Written on brown or light blue paper with brown ink, the 70 Butler family
letters are in remarkably good condition 150 years after they were written.
The letters have been transcribed as faithfully as possible without digitally
scanning in the originals, but they are not exact facsimile reproductions.
To conserve paper (we assume), no space was left between paragraphs, nor
were initial words indented. A new thought (paragraph) was indicated by
a line at the end of a sentence. Wherever there was a line we started
a new paragraph. Another paper saving method was to have many people add
to the letter (perhaps when they visited), before it was sent. The reader
will find a number of 'ps's" at the end of a letter, sometimes dated
indicating it was added after the original start date of the letter. The
letters have been typed in long columns to replicate the way they looked
Spelling and Punctuation
The original spelling and punctuation found in the Butler Family letters
has been preserved. Many spellings are phonetic, such as emigrance(emigrants),
croud(crowd), injoy(enjoy), butiful (beautiful); meaning can be ascertained
from the context. Many misspellings and conventions are familiar to those
who have read 19th century correspondence - the use
of f before s in words that have a double s, such as grafs(grass) and
necefsary (necessary). Sentences will run together and not necessarily
end with periods.
Ills and Ille stand for Illinois
OT stands for Oregon Territory
The letter dated January 15, 1860 contains 5 overlapping tracings of actual
apple sizes. Written within or near each apple is the variety name. No
other letter contains drawings.
Ownership & Attribution Statement
The Butler Family letters are the property of the Western Oregon University
Archives and may be reproduced without permission.
Statement of attribution
If citing the letters, please include "Electronic transcription of
Butler Family Letter dated ______ in the Butler Family Letters collection
in the Western Oregon University Archives, Monmouth, Oregon."
Kathleen Casey, Assistant at
the Western's University Archives, created the layout and organization
for the Butler family letters on the Web site and edited the final version
of the letters. Karen Head, formerly of the University Archives staff,
originally transcribed the letters to electronic format. The letters were
compared against an earlier typed transcription done by Mrs. Clares Powell
in 1976. Lotte Larsen, former Coordinator of Archives, researched and
wrote the biographical and historical sections. Roy Bennett, Coordinator
of Electronic Resources at Western Oregon University, provided valuable
advice and assistance for the entire project, especially with resolving