Progress update, 29 March to 4 April 2014

By Tim Causer, on 4 April 2014

Welcome to the progress update for the period 29 March to 4 April 2014, during which time further fantastic progress has been made by Transcribe Bentham volunteers. 21,908 words of Bentham text were transcribed this week, along with a further 6,590 words of TEI XML.

7,465 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 96 on this time last week. 7,123 of these transcripts have now been locked, up 97 on the last progress update. This is phenomenal work on the part of transcribers: since Transcribe Bentham launched in September 2010, an average of 40 manuscripts have been worked on each week; since the start of 2014, this has increased to an average of 57 per week.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 92 794 10%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 149 290 51%
Box 15 18 914 2%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 34 4 398 1%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 4 418 1%
Box 41 70 528 12%
Box 42 56 910 6%
Box 50 158 198 76%
Box 51 371 940 39%
Box 62 55 565 10%
Box 70 295 350 84%
Box 71 663 663 100%
Box 72 612 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 100%
Box 79 199 199 100%
Box 95 122 147 82%
Box 96 530 539 98%
Box 97 74 296 25%
Box 98 216 499 43%
Box 100 182 422 41%
Box 107 463 538 86%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 497 864 57%
Box 117 219 853 25%
Box 118 55 880 6%
Box 119 67 990 6%
Box 121 119 526 21%
Box 122 280 717 38%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 95 972 9%
Box 169 139 728 19%
Add MSS 537 28 744 3%
Add MSS 538 59 858 6%
Add MSS 539 6 948 1%
Overall 7,465 21,451 34%

Volunteers have made some quite interesting finds among the British Library’s Bentham papers. These include love-letters between Bentham’s parents, Jeremiah and Alicia, in which Jeremiah writes:

Cou’d my Thoughts, as easily as they are conceiv’d, be committed
to paper, you my dearest Creature! who have so large a Share of ‘em, had need have
no other Employment than reading my Letters for they wod. furnish a Packet every
hour, & you wod daily receive Expresses by the Dozen; such possession have you
taken of my Mind that nothing can find admittance there but what some
way or other relates to your dearself; whether I am riding in my Coach
or walking in my Garden, wherever I am, or whatever I am doing,
I can never forbear thinking how much happier I shod be was I still
blessed with your sweet Company, & how forlorn I am for want of it:
while I was present with you Time bore me on his rapid Wing, so
swiftly did the delightful hours pass on, but no sooner was I gone from
you than that Wing became pinion’d & coud no longer fly, or was
rather chang’d into leaden Feet, so slowly do the Sluggish Minutes
now creep forward — such is the Difference caus’d by mighty Love!

Many thanks to Peter Hollis for transcribing that one. A list of these tender missives can be found on the index to Add MSS 33537.  It is interesting to note that Jeremiah’s mother did not approve of his marrying Alicia, whom she apparently thought was beneath her son’s social standing. Though Jeremiah chose love over money, he did not extend such sympathy to Jeremy when he fell in love with Polly Dunkley, and his disapproval was largely the cause for the ending of that relationship.

This week, we also say goodbye to our good friend and colleague, José Martin of the University of London Computer Centre, who is leaving to take up a new position. José was instrumental in implementing the upgraded transcription interface last year, and the ongoing success of the project. He has our very best wishes for the future, and we shall miss his presence at our project meetings!

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It is as warmly appreciated as ever.