I wanted to write a post reflecting on my recent visit to the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem. However, I was unsure what exactly to write about in such a post. One part of me wanted to write an excited and rambling post about all of the cool things that I had a chance to look at during my visit. Another part of me wanted to write about some of the answers that I found since writing my original post on the plaque on Bethlehem’s Old Chapel. However, part of me didn’t want to write anything, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I’d like to eventually publish a piece about the Old Chapel’s plaque and the girls’ boarding school in Bethlehem.
Of course, that need to publish is important, especially for an early career scholar like me. However, I’m unsure about how to balance that publication need with writing about my research in progress in a personal blog. I think sharing one’s work is very important for many reasons. First, it gives a public face to the work that we do. Second, writing in a blog provides an opportunity to write publicly and safely experiment with form and voice. Third, and more personally, I do my best thinking when I can think over a topic by writing. I have to think long and hard about my ideas, and I obtain the best results by writing about them and then thinking about them some more.
All that being said, my plan is to formally write up the results of my work. I do have a venue in mind, one that is online, open-access, and also peer-reviewed. My current project would fit well with that venue, I think, and, it also provides a public face to scholarship in an innovative forum, which I believe is not only valuable, but important, too.
Note: I did write a substantially longer post about what I found in the archives. In light of the above issues, I’ll provide the tl;dr version.
1. Tom McCullough, the assistant archivist at the Moravian Archives was beyond helpful. He took the time to translate an important passage for me. He didn’t have to do that. You can read a profile of him here.
2. Yes, I saw awesome stuff.
3. Yes, there is an archival record of the event at the Old Chapel.
4. Yes, there is a world of poetry beyond the event at the Old Chapel worth exploring in relation to the Female Seminary.
5. Yes, there is a world of poetry worth exploring beyond the Seminary and it includes the boys’ school in Nazareth (with their several boxes of poetry) and in the larger community in Moravian Bethlehem (with their several boxes of poetry).
7. German Script
8. I need to get better at #6 and learn to read #7
9. I have thoughts on my relationship to the digital humanities
10. I’d rather devote my time to #8 and not the digital humanities*
*Sort of. I’ll write more in a follow up post.
I might get into some more specifics of my visit to the archives, but for now I’m going to hold back and see where my research takes me.