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LVC Students Present Newly Translated Historical Artifacts
04.25.12 |
Lebanon Valley College Department of Languages students have spent the past semester decoding historical letters and documents as part of the course “Readings in German,” with Rick Chamberlin, associate professor of German and French. The students will present the newly translated articles Sunday, April 29 at 1:30 p.m. at the Lebanon County Historical Society, 924 Cumberland St., Lebanon.

The historical documents are part of the Historical Society’s archives, and because of the language barrier and the difficulty in reading older German script, these letters, broadsides, and other records of German-speaking forbears have remained in-accessible to the wider public. For the first time in decades, a selection of the most remarkable of these unique artifacts of Lebanon County history will be presented and discussed.

The documents include a 1768 letter from Christopher Saur, an important early American printer and rival to Benjamin Franklin, to Jacob Karch, Lebanon’s first bookbinder and postmaster; broadsides delivering lurid cautionary tales of early Pennsylvania criminals and the punishments they received; and personal letters and local newspapers detailing the everyday life of a bygone age. Click here to view one of the documents.

According to a Historical Society representative, the “students have employed their language skills to conduct painstaking research into these documents, deciphering and transcribing from German, in order to recover and preserve for all of us some of the hidden bounties of our rich German heritage.”

The LVC student translators include Laura Blankenhorn, Lauren Dubransky, Iain Ferguson, Brittany Flood, Ty Fosnacht, James Hartman, Patty Keefer, Susan Menges, and Abigail Skelton.

Sunday’s presentation is free and open to the public, but donations to the society are welcome.

The Department of Languages at LVC offers majors in French, German, and Spanish, and secondary teacher certification in French, German, and Spanish; Italian and Sanskrit at the elementary level; as well as minors in the three languages. In today's rapidly changing global marketplace, a language is a valuable asset. The department's goal is not only to prepare students for a career, but also for an intellectually rewarding life.

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