Historic Letterlocking: The Art and Secrecy of Letterwriting

Posted April 4th, 2014 by Jana Dambrogio

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Would you like to have your very own “locked letter”? One that’s based on a historic manuscript letter folding format used by Elizabeth I, Queen of England? If so, plan on attending our talks on “The Art and Science of Document Security: Past, Present, and Future” on April 29th. Each attendee will receive their very own locked letter with a secret message. This event kicks off Preservation Week at MIT, April 29-May 1, 2014.

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Historic letterlocking refers to any movable object (such as paper, parchment, or papyrus) that has been written on, folded, and secured shut to function as its own envelope. The tradition dates back 4,000 years in Western and Mediterranean cultures. Documenting the physical details of well-preserved original manuscripts has helped to define the different locking formats with their multiple levels of built-in security and their various authentication devices. In some instances the letters employ anti-tamper and authentication devices that enhance the format protection.

All events are free and no registration is required.

 

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