Fort event explores history of correspondence

first_img o What: “Written Word” activities and exhibit. Free.o Where: Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 Evergreen Blvd.o When: Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. (Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)If you could send only one letter home a year, what would you tell your family?That is one of the questions — and opportunities — on tap Sunday at an exploration of 180 years of the written word at Fort Vancouver.“It’s a neat topic to look at through time,” said Cassie Anderson, park ranger at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. “Through most of history, most people couldn’t write. In our park history, we see that.”When the Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Vancouver as its regional headquarters, “The upper-tier folks were literate. You can watch that change through the decades,” said Anderson, the site’s historic programs coordinator.Examples of the spread of literacy will be part of the event, along with historical re-enactments and hands-on activities for families.The event will be from noon to 3 p.m. at the Visitor Center, 1501 Evergreen Blvd., across the street from the east end of Officers Row.“We have original Hudson’s Bay letters in our collection, and they will be on exhibit Sunday,” Anderson said.One eye-catching example of 180-year-old correspondence came from John McLoughlin Jr., son of Fort Vancouver’s chief factor. It’s done in a style called cross-writing. After filling the page, he turned the paper 90 degrees and wrote at a right angle to the earlier lines.“It’s hard to read; you have to try to make the eye focus on the right lines,” Anderson said.It’s possible that John Jr. wrote that way to save paper.“Paper was scarce, and the letter was folded into its own envelope,” she said. “They didn’t want to use another piece of paper for an envelope.” John McLoughlin Jr. used “cross-writing” in penning this letter from Paris in 1832.last_img