Signed, Sealed, and Undelivered
A collaborative international project with Nadine Akkerman (Leiden), Rebekah Ahrendt (Utrecht),
Daniel Starza Smith (King's College, London) & Jana Dambrogio (MIT Libraries).
For more information and upcoming events, please
visit the project website www.brienne.org.
In 1926, a seventeenth-century trunk of letters was bequeathed to the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague. It belonged to one of the most active postmasters of the day, Simon de Brienne, and contains an extraordinary archive: 2600 letters sent from all over Europe to this axis of communication, none of which were ever delivered. The trunk freezes a moment in history, allowing us to glimpse the early modern world as it went about its daily business. The letters are uncensored, unedited, and 600 of them even remain unopened. The archive itself has remained virtually untouched by historians until it was recently rediscovered. Our international and interdisciplinary team of researchers has now begun a process of digitization, preservation, transcription, and editing that will reveal its secrets for the first time – even, we hope, those of the unopened letters.