American Experience
Murder at Harvard: History and Fiction

Question 3:
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How did you approach the research?

You have to be a kind of paper sniffer. You have to be sensuously engaged in what you have in an archive. I remember in the Massachusetts Historical Society the way the light shone that particular day on these different kind of inks. If you are alert to this kind of thing -- it's kind of ghostly physical exchange with the leftovers of the past. Like going into your grandma's attic and finding an old chair. The stuff spills in front of you, you can sort of smell the paper, you can sort of feel the writing. You ought to be able to hear the quill scratching over it.