1. Modelled after DB 799 in the Museum voor Communicatie's Brienne Collection with permission.

    This letter-packet actually contains two letters. First, a letter was sent from England and addressed to “Monsieur Charles Achman,” a valet to Count Adam Ludwig Lewenhaupt (1659–1715), a Swedish diplomat. The author believed Achman was living in Paris, but when the letter arrived there, his friend John Smith accepted it and wrote a short explanatory note stating that Achman and his employer had apparently moved on to The Hague. He wrapped this note around the first letter and addressed it to the Hague. Unfortunately, Smith was also mistaken; the postal employees noted Achman was “not in The Hague.” The second letter, which was wrapped around the first, is referred to as a letter wrapper.

    Smith wrote his note on the first leaf of a bifolium. To fold his letter, he took both of the fore-edge corners of the first leaf and folded them to align with the gutter edge, which results in a triangle shape on the first leaf that we refer to as a ‘triangle inside’. At this point, Smith took the letter for Achman, placed it (seal facing up) on top of his letter, and folded the protruding tip of the triangle over it. He continued to wrap his letter around the other by folding the bottom and top edges of the bifolium towards the center. He rolled the gutter edge of his letter-packet with Achman’s towards the fore-edge. This action left a small portion to fashion a flap; he folded in the corners of this, which created a trapezoid-shaped panel flap. He pulled it over the larger panel of the letter-packet and applied warm sealing wax to lock it. The enclosed letter for Achman remains unopened and sealed today.

    In 1926, a seventeenth-century trunk of letters was given to the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague, then as now the centre of government, politics, and trade in The Netherlands. The trunk belonged to some of the most active postmasters of the day, Simon de Brienne and Marie Germain, a couple at the heart of European communication networks.The chest contains an extraordinary archive: 2600 letters sent from all over Europe to this axis of communication, none of which were ever delivered. The letters are uncensored, unedited, and 600 of them even remain unopened. Our international and interdisciplinary team of researchers has now begun a process of preservation, digitization, transcription, editing, and identification of letterlocking categories and formats that will reveal its secrets for the first time—even, we hope, those of the unopened letters.

    The research team comprises Rebekah Ahrendt, Associate Professor, Department of Media and Cultural Studies, Utrecht University; Nadine Akkerman, lecturer in English at Leiden University; Jana Dambrogio, the Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator at MIT Libraries and co-general editor of Letterlocking.org and Dictionary of Letterlocking (DoLL); David van der Linden, the NWO Veni Fellow and Lecturer in History at the University of Groningen; Daniel Starza Smith, Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature (1500–1700), King’s College London, England, UK and co-general editor of Letterlocking.org and DoLL; and Koos Havelaar, curator of postal history at the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague.

    Produced by MIT Video Productions (MVP). Directed and demonstrated by Jana Dambrogio.

    Funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries.

    Special thanks Ayako Letizia, MIT Libraries Conservation Associate; Annie Dunn, former MIT student; Emily Hishta Cohen, MIT Libraries Intern and Graduate Student, The Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU; Barry Pugatch and Ramon, MVP staff; Mary Uthuppuru and Brien Beidler book conservators in private practice and associate editors of Letterlocking.org and DoLL; and Simone Felton.

    Cite as: Jana Dambrogio, et al. ‘Brienne Postal Archive: John Smith’s letter wrapper, France (1699)’, Letterlocking Instructional Videos. Filmed: September 2016. Duration: 4:49. Posted: October 2016. Video URL: [Use URL below]. Date accessed: [Date].

    Copyright 2016. Jana Dambrogio, Daniel Starza Smith and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T). All rights reserved. The following copyrighted material is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/. Contact the M.I.T. Technology Licensing Office for any other licensing inquiries.

    NB: Letterlock responsibly. Be mindful of open flames or hot tools in the workspace.

    @letterlocking
    letterlocking.org
    libraries.mit.edu/preserve
    brienne.org
    Follow our collaborators @misswalsingham @NWOHumanities @LeidenHum @dcvanderlinden @muscom_nl

    The URL link for this video: vimeo.com/letterlocking/triangleinside

    # vimeo.com/189342692 Uploaded 60 Plays 0 Comments
  2. Modelled after letter DB 1876 in the Museum voor Communicatie's Brienne Collection with permission.

    This letter is as poetic as it is tragic. The author, a man called Leendert Jansen van Muers, is a Dutch soldier writing to his wife back home in The Hague. He tells a sorrowful tale: he has been taken prisoner by the French on 29 July 1693, during the Battle of Neerwinden, one of the most famous encounters between the French army and Dutch-English forces during the Nine Years’ War (1688–1697). Leendert’s son Hans was fighting alongside him, but he doesn’t know what has happened to him – hopefully he’s made it safely back home to The Hague; Leendert is begging his wife to send him news. He’s having a hard time in captivity, beautifully capturing the sense of loss and displacement as he writes to his wife that “I wished with God’s help that I were with you again, because my heart is aching to be separated from you, in a country and under a people whose language I nor my fathers ever knew.” He was eventually forced to enlist in the French army for two years, and is hoping it will soon be peace again, allowing him to return home. He closes the letter by wishing his wife, kids and family “a hundred thousand good nights, and a happy new year”.

    In 1926, a seventeenth-century trunk of letters was given to the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague, then as now the centre of government, politics, and trade in The Netherlands. The trunk belonged to some of the most active postmasters of the day, Simon de Brienne and Marie Germain, a couple at the heart of European communication networks. The chest contains an extraordinary archive: 2600 "locked" letters sent from all over Europe to this axis of communication, none of which were ever delivered. In the seventeenth century, the recipient also paid postal and delivery charges. But if the addressee was deceased, absent, or uninterested, no fees could be collected. Postmasters usually destroyed such “dead letters”, but the Briennes preserved them, hoping that someone would retrieve the letters—and pay the postage. Hence the nickname for the trunk: “the piggy bank” (spaarpotje). The trunk freezes a moment in history, allowing us to glimpse the early modern world as it went about its daily business. The letters are uncensored, unedited, and 600 of them even remain unopened. The archive itself has remained virtually untouched by historians until it was recently rediscovered. Our international and interdisciplinary team of researchers has now begun a process of preservation, digitization, transcription, editing, and identification of letterlocking categories and formats that will reveal its secrets for the first time—even, we hope, those of the unopened letters.

    The research team comprises Rebekah Ahrendt, Associate Professor, Department of Media and Cultural Studies, Utrecht University; Nadine Akkerman, lecturer in English at Leiden University; Jana Dambrogio, Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator at MIT Libraries; David van der Linden, the NWO Veni Fellow and Lecturer in History at the University of Groningen; Daniel Starza Smith, Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature (1500–1700), King’s College London, England, UK; and Koos Havelaar, curator of postal history at the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague.

    Produced by MIT Video Productions (MVP). Directed by Jana Dambrogio.

    Funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries.

    Special thanks to Ayako Letizia, MIT Libraries Conservation Associate; Barry Pugatch, MVP staff; Barbara Seidl, MVP staff; Camille Dekeyser, rare book and manuscript conservator; Thomas F. Peterson; and the late Simone Felton.

    Cite as: Jana Dambrogio, et al. ‘Brienne Postal Archive: "I wish you 100,000 good nights,...", diamond letter (1694)’, Letterlocking Instructional Videos. Filmed: December 2015. Duration: 2:25. Posted: Aprl 2016. Video URL: [Use URL below]. Date accessed: [Date].

    Copyright 2016. Jana Dambrogio, Daniel Starza Smith and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T). All rights reserved. The following copyrighted material is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/. Contact the M.I.T. Technology Licensing Office for any other licensing inquiries.

    @letterlocking
    letterlocking.org
    libraries.mit.edu/preserve
    brienne.org
    Follow our collaborators @misswalsingham @NWOHumanities @MITLibraries @LeidenHum

    The URL for this video: vimeo.com/letterlocking/diamond2

    # vimeo.com/189352737 Uploaded 725 Plays 0 Comments
  3. Modelled after the Museum voor Communicatie's Brienne Collection, DB 833 with permission.

    This is an example of hate mail. The anonymous author wrote to Mr. Suijthof in The Hague that “I never thought you’d be such a miserable dog by always talking behind my back. If you’ve got something to say, just say it to my face.” Suithoff may well have suspected that he was in for a nasty surprise, because he did not accept the letter – on the back of the letter the postal employees noted in Dutch “niet hebben” (refused). The author took the time to fold his letter into a complicated diamond-shaped letter-packet and secured it by folding, tucking, and sealing.

    In 1926, a seventeenth-century trunk of letters was given to the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague, then as now the centre of government, politics, and trade in The Netherlands. The trunk belonged to some of the most active postmasters of the day, Simon de Brienne and Marie Germain, a couple at the heart of European communication networks. The chest contains an extraordinary archive: 2600 "locked" letters sent from all over Europe to this axis of communication, none of which were ever delivered. In the seventeenth century, the recipient also paid postal and delivery charges. But if the addressee was deceased, absent, or uninterested, no fees could be collected. Postmasters usually destroyed such “dead letters”, but the Briennes preserved them, hoping that someone would retrieve the letters—and pay the postage. Hence the nickname for the trunk: “the piggy bank” (spaarpotje). The trunk freezes a moment in history, allowing us to glimpse the early modern world as it went about its daily business. The letters are uncensored, unedited, and 600 of them even remain unopened. The archive itself has remained virtually untouched by historians until it was recently rediscovered. Our international and interdisciplinary team of researchers has now begun a process of preservation, digitization, transcription, editing, and identification of letterlocking categories and formats that will reveal its secrets for the first time—even, we hope, those of the unopened letters.

    The research team comprises Rebekah Ahrendt, Associate Professor, Department of Media and Cultural Studies, Utrecht University; Nadine Akkerman, lecturer in English at Leiden University; Jana Dambrogio, the Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator at MIT Libraries and co-general editor of Letterlocking.org and Dictionary of Letterlocking (DoLL); David van der Linden, the NWO Veni Fellow and Lecturer in History at the University of Groningen; Daniel Starza Smith, Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature (1500–1700), King’s College London, England, UK and co-general editor of Letterlocking.org and Dictionary of Letterlocking (DoLL); and Koos Havelaar, curator of postal history at the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague.

    Produced by MIT Video Productions (MVP). Directed by Jana Dambrogio, Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator, MIT Libraries.

    Special thanks to Camille Dekeyser, MIT Libraries intern who demonstrated this technique; Barry Pugatch and Barbara Seidl, MVP staff; Ayako Letizia, MIT Libraries Conservation Associate; Thomas F. Peterson, and Simone Felton.

    Funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries.

    Cite as: Jana Dambrogio, et al. ‘ Hate Mail?: A Diamond-shaped letter in the Brienne Postal Archive’, Letterlocking Instructional Videos. Filmed: December 2015. Duration: 2:55. Posted: April 2016. Video URL: [Use URL below]. Date accessed: [Date].

    Copyright 2016. Jana Dambrogio, Daniel Starza Smith and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T). All rights reserved. The following copyrighted material is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/. Contact the M.I.T. Technology Licensing Office for any other licensing inquiries.

    NB: Letterlock responsibly. Be mindful of open flames or hot tools in the workspace.

    @letterlocking
    letterlocking.org
    libraries.mit.edu/preserve
    brienne.org
    Follow our collaborators @misswalsingham @NWOHumanities @MITLIbraries @LeidenHum @dcvanderlinden @muscom_nl

    The URL link for this video: vimeo.com/letterlocking/diamond2

    # vimeo.com/189396772 Uploaded 231 Plays 0 Comments

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