In September, 2008, we donated all of Michael and Edward Braun’s papers to the John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
Included in the collection were: two work visas, which I previously thought were passports, for Michael and his wife, Adelaide, several legal papers in French, probably sales contracts, one of Edward’s stock certificates, and letters from the stock broker about the mining company. We also gave them a letter which a friend tried to translate, a letter written in ornate, spidery French handwriting, which seemed to be addressed to an official of the forest service and described an incident involving a dog attack in the forest. How incredible to think that when Michael wrote this letter in the 1840’s, he could hardly imagine that it would survive so many decades and will someday, like the rest of the collection, be posted on the internet.
The archivist from the History Center corresponded with me recently about their progress in the translations. Here’s what he said, in part:
We’ve been working on the collection since the time of arrival of the material to the Heinz History Center. I currently have two assistants working on it. One person, a former French teacher, is transcribing each document. Each document has been reviewed and I believe that 50% plus has been transcribed. He is now working on the sample booklet and he is currently in communication with an archivist in France. He’s not a textile expert and he doesn’t quite understand the patterns. The other person working on the collection, a professional genealogist is working on the family tree and she is attempting to verify dates and names in regards to the materials present in the collection, i.e. she is going to show that everything makes historic sense according to census data and what can be found in the collection. She is also searching for information on your family in regards to what they were doing after the dates of materials present in the collection; therefore we may be asking you for more information, that is if you have it? I think that all three of us have been engrossed in the project and therefore we are interested to know more! The three of us meet or at least discuss the project each and every week.
When all the materials have been translated, it will be posted on the History Center website in the archives as the Michael and Edward Braun Collection.