Decoding Handwritten Colonial Documents


Colonial Handwriting  

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Handwritten colonial documents provide a wealth of information. For colonists, the way a person wrote conveyed not only social status but also revealed one’s gender and occupation.


The goal of this game is to decode the explicit messages of handwritten documents. Through the game, you will learn to recognize some commonly confused letters. When you are done with this game return to the general Handwriting menu, and you can practice reading longer passages from colonial manuscripts and learn more about the implicit messages colonists were sending.


To practice identifying individual letters, begin the game and then drag the manuscript letters* on top of the print letters to which you believe they correspond. To see the answer to a single letter, hover your mouse over the letter and press SHIFT on your keyboard. To see the answers to all the letters click on SHOW ANSWERS at the top right of the screen. Click on the link below to begin!

*Manuscript letters used with permission from:
Reading early American handwriting, by Kip Sperry
Baltimore, Md. : Genealogical Pub. Co., c1998

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