The Newberry Library is Looking for Crowdsourcing Volunteers to Transcribe Continental Army Paperwork

The Newberry Library in Chicago announced it has just digitized a collection of Continental Army receipts for clothing, food, and other supplies. And it’s asking for volunteers to help transcribe those documents. Would you like to help preserve a bit of history?

Quoting from the Newberry Library’s web site:

“Most of us are familiar with the grand narrative of the Revolutionary War—the hard-fought battles, the fragile alliances, the derring-do of the newly formed Continental Army. More rarely do we scratch the surface of the well-known textbook history to examine the minor players, local transactions, and day-to-day dealings that undergirded the war effort.

“Now, this approach has been simplified with the recent digitization of a rather unlikely collection: Revolutionary-era clothing receipts. Found in the papers of Chauncey Whittelsey, a Yale-educated clergyman and Connecticut-based merchant who served as purchasing agent for the Continental Army during the American Revolution, the receipts help reveal another front-line in the Revolutionary war: supplying the Continental Army. Yet a problem remains: no digitally searchable transcriptions of the Whittelsey papers presently exist.

“In order to help scholars make use of Whittelsey’s receipts and other similar manuscripts, the Newberry developed Transcribing Modern Manuscripts, a crowdsourced transcription site that allows members of the public to help transcribe almost 30,000 pages of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American manuscripts. Once completed, these transcriptions promise to deepen our understanding of American history and shed light on overlooked but important actors like Chauncey Whittelsey.”

You can read more in an article by Matthew Clarke, Digital Initiatives and Metadata Assistant at the Newberry Library, at: https://www.newberry.org/clothing-continental-army.

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