Letter, 1781 August 29, from Baron von Steuben, Charlottesville, Virginia, to Pierre Etienne [Peter Stephen] Duponceau, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Duponceau's Carte de Visite. The letter is written in French and von Steuben states he has had no reply to letters sent to Pres. Washington and to the Secretary of the Congress; von Steuben plans to leave for Carolina to join Gen. Greene. oe .
Also inluded are a typed transcription of the letter and clippings about Duponceau (1844-1845).
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DuPonceau's education took place at Benedictine College, where he gained an interest in Linguistics. However, he abruptly ended his education after only 18 months over a dissatisfaction with the scholarly philosophy taught at the college. He emigrated to America in 1777, at age 17, with Baron von Steuben. Once there, he served as a secretary for Steuben in the Revolutionary Army. After the war, he moved to Philadelphia, where he would spend the rest of his life.
DuPonceau was also one of the first western linguists to hold the view that Chinese writing was based on spoken words, and not ideas and concepts. He used the example of Vietnamese using chu Nom at the time to show that the Vietnamese employed Chinese characters primarily for sound and not for meaning. It would be over 100 years before this idea would become accepted in linguistic circles. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: . Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .