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Anatomizing Hands and Anonymous Labor

 

The hand must have trembled. The regular dip of the capital J turned slightly, yet noticeably, to the left as if by some interruption. I had no idea what might have startled the writer, but my mind took to creatively filling the gaps. A mother of three, she must have been deprived of sleep by a particularly late night reading to the kids about the professional horse races she had loved as a child; startled by the sudden entrance of the Welsh bagman, her pen had slipped creating, for my post-millennial eyes, that lopsided enigmatic “J”.

In Search of Lost Names (and Numbers)

The task of transcribing order books from the Hogarth Press sounded straightforward enough to me. I typed out the first few rows of Vita Sackville-West’s All Passion Spent from left to right: date, cumulative total copies sold, markings (such as check marks), purchaser name, code / notes (such as LL), number of copies ordered, date order received, date order filled, and price (in pounds, shillings, and pence). I took time with these first few entries, making sure I captured every detail. As I continued, I became more curious about the materials I was working with.

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