Migrant Connections

Transcription Challenge: Who Was Friedrich Wilhelm Hess?

Washington, D.C., August 11, 2020

• Washington, August 11, 2020 •

We have added another transcription challenge to our website: "Who Was Friedrich Wilhelm Hess?" In this challenge, we're inviting volunteer transcribers to help us transcribe letters sent to doctor and author Friedrich Wilhelm Hess by his family. In the 1850s, Hess, who was born Wilhelm Hassel, arrived in the United States and for unknown reasons took on a new name upon arrival. Is it possible that the letters his family sent him might shed light on the circumstances that caused him to leave Germany and how his absence affected his family members?

Hess’s papers are now part of the Rattermann Collection of German-American Correspondence held by the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections at the University of Illinois Library. If you are experienced in transcribing Kurrentschrift and would like to help us learn more about this collection, sign up for an account here!

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Photograph enclosed with a letter of May 10, 1872 from Emilie Hassel and Marianne Rappard Hassel (Hess’s sister and mother)
Map of the locations of the Hess/Hassel family letters.



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