3.701 early American e-texts? (41)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Sun, 5 Nov 89 17:15:51 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 701. Sunday, 5 Nov 1989.

Date: Sun, 5 Nov 89 12:34:27 EST
From: amsler@flash.bellcore.com (Robert A Amsler)
Subject: Call for pointers to old American machine-readable text

One thing that becomes apparent when one tries to check out
occurrences of words before a certain date is that there is
very little machine-readable text available for works before
the mid 1970s when the major on-line text services started their

I have the classic Brown corpus and have found a collection of Time
magazine text from 1963 (thanks to Bob Krovetz), which I am in the
process of cleaning up to add back upper/lowercase and some minimal
tagging to distinguish opening and closing quotations (they were both
coded as " rather than `` and '' and worst of all, all punctuation
was then separated by blanks from the preceding (or was it
following!) text it quoted), paragraphs, headings and datelines--but
it would seem much more text ought to be out there.

I am asking Humanists whether in their widely diverse contacts with
databases and files in history, literature, etc. they have come across
any works that contain American English text for any earlier periods.
For example, samples of diaries that might have been keyboarded
for projects in social science; copies of old historical records,
any text at all would be useful.

I do know about the Library of America and their works, and I've
heard of something called the Women Writers Project (but know of no

Most any text would do as long as it is North American and faithfully
represents the lexicon of the time period from which it dates.