Enabling boats to come up the Loire

Written in French on 21 June 1702 is the registration certificate of a company to enable boats to come up the Loire; Rouanne and Grenoble are among the destinations mentioned. I did not closely parse the document, which lives in the oversize box. (It’s one of two from this collection that have been there for a while; they were recently joined by six twentieth century documents, just-barely-oversized laboratory certifications.) The script is legible, though not ridiculously neat and consistent (letter sizes, for example, will vary); the openings of paragraphs are rendered in extravagantly large (but not crazily fiddly) letters. It’s bound with a blue-gray ribbon. Best of all, the pages (probably vellum, per a co-worker who’s seen it in older incarnations) are velvety soft.

Considerate penmanship

Baron Franz Xaver von Zach had very legible handwriting. A little loopy, with more-than-token dots above the “i”s…if he’d used circles, then we’d definitely be in girly* territory. So if you want to examine an astronomer’s correspondence and not go cross-eyed and/or crazy trying to decipher the script, you could do worse than the Baron. Knowledge of French would, of course, also be helpful.

* As in, the stereotypical handwriting of the stereotypical tween, giggling, note-passing† subset of the female of the species. Descriptive, not disparaging.

† Or, I suppose nowadays, texting. What is the texting equivalent of dotting an “i” with a circle? Is there an emoticon for that? I just don’t know. I will spell out all the words in my texts; for that matter, I’ll also use semi-colons.