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.

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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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