Cracking the Code: The Article in Slate

In this series we track the progress of the group of Brown undergraduates working to decipher, translate, and contextualize the “Roger Williams Mystery Book” at the JCB.

The John Carter Brown Library’s “Mystery Book” or “”An Essay Towards the Reconciling of Differences Among Christians” is receiving lots of play in the media lately. Ben Schreckinger, one of our original correspondents for this blog has written an article on the online journal, Slate. More complete than has previously been reported, this article is currently the #1 most-read article on the site! Ben tried to give as full account as possible, though the demands of fast-paced journalism led his editor to cut his report down significantly (the Eliot Indian Bible is gone entirely!). In the article Ben describes the process he, his colleague, Lucas Mason-Brown, and others followed to decode the manuscript writings.

Ben Schreckinger is an Atlantic Media Fellow reporting for National Journal. He can be reached at B.Schreckinger@gmail.com and @BenSchreckinger.

Cracking the Code and the Media

In this series we track the progress of the group of Brown undergraduates working to decipher, translate, and contextualize the “Roger Williams Mystery Book” at the JCB.

Lucas Mason-Brown, one of our reporters for the Cracking the Code segment of this JCB Books Speak, has been getting a lot of play time in the media for his discoveries in decoding the “Mystery Book” of Roger Williams held by the JCB. He has been selected as one of 12 George J. Mitchell scholars for 2014 and will spend a year of postgraduate study in mathematics at Trinity College Dublin.

Watch his interview here conducted in the Maury A. Bromsen Simon Bolivar Room at the John Carter Brown Library.

Don’t miss the article about him and the project in the Boston Globe, December 5, 2012.

Cracking the Code: Infant Baptism and Roger Williams

In this series we track the progress of the group of Brown undergraduates working to decipher, translate, and contextualize the “Roger Williams Mystery Book” at the JCB.

Early this spring, the JCB announced some very exciting news. The team of undergraduates working with the JCB to crack, translate, and contextualize the mysterious shorthand code scrawled in the margins of the JCB’s “An Essay Towards the Reconciling of Differences Among Christians” had made substantial progress towards at least two of our objectives. Using various statistical techniques and knowledge of popular 17th century shorthand schemes, we uncovered a tentative key. Continue reading Cracking the Code: Infant Baptism and Roger Williams

Cracking the Code: The Project Is Presented at the JCB Fellows Lunch

In this series we track the progress of the group of Brown undergraduates working to decipher, translate, and contextualize the “Roger Williams Mystery Book” at the JCB.

Lucas Mason-Brown presented on the decoding project’s progress and gave audience members a chance to slog through a translation at a lively JCB Fellows Lunch Talk April 11. Continue reading Cracking the Code: The Project Is Presented at the JCB Fellows Lunch

Cracking the Code: From Cicero to Palm Pilot—A look at shorthand’s history


In this series we track the progress of the group of Brown undergraduates working to decipher, translate, and contextualize the “Roger Williams Mystery Book” at the JCB.

As the group begins to ponder the significance of Heylyn’s Cosmographie, let’s pause and take a look at the history of early modern shorthand. Continue reading Cracking the Code: From Cicero to Palm Pilot—A look at shorthand’s history