Adventures in Digital History

Alternate Means of Communication

One of the things I enjoy about this class is how we get to discuss historical topics that you rarely see in a traditional history course. This week we are discussing the use of Morse Code and the uses of the Telegraph during the Civil War. We had to read a few chapters from David Bates’ Lincoln in the Telegraph Office, which discusses the president’s relations with the telegraph and also provides an interesting look into the perspective of a man, Bates, who actually knew Lincoln during that time. We also had the chance to watch a few videos in Morse Code. One of these was a recording of a man who blinked the word “torture” to the camera while he lied to his captors. Both of these sources offer very different perspectives on early means of communication. It’s find it very interesting that each of these early types of communication are similar to a lot of the technologies we have today. Telegraph, while no longer used, is the root of most of our modern radio technologies. Morse Code is also phenomenal, because it can actually still be used today.

On another note, we are due to start our colorizing photographs project this week. I’m still not totally sure how we will do this. We are supposed to use pre-1890 photographs. Depending on the software we use, this will either be incredibly easy or extremely hard. However it turns out, I’m curious to see what we will discuss in class related to this!

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