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Historians have long studied written correspondence between individuals to gain insight into important moments throughout history. While what was written in these letters often provide important insight, the location where they were sent and received could be just as valuable.

Dr. Rosalind Beiler was recently involved in two projects that examined how correspondence networks among European Quakers, Mennonites and Pietists shaped early modern global migration patterns.

Digitizing the Pemberton Papers
In collaboration with Dr. Beiler, UCF alumna Casey Wolf worked as an intern to digitize two volumes of manuscript letters at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania belong to the Pemberton Family, prominent English Quakers in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The letters shed light on the evolution of communication networks in response to persecution and missionary work. Digitizing the correspondence was made possible through a Lapidus Digital Collections fellowship from the Omohundro Institute for American History and Culture to support collaborations between historical repositories and scholars.

Communication Networks and the Dynamics of Migration
Dr. Beiler also was a Visiting Professor at the University of Trier’s International Research Training Group “Diversity: Mediating Difference in Transcultural Spaces” from late June to early August. While there, she conducted research in archives at Speyer and Karlsruhe, Germany, for her book and digital project about religious dissenters and the way their communication networks shaped migration flows. She also explored some of the hidden physical spaces her historical subjects inhabited in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland.


Photo credit: Elam Stoltzfus