Phoebe Pemberton, the patriarch and matriarch of our project, and am now moving on to work on the rest of the children. Israel will be relatively easy since there is a lot of information out there about him.  However Priscilla and Joseph might be difficult.  Priscilla is a woman and doesn’t have a lot of biographical information and Joseph died as a teenager.

On Thursday, I met with Dr. Beiler and we discussed my final evaluation.  She said that I worked well on the project and shared my above areas of improvement and we brainstormed ways to improve this.

I am very grateful for this opportunity.

Print Internship Week 13

This week I got to share my love of Abigail with the world.  And by the world I mean the two students who showed up for my presentation and Dr. French.

This week was the UCF Celebrates the Arts presentation that we have been preparing for the last couple weeks. On Tuesday we touched base one more time to make sure that we were all on the same page and ask any last questions that we may have had. Then we did our usual updates on where we were on our individual tasks for the projects and what we are doing going forward.  I realized that I was getting very hung up on finding primary sources and it was impeding my ability to work on them the way that I wanted to.  So I presented the plan to the team that the biographies would become more of a living document rather than a perfect biography with all primary sources cited from the meeting minutes.  Although the minutes are a wealth of resources and have everything that we need for the biographies somewhere in them, the databases that we have that we find on ancestry don’t exactly have a table of context and good index to be able to find exactly what’s needed. Dr. Beiler agreed with the plan of action and I’ll continue to research and transcribe documents to fill in the holes or confirm with primary sources.

On Wednesday, we did the UCF Celebrates the Arts.  I had a great group.  From the experience that I have had working with students and these letters, it takes a while to go through the letters, so I was only planning on doing a portion of the letter in the 45 minutes or so in our breakout rooms.  That was not the case with the wonderful people I had the pleasure of working with.  They blew through the letter so fast that we ended up pulling up a subsequent letter and transcribing that one as well.  Because they were doing so well we were able to stop in between sections so that I could explain the context of what Abigail was writing in more detail.  It was actually a really nice experience that I really enjoyed.

On Friday,  I met with Dr. Beiler and we discussed the progress about the biographies and the internship in general.  We then talked about the best way to record the dates with the differences in the Julian and Gregorian calendars because, for example, Phineas Pemberton was born in January of 1649 and died in March of 1701 according to the Quaker records but by new standards it is 1650 and 1702.  I’ll be using the new standards and making a note.  We then talked about grad school and the options that I have as I continue to move forward.

Next week is spring break but with the state of the world, I’ll probably just continue with research as normal.

Print Internship Week 12

This week I mostly worked on preparing for our presentation next week at UCF Celebrates the Arts.

On Tuesday our meeting was a little different.  We were joined by one of the organizers of UCF Celebrates the Arts.  They went over the generals about how the event would go and walked us through what each of our jobs entail.  We decided that Dr. Beiler will be doing the main presentation and while she does that, the presenters will be in the breakout rooms in zoom preparing for the attendees to enter.  From there we will do a short presentation about three minutes long and then will get in to transcribing the letter we have chosen.

After the meeting I worked on the small blurb about my letter to advertise it to the people who may be attending.  I highlighted the love triangle aspect of the letter: Abigail is stuck between her heart and society but she will not just settle to make others happy, she’d rather never marry.

Once I finished that, I worked on the powerpoint presentation.  Dr. Beiler sent us her talking points so we knew what the participants could expect to hear from her so we didn’t repeat ourselves.  I am quickly talking about Quaker marriage ideals/ societal marriage standards/ marriage protocols, a little bit of a background about Abigail’s life like how she helped with her father’s business/ her marriage prospects/ her independent streak, and I plant to quickly give some transcription tips as we go through the letter like thee/thou/thy/hath, etc.

Other than that, I am continuing my work on biographies and the linked open data.

Next week, I will be preparing and giving the presentation for UCF Celebrates the Arts and continuing my work on the biographies and Linked Open Data.

PRINT Internship Week 11

This week was mostly about Abigail again.

On Tuesday, we met again for the weekly meeting. We gave each other updates like we do every week and discussed the UCF Celebrates the Arts presentation we will be doing on April 7th. My presentation will be on love and relationships in Quaker society as seen through Abigail’s life.

Before the meetings, I transcribed the four letters we received from the Pennsylvania Historical Society last semester. I quickly gave them a read last semester, but I didn’t fully transcribe them. I have to say, transcriptions are a lot easier now than they used to be. The oldest letter is from December, 1702 and it is a great letter that demonstrates the relationships between siblings in the 18th century.  At this point, Abigail, Israel, and Priscilla were the only surviving members of the Pemberton children, having just lost the youngest brother, Robert that year.  Abigail is asking how Priscila is doing and hoping that Israel is doing well again.

The next letter is from March of 1703 and it is basically a shopping list to Israel.  So nothing too much to report there.

The next letter is from later on that same year in August and it is my favorite letter that I have ever read and transcribed from her. At the beginning, she is talking about a mystery Joseph who she is in love with.  She remarks that no one thinks that they are serious but he’s gone to the Quaker meeting in Rhode Island to receive a certificate of intention of marriage, which is essentially the 18th century Quaker equivalent of an engagement ring. She then talks about Jeremiah, who is Jeremiah Langhorne, the man who everyone thought she would marry but she apparently hasn’t heard anything from him or about him and clearly he doesn’t actually care about her no matter how great everyone thinks he is. She then says the most amazing line,

Deare [dear] brother [Israel Pemberton] I am not unseceble [unsensible] that I aught to wait for
counsel from the wise di [crossed out: illegible] rectter [director] of all things in this
[crossed out: illegible] great concernment which consists either of comfort and
happines [happiness] or discord and discontent which if the formar [former] I
shall accept of as a blessing bu but if the latter I pay god
I may never mary [marry]

This is just so amazing and completely demonstrates the kind of woman she was.  She wouldn’t settle for a loveless marriage just because it is what she should do or what everyone in the city thought she would do. She would rather be a spinster for the rest of her life.  This is incredibly impactful, even moreso when you think about how this happened over three hundred years ago and most people believe that women had no thoughts of their own and no say in their lives. This proves that that is completely incorrect.

The final letter I transcribed is from about a little over a year later when she writes to her brother basically, “hey, brother, do you think you can come home next month because, surprise! I’m getting married to a guy named Stephen and I’d like you to be there.” I have no idea what happened to Joseph or how the relationship progressed with Stephen to lead to marriage and she said that she’s been keeping quiet after Jeremiah made so much noise “for so little purpose.” I’m assuming this came about after she announced her engagement to Joseph the year prior.

Upon reading these letters, I decided to change the letter I will be presenting at the UCF celebrates the arts and instead will be working with the letter from August 1703. There is literally no better option to talk about love and relationships in this project.

Print Internship Week 10

This week I switched gears entirely away from transcriptions and am now focusing on the Linked Open Data and administrative work associated with it.

At the beginning of the week, I reached out to my connections at Swarthmore, which is a society of friends/ Quakers to ask about how we should properly cite sources that were originally from their organization but accessed by us through  He responded back extremely quickly and let us know that while the sources were originally from them, ancestry has changed their databases and filing and it would be too convoluted to attempt to access them both so we should just cite ancestry.

On Tuesday, the PRINT team met as we do every week to give an update on what we are working on and what we are planning to do going forward.  Although at this meeting we spent a lot of time talking about our upcoming presentation for UCF Celebrates the Arts.  We decided that Dr. Beiler will be doing a short presentation and giving a background on the quakers and the PRINT project and then we will separate in to four break out sessions.  Each of the break out sessions will be ran by a member of the PRINT team.  My break out session will be based on love and relationships and I will be talking about Abigail and one of her many loves as well as her relationship with her brother.  After a quick introduction, we will transcribe a letter together.  There are a couple options of letters for her.  The one that would work best would be one that we received from the Pennsylvania Historical Society last semester that is not yet in our database, but we’re deciding whether that would be a good option.

After my meeting, I worked on some protocols that Dr. Beiler asked me to do.  These are for linked open data, zotero, biographies, and where to find meeting minute information.  This is all so important to the project for my other colleagues since we all work on these at some point.  This will also be important for any future interns that may work on the linked open data since there is way too much for me to do on my own.

Going in to this next week, I will continue working on the Pemberton biographies and will transcribe the letters from the Pennsylvania Historical society about Abigail.  I will also work on my presentation for UCF celebrates the arts. I can talk about Abigail and her relationships so much, I need to make sure to be short and concise so that we can actually get to the important part of the presentation: the transcriptions.


PRINT Internship Week 9

This week was basically a lot of meetings.

At the beginning of the week, I worked on some research for the biographies that I am writing about the Pembertons and those associated with them in colonial Pennsylvania.  Really, the bread and butter of the PRINT project.  I was able to do Abigail’s biography and subsequently upload the information in to the linked open data that I am working with because much of that information actually overlaps.  After Abigail, I moved on to Phineas, the patriarch and ran in to one of the biggest issues facing historians: finding real primary sources to back up your statements and information.  For example, I spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday pouring through the primary sources that can be found on some genealogy sites looking for a birth record for him.  To say the least, it has been difficult.  Depending on where you look and how the person viewed the dates, it can range anywhere from 1649 to 1651. As a quick background for anyone reading who may not know, Quakers didn’t follow the Gregorian calendar like much of the western world and, depending on the time of the year, they can be off considering that their calendar year didn’t start until the end of March.  I am trying to do my best to make these biographies as accurate as possible but paywalls and sources in other states that are not yet digitized, definitely make the task difficult.

On Tuesday, I met with the PRINT team as we do every week.  We gave each other our usual updates but we also brainstormed about topics and titles for the presentation we will be doing during the UCF Art week at the beginning of April.

On Wednesday, I met with Dr. Beiler to go over my midterm evaluation.  When we started the semester, we met and discussed my two main roles of the internship: assisting the class with their transcription process and working on the biographies and linked open data.  Thus far, I’ve mostly been assisting the class.  This is something that we discussed in the meeting, that I was slightly disappointed that I was unable to work more with the Linked Open Data, which is not at all failing to meet expectations, but it is the exciting research I am looking forward to working with. Although, the transcriptions are completely finished for this class now and I will be able to move forward with the Linked Open Data work only.

On Thursday, I assisted Dr. Beiler and the other assistants with a transcription workshop for the class that I am not assigned to.  It was definitely fun to get back into transcribing a new letter that I haven’t looked at before.  These student picked letters to help with their assignments and many of them only have one transcription done by the PRINT team so it is still fresh and new.  I worked one on one with a student and helped them with any questions that they may have had.  I definitely have to say, working with these 300+ year old letters is definitely way easier than it was when I started working with PRINT.

Next week I will continue working on the biographies and linked open data.  Dr. Beiler and I decided that my goal for this semester is the immediate Pemberton family and to move beyond as I find information about other people, but to make them my priority since they are the main figures in our letters and the project as a whole.

Print Internship Week 8

This week I worked on assisting students and doing a little bit of research.

On Tuesday, I met with the Print team again as we do every week.  Like I’ve talked about before, I always love this time of the week because it is nice to touch base with ever.  This week after we updated, we brainstormed more about our presentation that we will be doing during the celebration of the arts week.  We were trying to figure out topics that corresponded with themes found in the letters that was actually interesting and could grab people’s attention.  We are leaning towards talking about gossip and/or love or sibling relationships. We went through our databases to see if we could find any letters that could have something to do with that and we were assigned to keep looking for the week.

After that Dr. Beiler sent me the draft blog posts from her students for me to read and give feedback on before she read them and we met to discuss.  This history degree is actually my second degree.  6 years ago I graduated from USF with a BA in Literary Studies and whoever said an English degree wasn’t useful is so wrong.  It was so useful this week to be able to use that to aid students in their writing whether it was just for grammar or suggestion on how to add more information for clarity or even just rearranging a sentence to make it read easier.  Not all of the students turned in their first draft so I may have more to work on going in to the next week if they turn it in.  This is a great experience in teaching and nice to be part of the peer review process.  I was able to take my knowledge about English and my experience and familiarity with the PRINT project and assist students which is something that made me very happy.

Barring the last minute submissions, I should be pretty much done with assisting with the class with their projects associated with the PRINT project.  This means I can continue to do research and help with the linked open data and biographies that will be used for the website eventually.  Dr. Beiler has made the biographies a priority at least for the Pemberton family, so I will be working on those coming up.  I did do some research this week for Israel Pemberton and Phineas Pemberton but since there were multiple Phineases and Israels, it is sometimes hard to discern who is who, especially when simply going through genealogy searches that confused them as well.  This is an interesting project that I am excited to begin solely focusing on as I go forward.

PRINT Internship Week 7

This week was about becoming a subject matter expert.

At the beginning of the week I finished my feedback on the second transcription and sent them back to all the students.  This was team feedback based on my meeting with Dr. Beiler last week.  While I do not assign grades, I do provide useful feedback to the students including sending them back an edited document that shows all the corrections when tracking changes are turned on.

On Tuesday, the PRINT team met for our weekly update. I always enjoy this time of the week because it is nice to talk about a project with like-minded individuals.  Not everyone is as much of a history buff as I am in my social circle and family. I didn’t have as much to update on since the previous meeting last Wednesday but since a few people weren’t at the previous meeting, I updated them with the work that I did with Phineas’ will.  At the end, Dr. Beiler told us about an awesome opportunity that has been presented to this project: to participate in the art week at the end of the semester and do a presentation or seminar on our work with transcriptions and digital history databases.  Dr. Beiler said that the organizer became extra interested when they heard about Abigail and all the work we’ve been doing with her.  And, I have to say, I was so excited and honored that I was a part of that.  After the research that I did about her last semester and the connections that I made about her life, I feel like I can talk about her for hours.  Which, in itself is a really great feeling as a budding historian: finding a subject that I’m passionate about, doing a ton of research, and discovering different aspects about the subject or, in this case, person.

On Tuesday afternoon I met with a student for a one on one consultation about their next big assignment in Dr. Beiler’s class which is a blog post about a topic having to do with the letters they are transcribing.  This student chose mercantilism and it was really interesting to be a sort of small subject matter expert.  I was able to point him in the direction of a few articles and letters that would be helpful and made a couple suggestions about an interesting direction he could take his post.

On Wednesday, I met with another student whose topic was women’s roles which is something that I am even more comfortable with and I was able to do the same.  I also was able to give them some background on the Pemberton family and Quakers in general during this time.

After this consultation, I met with Dr. Beiler to recap what I spoke to the students about so she was aware and we talked about how her class was doing overall, what she spoke to them about, and what I could expect when I start reading their first drafts of their blog posts due soon.  We also spoke about me doing an additional blog post or reflection on my whole experience with this internship to add to the website.

Next week I plan on doing some more linked open data research and working on some biographies for the website.

PRINT Internship: Week 6

This week was all about transcriptions, but in different ways.

To finish the project that I was working on last week, I finished transcribing Phineas Pemberton’s will.  It was really interesting to not only transcribe a document that is over three hundred years old, but a legal document.  It was full of a lot of “I desire and bequeath unto” XYZ. It was six pages of long, drawn out explanations from a man who had a lot and knew he was dying soon.  To make more sense of the legal jargon and so people on my team or anyone else who may look at it in the future, I broke it down in to a table separating it in to his wife (Alice) and his four children Israel, Joseph, Abigail, and Priscilla with miscellaneous notes under, like when he appointed money to the Quakers to use towards the school.

I also uploaded all these documents in to the group zotero account and added tags to create easier search results.  This will be helpful when I start writing the biographies.

Our usual Tuesday meeting was postponed to Wednesday this week and the team discussed what we had all individually worked on throughout the week and what we wanted to work on going forward.  We discussed the next steps with the classes. One of the classes has a large assignment coming up where they will be writing blog posts based on the letters and the letters that the students chose do not have masters.  So a priority going forward will be to work on those.

After that, I gave feedback on the second transcriptions for the class I assist with.  This was another taste in to what it was like to be a professor and provide feedback, which I love.  Once this was finished, I met with Dr. Beiler on Friday afternoon to discuss the feedback and how the students did over all.  With her approval, I will be sending the feedback back to the students over the weekend and in to next week.

At this meeting we also discussed overall how I feel I am doing with the internship and what my focus will be going forward in to the coming weeks.  Transcriptions, workshops about transcriptions, giving feedback about transcriptions, etc. has been taking up most of my time so far but there is only one more assignment that I will be giving feedback for and then my focus will be solely on the Linked Open Data part of the internship and writing the biographies for these historical figures, starting first with the Pembertons and then expanding outwards.  Since there are so many historical figures associated with this project, the Pembertons are the priority.

Next week is an off week from transcription assistance for the class, so I will be working on Linked Open Data and biographies and trying to find additional documents through ancestry and other similar websites.

Print Internship Week 5

This week was all about research.

Last week I spent a lot of time helping other students with their transcriptions and giving feedback. There was a break in that this week so I was able to work on some of the Linked Open Data content.

On Tuesday, I met with the PRINT team to discuss what we worked on the week before and what we plan on working on next.  I always love this time of the week because it really is a great team environment where we figure out how to help each other and give any insight, guidance, or just general support.  It is also nice to be able to interact with people during Covid when I pretty much only talk to my two-year old.  I relayed my action plan for the week– to look through the Quaker meeting minutes I found last semester in and just try and find mention of some of the historical figures we work with and research.  Dr. Beiler recommended starting with some meeting minutes and marriage records that she uploaded to the group zoterro account which jogged my memory of some other historical sources that I found last semester like the will of Phineas Pemberton, one of the patriarchs that we are researching.

From there I began working through these sources.  I found certain people that attended weddings and signed as witnesses.  Some background, Quakers didn’t have what we would consider traditional wedding ceremonies in a church in front of a clergy because they didn’t really believe in the clergy.  They would discuss their marriages at monthly meetings (the minutes of which I referenced above), receive a certificate of marriage, then they would go through a investigation to make sure that they were not married and a good fit. Then they would marry in front of friends, family, and respected members within the community.

At the time of writing this blog I am working on transcribing Phineas’s will.  He has an interesting script so it is a feat to tackle.

This week we offered the students workshops by appointment if they needed it because only one person showed up to the last one.  As far as I was told, no one reached out to meet with me, although they may have met with Dr. Beiler. Friday evening, the next set of transcriptions for Dr. Beiler’s class is due, so next week I will be going through and correcting and giving feedback.  That will most likely take up all my week and I figure there will probably be a meeting with Dr. Beiler as well to go over the corrections before I begin sending the students some feedback.

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