2019 Graduate, History (Distinguished Major) and Environmental Science majors, JUEL:
Jefferson’s University – The Early Life Project 1819-1870
I ultimately want to work in public administration, so of course I’m an advocate for public accessibility to information and data held by public institutions. My internship with JUEL gave me a chance to do exactly that, while also learning digitization skills. Sponsored by the Jefferson Trust and housed within the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), JUEL offers historians and the public a digital humanities archive and website about the early history of the University of Virginia. The JUEL team trained me to use Oxygen XML Editor software, and over the course of my internship I completed XML markup of 150 letters written by the families of former UVA professors. I also got to publish three essays on the JUEL website, based on my primary research in the UVA archives. The essays on the website oscillate between lighthearted and serious, and I wrote some of each: one about the experiences of enslaved laborers at the university during the Civil War; another about marriage during the war; and a third that was a bit more eccentric. While doing markup I came across a letter in which the author, a Confederate soldier, told his cousin that he repaired his broken fingernails and toenails with glue. That inspired “Spalding’s Glue: ‘Useful in Every House’ – and Every Confederate Campground?” Investigating the untold stories of people at the University deepened my appreciation for this history. I also gained an understanding of the technical side of digital humanities. Both skills will be applicable to any work I do in the future. And I had fun!