Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Smith College Shorthand Transcriptions Now Available

Transcribed into this downloadable Excel file (click the blue "Download" button when you get there) are Aurelia Plath's shorthand annotations on the Sylvia Plath papers in Smith College's Mortimer Rare Book Collection. Mrs. Plath donated her portion of this collection to Smith in December 1983. At that time Mrs. Plath was moving out of her house in Wellesley to an apartment in a brand-new retirement community called North Hill in Needham, Mass.

Compared with the wealth of shorthand annotations at the Lilly Library, those at Smith are few. I scoured the collection for shorthand and am pretty sure I captured what there is. Mrs. Plath wrote most of her annotations in longhand, but her most emphatic comments -- those she didn't want family members to read -- she wrote in shorthand. My favorite find: At the end of a typescript of the story "Among the Bumblebees," Aurelia wrote, "realistic."