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Old 10-27-2014, 12:25 PM   #1
DougNH
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Default 'Views In The White Mountains' inscription mystery

I was wonder if anyone could help on my small mystery from a book in our area.

In 2012 I purchased ‘Views In The White Mountains’ one star edition by M. F. Sweetser 1879. Once it arrived I found an interesting inscription dated 1881 from a John W Robson. I have tried to figure out what it says but I have had no luck to date. I have sent the inscription to a number of people that specialize in language and this is the best to date.

What it is not: Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Indic/South Asian, Math equations. It is potentially Shorthand or Native American. A number of people that know shorthand say it is not anything they recognize. So the thought is it could be a portion of a syllabary developed for a Native American language as the location and time period noted on the document fits that time.

I did reach out to a Native American Education Consultant out West but they indicated there are upwards of 175 Native American Languages.

So I thought I would throw this out here to see if anyone has a guess or maybe knows someone that could take a look at it.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:24 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't help except I can rule out PigLatin.
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:01 PM   #3
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Default some mathematics notations?

Looks like the first character is a 'square root" symbol.

Of course, I am not very much edjamikated, so I need a kalqulader to add 2 plus 2.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougNH View Post
I was wonder if anyone could help on my small mystery from a book in our area.

In 2012 I purchased ‘Views In The White Mountains’ one star edition by M. F. Sweetser 1879. Once it arrived I found an interesting inscription dated 1881 from a John W Robson. I have tried to figure out what it says but I have had no luck to date. I have sent the inscription to a number of people that specialize in language and this is the best to date.

What it is not: Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Indic/South Asian, Math equations. It is potentially Shorthand or Native American. A number of people that know shorthand say it is not anything they recognize. So the thought is it could be a portion of a syllabary developed for a Native American language as the location and time period noted on the document fits that time.

I did reach out to a Native American Education Consultant out West but they indicated there are upwards of 175 Native American Languages.

So I thought I would throw this out here to see if anyone has a guess or maybe knows someone that could take a look at it.
Maybe this might help: Oskaloosa, Iowa was a town where Indian tribes got together. http://oskynews.org/?p=58596
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:49 PM   #5
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Sumerian.....
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:49 PM   #6
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Default The Newells

You might want to get in touch with this family in Laconia. A known authority on the Abanaki tribe. They are descendants.
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:59 PM   #7
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You might try checking with the folks out at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum - http://www.indianmuseum.org
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:40 AM   #8
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I would like to thank everyone for their suggestions.

bclaker, not sure how you made out the town from the poor resolution photo but nice job. I googled this area a year or so ago and that is how I ended up sending the info to a Native American Edu consultant at the Wyoming dept of edu. He was the one indicating there are 175 Native American Languages and he did not show much interest. I probably should have pursued this avenue further. Big thanks on the link and I will send the information to the contact address at the paper.

NHskier, excellent idea, thanks. I will contact them.

BroadHopper, I did a quick google on ‘laconia nh abanaki descendants’ and found some good info and contacts, thanks.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:41 AM   #9
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I would go with Occam's Razor here. This might just be English, and just bad handwriting. There seems to be hints of normal English script here and there in the body of it. I would go one step further and say a doctor. (If you have ever had to read a doctors notes). Best of luck with it.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
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Default Another option

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougNH View Post
I would like to thank everyone for their suggestions.

bclaker, not sure how you made out the town from the poor resolution photo but nice job. I googled this area a year or so ago and that is how I ended up sending the info to a Native American Edu consultant at the Wyoming dept of edu. He was the one indicating there are 175 Native American Languages and he did not show much interest. I probably should have pursued this avenue further. Big thanks on the link and I will send the information to the contact address at the paper.

NHskier, excellent idea, thanks. I will contact them.

BroadHopper, I did a quick google on ‘laconia nh abanaki descendants’ and found some good info and contacts, thanks.
Try the University of Wyoming and see if they have a Native American Studies dept.

Big surprise the government official wasn't interested in any research
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:49 PM   #11
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Default Pitman shorthand?

My wife used to use Pitman shorthand in her early years and thinks a lot of the symbols are Pitman or a variation of it. Mr. Isaac Pitman first published his shorthand language in 1837 so it fits the time period.

As an example, the second character to the left of the word Oskaloosa is the pitman symbol for money but connected to it on it's left is another symbol which we don't recognize. Perhaps someone more fluent in it could confirm.

Good luck!

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Old 10-28-2014, 08:17 PM   #12
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Perhaps a professor???...

Dates match up (Fall 1884) with ties to native americans.

http://books.google.com/books?id=ERB...n%20nh&f=false
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:01 PM   #13
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Default some other thoughts

Have been "lurking" on this site for many years - and this thread really caught my attention. I took the liberty to send a copy of your picture to a friend of mine, who has friends of many varied interests and careers... and this is what I got back.

"I'm quite confident that this is some type of shorthand, though I can't be more specific than that. I see a lot of postcards of this vintage written in shorthand when I'm rummaging around at stamp shows in search of Esperanto and Volapük. It's too early to be Gregg, the type of shorthand most commonly used in the 20th century, since that wasn't published until 1888. The most popular English shorthand system before Gregg was Pitman, but I'm too ignorant of shorthand to say whether this is Pitman or not. Then again, it could be a different type of shorthand entirely. The number of shorthand systems that have been created over the years is mind-boggling: Pitman's A History of Shorthand, 4th ed. (1918), shows 17 different systems published between 1850 and 1880 alone in its "Table of English Stenographic Alphabets," and Pitman's book doesn't even cover systems published in America, unless they were also published in the U.K.

It certainly doesn't look anything like any of the Native American syllabaries that I've ever seen (i.e. Cherokee, Cree, and various others derived from the latter)."

Hopefully this helps in some way. Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:10 PM   #14
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Default Hmmmm.....

Sloppy english, but some of it def looks like arabic to me. Just my opinion, but arabic, without the vowels, is what a few of those lines look like to me. I see some very distinct letters, alif.....ta.....but i see none of the vowels that should be there to make words, like kessrah, dumma and fatha......def a mystery!
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Old 10-30-2014, 12:37 PM   #15
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Thanks again for all the input. I sent out a couple emails to some of the contacts and I’m waiting on responses.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:28 PM   #16
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My mother used shorthand quite a bit and would add a word or two in longhand if she did not know the correct symbol. This looks very similar to her writing.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:30 PM   #17
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Default Early Shorthand

I took Gregg shorthand in college, and there are quite a few characters that seem to be the same as Gregg in this inscription. An earlier shorthand than Gregg, but I'd still bet that's what it is. Too many years ago though for me to remember what the characters mean!
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