A Letter Sealed for Centuries Has Been Read—Without Even Opening It

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-letter-sealed-for-centuries-has-been-readwithout-even-opening-it-11614679203?mod=djemwhatsnews


The “virtual unfolding” of the letter—the culmination of a four-year project described in a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications—points to a new line of historical research into the centuries-old practice of letterlocking. That’s the term used to describe the use of origami-like folds to hide the content of letters before envelopes came into wide use in the mid-1800s.

“This is a dream come true in the field of conservation,” said Jana Dambrogio, the conservator at the research library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of 11 authors of the paper.

Experts say the technique used to reveal the text of the letter, which includes a type of imaging called X-ray microtomography, could also have applications in healthcare and engineering.

Author(s): Sara Castellanos

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal