photo: Mike Miller

Photo op! Me "hard at work" on a letter in about 2001. The binders next to and below the fax machine contain the 400-450 letters and letter fragments -- color-coded, numbered, and placed in mylar protectors -- written by Marie Ries and her mother between 1884 and 1888. Marie, seen with her future husband on the photograph to my right, was at the time working as a governess in the home of relatives, a German-Jewish merchant and banking family in Constantinople. Her mother, Regine, was in Pforzheim, Germany, where the family was involved in the jewelry trade. Marie emigrated to the United States in 1906.

In this photograph, I am dictating my translation with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. This allows me to use my hands to rove around the letter with the magnifier. Letters are propped up on my dictionary.