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.

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 selecting 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.

To find out more about the Gilder Lehrman Collection projects, visit us on our project homepage at

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 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

A selection of Civil War Era letters. These letters detail the lives and events during the Civil War from both the Union and Confederate perspectives.

Cyrena Hammond’s Diary

Cyrena Hammond’s diary offers a look into the daily life of a teenage girl during the Civil War. Hammond lived in New York and kept the diary during the duration of 1865. She writes on topics that range from the weather to attending Temperance meetings. While largely absent of entries regarding the war, Hammond does include an interesting entry regarding John Wilkes Booth’s mother and Lincoln’s assassination.

Sylvia Weiner’s Letters from the World War II Brooklyn Home Front

Sylvia’s letters offer a unique perspective of 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.

WWI Diaries of William Shepp of Company A, 7th Engineers

This set contains four diaries, ranging from 1917 to 1919. They contain details of Shepp’s everyday life and vivid battle details.

The World War I Diary of Ella Jane Osborn, Army Nurse

January of 1918 and returned home in March 1919. She was stationed in the Lorraine region of France, and traveled extensively, spending time in London, Paris, Cannes, Blois Monte Carlo, Nice, and Antibes. She discusses in detail the rumors and news she receives regarding Allied victories and defeats, and the negotiations of the Armistice. Mostly her entries describe her daily schedule, chores she undertakes, and her social engagements. She also mentions a serious battle with what might have been the Spanish Flu during the pandemic of 1918.