Anthology Reflections

The semester is almost over, and with it comes the close of our anthology project and a very interesting semester in Pre-Colonial America. For our grand anthology project I honestly had no idea what I was going to research that first day in the library. So I started poking around the databases looking for any document that caught my eye, that’s when I stumbled upon “An Essay on Currency.” When I looked into this document it seemed perfect for our project. It was written in the perfect time period (1732) and in an almost college essay like format. The website said it was contained in the South Carolina Historical Society and I got excited. Examining the subject seemed like a great idea, the introduction of paper money into colonial America. There must have been loads written about that if it was a popular debate to have at the time…right? Well the disappointments in that area started almost as soon as we started researching in SCHS. When they pulled the essay it wasn’t anything cool, it was just the exact online document (normal type on computer paper) printed out and stapled in a folder. I was really hoping to see the original somehow, turns out I’d never find that.

Other than that though, researching in SCHS was fantastic. They had a ton of cool stuff in there that I would have never seen another way. It really felt like we were researchers all looking up our own stuff in this great repository of knowledge and information. Getting to use the microfilm machine and get help from the ladies that worked there was great, they were super helpful. But it seemed that no matter where I looked I couldn’t find anything else on currency from South Carolina. I found a ton of contextual material from other states and times. But the hunt for a second primary source was rough (I didn’t actually find one until tonight, when I’m writing this, thanks to some help from Professor Vander Zee). That added a lot of stress about this project for me, I knew several times that I was going to be late or incomplete with our little deadlines the last week, like the rough drafts. I didn’t even have a second source to write about, so obviously a draft couldn’t happen.

I don’t think this project was incredibly more difficult than stuff in other English classes though, and it was way more interesting. Getting to experience the trials and triumphs of real research was great. And with the source limit and odd writing style that is headnotes the workload wasn’t overwhelming. The beginning of the class was rather rough for me however, don’t think I’ll be the only one to admit that Puritan writing is really boring. The Indian tales were cool though. Overall, I did enjoy the class. And as the last English class I’ll take before earning my degree, it was an interesting and thoughtful angle on an English class that was unlike anything I’ve taken before.

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