Welcome to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Digital Volunteer Transcription Project. You may start transcribing documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection by selecting one of the projects below and logging in with your Transcribe! username and password.
If you have not yet signed up but would like to become a Gilder Lehrman Digital Volunteer, please select a project from the list below and create a free account by clicking the “Create Account” option in the top menu bar and completing the form.
These typed transcripts will help make primary sources more accessible for students, teachers, and researchers. This volunteer opportunity is available to students who are at least thirteen years old.
Learn more about how to begin transcribing by watching this video:
Black Lives in the Founding Era
This selection of documents sheds light on what life was like for some Black Americans in the eighteenth century. Taken from more than 200 books, magazines, and newspapers, these texts—which are largely about enslaved people and the institution of slavery—provide insight into the experiences of some Black Americans during the founding era. This collection of documents will be regularly updated as more material is discovered within the Gilder Lehrman Collection.
This transcription opportunity is part of the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s Black Lives in the Founding Era project, which restores to view the lives and works of a wide array of African Americans in the period 1760 to 1800. We encourage you to read more about the project here.
Content warning: The language and content of these materials may be difficult for some readers. Many of these documents pertain to the institution of slavery and racism in the eighteenth century and demonstrate the often harsh circumstances that Black men, women, and children faced. Students should be advised that while some of these materials may be upsetting, topics such as enslavement and racial violence are essential to the study of US history.
Civil War Letters
This project provides a selection of Civil War–era letters that detail lives and events from both the Union and Confederate perspectives.
Founding Era Newspapers
These newspapers are important sources of unique information about the Founding Era that we cannot find elsewhere. You can explore the “breaking news” of the American Revolution through contemporary newspapers. In addition to the political and military news of the day, these periodicals also published a wealth of other newsworthy items and advertisements that impacted the lives of Americans in the Founding Era. Transcribing these documents not only makes them more accessible, but it is also a great way to learn history from the people who experienced it.
Sylvia Weiner’s Letters from the World War II Brooklyn Home Front
Sylvia Weiner’s letters offer a unique perspective on life on the home front during World War II. Sylvia describes her days in Brooklyn focusing on her job and her nights at home with various friends and family members. At the same time, she discusses financial difficulties and the struggle for gasoline and certain food products.
Thomas Rogers Booth Diaries
A collection of diaries written by Thomas Rogers Booth from 1861 through 1889. Booth was a railroad engineer from New Castle, Delaware. Some entries mention his travel; however, these diaries have not been read, so the content is largely a mystery waiting for transcribers to discover.
Women in the Founding Era: The Papers of Catherine Graham Macaulay
Macaulay was a popular British author of historical studies and radical pamphlets. She is recognized as the first Englishwoman to become a historian. Her letters to family and friends reveal her political thoughts and her support of liberty and American independence.
World War I Keystone Stereocards
A collection of 297 stereocards that detail battles and life in World War I Europe. A stereocard is a set of two almost identical photos that use an optical illusion to look 3d when viewed through specialized lenses. These stereocards also contain a description of what is happening in the image, intending to be used for educational purposes.
World War II Letters of First Lieutenant Sidney Diamond, 82nd Chemical Battalion, United States Army
Sidney Diamond enlisted in mid-April 1942, interrupting the chemical engineering degree that he was undertaking at City College in New York City. He served as first lieutenant in the 82nd Chemical Battalion. On January 29, 1945, Diamond was killed by a Japanese knee mortar. Throughout his time in service, Sidney maintained a correspondence with Estelle Spero, his sweetheart and subsequently fiancée.
World War II Letters of Sergeant Warren Schwartz, 9th Infantry Division, United States Army
Warren Harold Schwartz primarily wrote to Naomi Horowitz, his girlfriend who late became his wife. Schwartz served in the US Army as a Technician Fifth Grade for the 925th Field Artillery Battalion, 100th Infantry Division. He writes about basic training and his tour of duty in North Carolina, Morocco, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, France, and England. He describes daily life and finding solace with the local Jewish community in North Carolina, and comments on various generals.