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5019 T Street, Little Rock, Arkansas...

Volume 16: Nina Wallnig (2009): 5019 T Street, Little Rock, Arkansas: Reconstructing the World of Nathan Jacob Rook

Heartland 16 / WVT 2009

ISBN 978-3-86821-117-7

€ 26,00 • $ 35,00

Analyzing personal letters and documents from the past provides valuable insights into bygone eras of history and sheds light on the life and living conditions of individuals during that time. From the viewpoint of translation studies research, these documents serve as valuable scientific research material, since they support the study of translation in its cultural context. The majority of the material obtained for this thesis consisted of documents from Nathan Jacob Rook, an optometrist who was born in 1908 in Seattle, Washington. Analyzing the content of these documents sheds light on the living and working conditions of Little Rock’s middle-class and on their changing socioeconomic environment. Genealogical research enabled the author to trace Nathan’s family history back over five generations and to gain insight into the lives of individuals during the time spanning from the American Revolutionary War to the Klondike Gold Rush. Additionally, a content analysis based on word frequencies was conducted in order to determine the most important concepts that influenced Nathan’s life in 1929.
A glossary is provided in order to familiarize the reader with important terms used throughout this project. In the appendix, the reader will find a transcription of Nathan’s diary and of each of the letters that make up this collection of his personal correspondence. In addition, all the documents were scanned and saved in an image database, which can be found at the end of this thesis.
195 pp., 64 fig., image database: 351 pictures

Table of Contents

1. The Personal Documents of Nathan Jacob Rook as a Corpus for Cultural Studies   5

2. Preliminary Steps 8
2.1 Classifying Material 8
2.1.1 Initial Classification 8
2.1.2 Specified Classification 9
2.1.3 Classification of the Documents of Correspondence 10
2.2 Creating an Image Database 12
2.3 Transcribing Documents 12
2.3.1 Manual Transcription 13
2.3.1.1 Deciphering Handwriting 13
2.3.1.2 Handwriting Examples from the Documents 14
2.3.1.3 Mrs. Annie Rook’s Handwriting 15
2.3.2 Semi-Automated Transcription 20
2.3.2.1 ABBYY FineReader 8.0 21

3. From Personal Documents to Genealogical Research 28
3.1 Ancestry 29
3.2 Types of Records 29
3.2.1 Federal Census Records 29
3.2.1.1 United States Federal Census Records 30
3.2.2 OneWorldTree 31
3.2.3 Vital Records 31
3.2.3.1 Social Security Death Index (SSDI) 31
3.2.4 Land and Military Records 32

4. Researching Nathan’s Family History 33
4.1 Initial Steps 33
4.2 The Rook Family Tree 36
4.3 The Nuclear Family of Nathan’s Great-Grandfather Benjamin Rook 37
4.4 The Nuclear Family of Nathan’s Grandfather Miles Philip Rook 40
4.5 The Nuclear Family of Nathan’s Father Joseph Silas Rook 45
4.6 Preliminary Analysis 49

5. Reconstructing Nathan Jacob Rook’s Biography 50
5.1 Nathan’s Biography: Part I 51
5.2 Nathan’s Biography: Part II 63

6. Exploring Nathan’s World 67
6.1 Content Analysis in Cultural Studies 67
6.2 Qualitative Versus Quantitative Content Analysis 68
6.3 Content Analysis of Nathan’s Diary 69
6.4 Type-Token-Ratio 69
6.5 Creating a Word Frequency List 70
6.6 Displaying Words in their Context 73
6.7 Analyzing Topics and Fields 74
6.7.1 Family 75
6.7.2 Work/Job 77
6.7.3 Towns and Cities 81
6.7.4 Leisure Activities 83
6.7.5 Dates 85
6.7.6 Friends/Social Network 87
6.7.7 Religion 88
6.8 Preliminary Findings 90

7. Nathan’s Little Rock at the Time of his Diary Entries 92
7.1 History of Little Rock 92
7.2 Little Rock from the Beginning of the Twentieth Century to the Beginning of the Great Depression 96

8. Nathan’s Life in its Historical Context 97
8.1 Little Rock’s New Urban Society and the Emergence of a New Middle Class 98
8.2 The New Urban Family 99
8.3 The Rook Family – From a Traditional Farming to a Modern Middle-Class Family 101

9. Conclusion 104

10. Glossary 105

11. Sources 123

12. Table of Figures 131

13. Appendix 135

 

 

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