Profile: Samantha Simpson

Sam Simpson
Sam Simpson

Sam Simpson is a graduate (masters) student studying comparative history at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Originally from Pocatello, Idaho, Sam received her Bachelor’s Degree in History from Idaho State University in 2015.

Sam is an avid traveler and has always had a love for Irish history. She am currently finishing up her MA thesis which focuses on a comparative history of paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland and Kosovo during the twentieth century and hopes to continue her studies in a PhD program in Ireland.

Sam was one of our top 5 transcribers in May 2016 – check out our May 2016 Progress Update here.

I learned about the Letters of 1916 Project on Facebook when I was following along with the social media updates covering the commemoration for the 1916 Easter Rising earlier this year. I had the incredible opportunity to serve as a research assistant at Idaho State University under the supervision of Dr. Justin Dolan Stover where I aided in the transcription of handwritten primary source documents and records from the National Archives, Kew and the National Library of Ireland and when I saw that there was an opportunity to improve on my transcription skills through the Letters of 1916 project I knew I had to get involved.

P88/36/1, UCD Archives
image courtesy of University College Dublin Archives, P88/36/1

I’ve had some difficulty getting used to reading cursive handwriting and working to learn the writing style of each individual writer can be difficult. However, I think that getting to know the little penmanship quirks and habits of each writer is one of the best parts of being a transcriber. I usually try to choose letters at random that are part of a business correspondence or official documents.

Working on this project has made me realize that 1916 marked a time in Ireland where they were on the precipice of insurrection and also having to deal with a number of social and infrastructure issues. It has shown me many of the struggles that the Irish went through in order to establish a successful modern nation but more importantly how they persevered despite all the initial setbacks and created a legacy that has lasted into the modern age.

To stay up to date with Sam, check out her Facebook profile.

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