About

People, Religion, Information Networks, and Travel seeks to visualize and make accessible the connections between Anabaptists, Quakers, and Pietists – all religious minorities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – by providing access to manuscript correspondence through network visualizations. Drawing on roughly 3,000 letters written between 1630 and 1730, PRINT will bring together manuscripts from repositories in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

Concept

PRINT aims to make accessible the letters of religious refugees and missionaries - ordinary early modern people - by creating a portal where users discover the religious, social, and economic connections between correspondents and visualize their movements. The project is building partnerships with archives who hold the original documents and with citizen scholars to digitize, transcribe, and translate the correspondence. When complete, PRINT will allow researchers to visualize different networks and then read the original sources behind the visualization to hear the voices of ordinary people in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Our goals are to:

    Visualize the constantly shifting communication networks that emerge from the letters to better understand how the connections between and across religious groups shaped migration flows in the period.
  • Create a digital collection of crowd-sourced transcriptions and translations of the letters to make the content more easily accessible.
  • Harness the power of the Zooniverse platform for crowdsourcing the transcriptions and translation.
  • Develop open-source tools to connect seamlessly the network visualizations and the correspondence database.
  • Make PRINT a (de)centralized repository of historical information for researchers and the general public.

We have created a prototype visualization of communication lines displayed on a period map.

Timeline

With generous funding from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, we have digitized a collection of letters belonging to the Pemberton Papers housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. We are currently creating a prototype of the database and interactive map that we hope to make available in mid-2023.

How to Contribute

During the early phase of the project, the full database is not yet public. However, a small research team is working to build partnerships with institutions and individuals to contribute and transcribe correspondence. If you are interested in working with us, please contact us.

Acknowledgements

PRINT has been generously supported by the following entities: