Dealing with 19th Century Email

by Robert Daeley

Via Ethan Zuckerman, I came across a post by Maciej Ceglowski on Idle Words, From: Pushkin.

Many months ago I found myself exploring a website with the collected works of Alexander Pushkin, and taking inspiration from the Samuel Pepys blog, I thought it might be fun to import Pushkin's letters into an email client. Apart from the novelty value, the mail client provides all kinds of very useful search and sort features you don't usually get with literary texts.

I love this tidbit, however:

I had to bump the date up by 200 years because refuses to properly sort nineteenth century email. I consider this a bug.

Maciej has some fun ideas about setting up "historical correspondence," annotating the letters of famous people via email.


alasdair fitheach
2006-07-21 09:05:12
Awesome! you've turned your address book into a biographical dictionary. have you ever thought of getting a degree in library science?
Robert Daeley
2006-07-21 09:28:05
Too many meetings. ;D
Benjamin Han
2006-07-21 09:35:53
Try adding some date in Sept, 1752 (say Sept 6, 1752) - you'll be in for some surprises.
2006-07-21 09:45:15
The calendar it displays iCal seems to have problems with any month prior to October 1752. It doesn't seem to know about the 11 days taken out of September 1752, and so it's basically wrong for anything prior to September 14, 1752. (Try typing "cal 1752" in a Terminal window.)

Very strange calendars result for dates a few hundred years before that, and they don't match up at all with reality. Days of the week don't match, and months seem to start on the first.

2006-07-21 10:00:37
Oops. That last line should hav been "... and months DON'T seem to start on the first".
Robert Daeley
2006-07-21 10:50:08
Thanks, guys, I had forgotten about the Gregorian switch issue -- I'll edit the post to include it.
2006-07-21 11:57:27
dweebert: I tried "cal 1752" in my term on FedoraCore 5, no problems showed up. In fact, Sept 3 thru 13 have been properly removed.
Robert Daeley
2006-07-21 12:05:27
AB, dweebert was saying to run cal to see how iCal should be handling it.