Genius Wanted 33

Is anyone wizard enough to improve the contrast and definition on the small images of these letters, and enlarge them so that I am able to try to decipher them? This is a very important letter for my biography of Burnes; it is infuriating that such letters apparently disappear into the hands of private collectors.

Secondly, can anyone with academic access credentials (JSTOR or such) get me a copy of Mikhail Volodarsky, “The Russians in Afghanistan in the 1830’s“, Central Asian Survey vol 21 no 1 (April 1985). Wanted for genuine academic research purposes.

For those who don’t have my email address, the contact button at the top of the page will send me an email.

33 thoughts on “Genius Wanted

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  • resident dissident

    If you are still trying to decipher the letter you may want to try asking at this genealogy forum here:,298.0.html

    There appears to be a lot of expertise here is making images clearer and deciphering handwriting – and a lot of examples of their work – the ethos in the genealogy world is also pretty collaborative and friendly so I’m sure someone will try to help.

  • Will

    At the resolution these sample images are provided at, it’s almost impossible to work with them: there is far too much noise/data. I took a crack with Levels and a High-Pass filter, and an Unsharpen Mask in Photoshop CS5 (also cranked up the resolution by 4 beforehand to give Adobe a chance to smoothen it out):

    Legibility is improved somewhat.

    I’d recommend passing them through the AutoTrace function in a copy of Illustrator if you can get your hands on it.


  • Clark

    conallboyle, 5 Jun, 12:12 pm, and
    KiwiGuyLondon, 5 Jun, 2:23 pm:

    I used GIMP to “resample” the images to the larger size. Contrast, and tools that sharpen the image, etc. are a matter of personal preference; I wouldn’t know how best to adjust those for Craig.

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