French Letter

I came across this French Letter in Theodore Roosevelt. It is 5 pages starting at the below, handwritten and is legible but I started to do it and found it a little beyond my French comprehension. Whoever would like to review it, it would be appreciated.


  • Dear Henry (Rosenberg),

    That's a pretty long text (and quite dense) -- and insofar as I have been working with "CROWD"/"By The People" recently, I have been concentrating on the Hannah Arendt campaign (and there seems to be some strange spelling in the text you provided a link to -- including "Blombay" (for "Bombay" -- now officially "Mumbai"(?)).

    I'll try to do some work with the text you mentioned over the weekend, but I'm not certain that I could review the whole thing within the next week.

    Best Wishes to you (and others who may read this post) in 2023.

    Ethan Kent/"EthanFromBellmore".

  • Thanks Ethan. Anything you or others can do would be appreciated. The issues you describe are why I decided to pass on the letter. Happy New Year to you and your family.


  • You're welcome, Henry (Rosenberg) ; Thanks for the New Year greetings  .

    I have submitted the 1st page of the text for Review again after my complete review and revision of it: not very much has been changed, or was "wrong" (at least 1 letter misread, 1 incorrect verb form, 1 word was transcribed twice in a row, and I substituted French "guillemet" quotation marks for the English-language quotation marks which were in the transcription; most of what I changed was (and the next reviewer may feel the desire to "correct" what I did) revising the accenting of some words from correct modern French practice to the idiosyncratic/odd (I'm not sure of the origins -- or even the identity of -- the text's writer: I think I can read the name, but haven't had much luck finding him via Google  ) use of accents as I see them in the text.

    (I do not know whether the author was educated primarily in French or not, although part of his name ("Pierret") looks "French"-enough to me; Google suggests to me that he may have lived in Belgium or Luxembourg, and not in France; in any case, some accents seem to point in different directions in the image than they "should" do in relatively-modern French -- and I have provided Tags for the "correct" accenting of these words.)

    So: I have done what I could do in transcribing what is in the text of that page, and the next reviewer probably "should" leave the transcription reflective of what was written (I left "Blombay" in, too) -- but I realize that readers of the transcription may wonder "Why are so many accents wrong?".

    "On the other hand" (as I have indicated) my major problem was more that there was so much text, the odd accenting, and paying attention to see where the few "mistakes" in transcription were to be found -- and not  that there were many outright "mistakes"/misreadings (and I think I found no place where a word was not already transcribed  .

    I have not yet gotten far through the 2nd page, but I have begun work on it.

    If anyone wishes to give me advice as to what to do about transcribing accents when (as here) they often seem to be "wrong" in the image -- but they were written that way, please reply (preferably in this "thread").

    Signing off again,

    Ethan Kent/"EthanFromBellmore".

  • PS: I also found at least 1 handwritten-in-"print"-style mostly-capital-letter words with lower-case "i"s in the page; I kept the lower-case "i"s in the transcription -- although this "looks odd", too. [Shrug.]

    (I would wish the final (I hope) Reviewer to keep this in mind, too.)


  • Hello.

    I will save a link and look at it in case the review has not been finished.

    Thank you

  • Dear Ms. Brunsdon:

    Nice to meet you here. (I suspect that I may have seen a username for you at "FromThe Page" -- where I am "LIFrancophone" (I'm not French myself, and I started to learn French in my home region of New York known as "Long Island") . )

    I have not worked on anything at "CROWD"/"By The People" in a while, and while I think I finished reviewing 1 page of the letter that Henry (Rosenberg) mentioned, I have by no means completed the review.  (So if you could complete review, Ms. Brunsdon (or "Myriam", if you prefer), look at what I have done with the 2nd page, and feel free to complete the review.)

    It is a pretty densely-packed text, and a bit difficult for me to decipher (on the other hand, the subject matter is interesting as a glimpse of one man's thinking about the condition of the world a few years before World War I (I think he was (judging by the outbreak and awful impact of World War I and of the later World War II, among other evidence) too optimistic about the stability of world peace, but I have the advantage of having been born long after the letter was written) ; the name of the signer is one of the more-difficult parts for me to decipher (and to learn the identity of with the help of Google) -- I [i]think[/i] that he [i]may[/i] have been an inhabitant of the "Walloon" (French-dominant) province of Luxembourg in Belgium in the late 19th century whose name has been given in a few published sources which I have found via Google Books -- possibly a "curé"/parish priest of that name (and I have found a published document referring to the effects of the German Invasion on the Provinces of Namur and Luxembourg in World War I referring to a Madame "Cyrille Pierret-Claude"); I believe that the signature in the letter (which I recall appears twice) is "Pierret-Cyrill".

    Hi to Henry (Rosenberg), Diane (Estes), to any Library of Congress staffer of staffers who will read this post, and Best Wishes to all others (including Ms. Brunsdon/Myriam) who will read this post.

    Ethan Kent/"EthanFromBellmore" (Bellmore is my hometown on Long Island) -- in New York City. [Smile.]

  • Hello Ethan Kent

    [Myriam is just perfect to use]. Thank you for your kind words.. I will have a further look.

    I am mbrunsdon on 'From the Page' and I did spot your username on the Baron de Vioménil's correspondence [they had me hooked at 'Rochambeau' on this one].

    You may find the Joseph Holt letters in French enjoyable, the writing is not too difficult and fairly clear. May be because it is a woman's writing.

    Taking parts in those transcription projects brings a huge joy to me and I am in such awe of your wonderful Library of Congress.

  • Thanks, Myriam.

    I have done a tiny bit of work with Joseph Holt (who also held other important US "Federal" government positions before the United States Civil War of he 1860s -- he was the head of the US Patents office and then Postmaster General (then a "cabinet" position, and quite important) in the late 1850s -- while he was receiving some of his French-language correspondence), but I have done more with Hannah Arendt's correspondence (the 1950s to 1970s (I was born in 1961) were much closer to my own life and interests than the 1850s were/are).


    As for the Baron de Vioménil, he seems to have been a relatively-important Frenchman (no only as a high-ranking officer among the French soldiers who aided the Continental Army toward the end of the Revolutionary War, but as a steadfast supporter of King Louis XVI ("Seize", in French) who died of wounds trying to defend the then-still-living King (and his family) when a mob attacked the Tuileries palace in 1792 (someone in France should digitize the man's papers from his life in France, I think)  -- who has no yet gotten an article about him posted to English-language Wikipedia.


    I hope that Library of Congress staffers have seen your kind words about the Library of Congress.

    Au revoir,

    Ethan Kent/"EthanFromBellmore" in New York Ciy.

  • I'm working on the Passport records of Hannah Arendt. There are records in German and French. If anyone want to help me (because I don't know much french), it will be nice.