Credit: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer
Many of the earliest letters in the Wilkes-Smedberg collection feature writing the initial letter horizontally and then continuing the letter in a vertical pattern. The writer did this to save money. Mecklenburg County librarian Shelia Bumgarner has been sorting and transcribing letters from the Wilkes-Smedberg collection since 2009. She calculates that it will take her another three years to finish the nearly 1,000 letters in the collection. The letters date from 1849-1913.