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  • Writer's pictureFlea Market Love Letters

Crack the Handwriting Code!

In almost 5 years of running the Flea Market Love Letters archive it appears I have developed a superpower: being able to decipher most handwriting! That got me thinking...I thought I'd pull together three examples of handwriting (not yet featured on the archive, so no tricks there!) and give readers the chance at some of the fun.

Want to play? Take a look at the samples below and scroll down to the very bottom for the "answers" of this transcription game!

A. 1863.

B. 1917.

C. 1932.


As you'll see, if I've had to take a guess at any of the words I've dropped them into italics. And in some cases, the old reliable "[unreadable]". I'm excited to hear how you faired!

A. 1863.

Is this one the hardest of the three? Very, very likely! I found the upside down conclusion of this letter jotted at the top, overlapping the introduction nearly impossible to transcribe. Read on for my stab at what I think this beautifully ornate letter relates:

"Dear Sister You wished me to write how mother is she said she is better of her cough and that for the nights she had not coughed any to signify she thought the medicine has helped her she said she shall take it longer. I'll write what Margarette told me before I forget. She said she was well pleased if Mother was only as much pleased. I told her she was. She wished to know if Johannak has had any word from Mary Murphy about her sister. Did she get a letter her? Margarette has slept in the bedroom with mother in the other bed since it has been so gold. If you get a dress for one suppose you send that posterboard with it. The one back of the old painting that was Pris Mas cent it is four even strips lengthwais for your fraim I'll find muslin. I have been thinking some of taking my glass for the picture but it is too large for it it would not look so well to have the glass run as far under the posterboard as so large a frame for it ought to be tacked down each side so as it would not looking suffing. I have not seem the girls but little since you let. I aaw them at meeting yesterday. I don't what Prisselle got new in P. The Johnny Uncle said he'll put in pepper mints [unreadable]."

B. 1917.

Prim and proper handwriting here is certainly less elaborate than the first letter! Did your transcription look anything like mine? Let me know!

"My Dear Mrs Rosecraut -- Grandmother has just told me that you called on her one day last week, and she told you that she could not talk to you. I am sorry that I was not here, or some one who would give you a friendly welcome. As we have enjoyed your friendship many years, and Lilly counted you as one of her dearest friends. The fact is grandmother has had a nervous breakdown, and the Doctor says her heart is very weak and must be kept very quiet. That she couldn't be cured, and that the end may come at any time. Hoping you will accept this explanation and that you will not feel unfriendly toward grandmother. I remain your friend. T.H. Bruster ( 34 Mornst St.)

C. 1932.

This is probably the most familiar style of handwriting to readers of the archive.

" Dear Mom and Dad: Oh what a wonderful time I am having and you ought to see my sun burn its awful red. I wish you and dad and the rest of the family were down here to enjoy it. I sure do miss you. Emily is teaching me how to swim, the water sure is fine. And since I have been down here I have a big appetite. Emily and I are going to see as you desire me at the theatre down here. Mom could you or dad slop some change in the letter you send me? If you can't its alright. Please write too me soon and tell me how you are. I am sitting at the dining room, table, with olive oil on my sunburn, and I have on an old apron of Mrs. Cocadens, while I am writing this letter. So please excuse the handwriting as my arms hurt. Well I guess that's about all. Love and Regards to you and Dad and the family. Hoping to hear from you soon. I remain yours always, Jeanie"

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