Diary 1862, part 3: Over the River and Through the Woods and Up to the Quarry and Over to Earlville

See part 1 and part 2 for background on Catharine Siglin’s 1862 diary.

From 1989 to 1994, I went to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. For the first year, I lived in Chicago, about fifteen minutes away from school via el train. After that, I lived in the western, and then the far western ’burbs. Whether by car or by commuter train, the trip was over an hour each way – a longer than average commute for the area at the time, but not wildly out of line.

Continue reading Diary 1862, part 3: Over the River and Through the Woods and Up to the Quarry and Over to Earlville

Diary 1862, Part 2: The writer’s identity

See part 1 of this story for the background on this family diary and why I questioned its authorship.

Whoever the writer is, it’s certainly not Catharine’s husband Amos, unless he’s in the habit of referring to himself in the third person.

Continue reading Diary 1862, Part 2: The writer’s identity

A Strange Object of Nostalgia

In the mid-1990s, I spent some time temping as a legal document coder. Those were the days when it was so expensive to scan and OCR documents that it was cheaper to hire armies of temps to read documents and type the names in those documents into a database optimized for searching names. One of the first such databases I learned how to use was the DOS version of Inmagic.

A number of libraries use Inmagic. When the product evolved into the Windows world, the manufacturers made the DOS version available for free, so that libraries with small or zero software budgets could use it.

I have a project where I thought it would be useful to get a quick idea of word frequencies in a text, including names. (More on this project shortly.) I wondered if the Inmagic freeware was still available. It is – click here. Kudos and thanks to its current owners, Lucidea.

It’s surprising how this interface takes me back to that time.