Autograph Book, Page 11

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James M Bennett

Sep 4 1879

Come on, James. What the hell month is this? I think it’s September, but it looks like “Iee” or “Lee.”

The more of these pages I scan and transcribe, the more I tend to really appreciate the notes and comments. Finding names and dates might be exciting for genealogists, but they’re just so terribly dry. It’s like someone signing a receipt or bill.

I bet James M Bennett has at least a handful of good stories to tell. I want to know what the “M” stands for. I love the slight flourish he uses to finish out his last name, a swooping ligature that crosses both T’s and completes the signature like a man throwing a scarf across his shoulder.

There’s a lot more to James M Bennett than merely his name. I just wish we could see that more.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Actually, that looks like Dec to me.

    juliet Reply

    • I dunno… December seems a stretch to me. Honestly, the more I look at it, the less it looks like December or September (which really is also a stretch).

      Another reason why I like the longer notes – more words/letters to compare stuff to. Maybe I just need more practice.

      avoision Reply

  2. In for my annual stop by and noticed this post.

    First thought: I wish people still wrote in Copperplate. It’s quite beautiful.

    Second: I can offer a bit of perspective from my experience as an artist/consultant in court cases.

    I’ve learned from experts that in order to properly interpret handwriting, it is necessary to examine contemporaneous examples from the same culture. Assuming this is American and from the 1870 and 1880s, I found a table compiled from a census form from that time period at the following link:

    Check out the upper case D’s and then look at the upper case S’s. Now look at the very first name: “David” and compare it to the date on your find. To me, your example is a “D”.

    In the link, look for examples of the lower case ‘e’. Now look for examples of the lower case “c” Isolate them and compare: how many of hte e’s are closed? and how many of them lean over almost like a c? Can they be confused?

    I think the process of elimination leaves us with “Dec” as the likely date here.

    [ChrisFarley]Remember in Highlander when they took the letters of all these different signatures figured out the guy was immortal? ….. That was cool. [/ChrisFarley]

    Kent Reply

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