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Jump Back in Time 殖民时期的美国  (1492-1763)
 
Photo of a handwritten letter
一封由汤比亚斯利尔寄给克莱蒙特比德尔的信。

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乔治.华盛顿,出生于1732222

有关华盛顿生日的线索,藏在1790年汤比亚斯利尔的信中,他是华盛顿的秘书也是密友。利尔写着总统的生日是「旧历」的211日,「旧历」指的是华盛顿出生时,使用的朱里安年历;但朱里安年历在1752年被格列哥里历法修正过,所以华盛顿的生日,从原来历法的1731211日,经修正后成为正确的1732222日。

像利尔这样的信件,在
18世纪的美国,是最主要的沟通工具。有些重要到人们会把它编列成册、按时间排序,由写信寄信双方相互留下复本,收藏和保存。在21世纪,人们要到信件还是电子邮件,才能查找重要线索呢?


A clue to George Washington's birth date is found in this 1790 letter by Tobias Lear, Washington's secretary and close friend. Lear wrote that the president's "birth day" was on the 11th February Old Style. By "Old Style," Lear meant the Julian Calendar, the calendar in use when Washington was born. When the Julian Calendar was "corrected" to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, Washington's birth date and year moved from February 11, 1731, to February 22, 1732.

Letters such as Lear's were an important form of communication in 18th century America. They were so important that people sometimes kept letter books, large bound volumes used to hold copies of the letters they both received and wrote. What clues and information about the 21st century might people find in your letters or e-mails?

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