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Library Of Congress Needs Your Help Transcribing Lincoln’s Letters

Looking for something to do in your free time that will include service to your country? Love history as much as court reporting?

Then the Library of Congress has a volunteer job for you.

The Library of Congress is looking for volunteers to volunteers to transcribe writings left behind by some of the greatest names in history, including Abraham Lincoln, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, Civil War veterans, Civil Rights campaigner Rosa Parks, leaders of the woman’s suffrage movement, American poets, important figures in the history of psychiatry, and other important historical figures, Mental Floss reported.

The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress contain more than 40,550 documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln when he was a lawyer, representative from Illinois, and 16th president of the United State, about half of which are available online. Of those 20,000, about half have already been transcribed, the Library said.

The Library’s goal is to have volunteers transcribe all of the remaining materials as well so that they are easy for people to search online using key words.

The goal of the Letters to Lincoln Challenge 2018 is to transcribe all 28,000 pages by December 31, but more opportunities will be available beyond the end of the year.

Documents include not only letters written by Lincoln but also by correspondents including friends and associates, well-known political figures and reformers, and individuals and organizations.

Because the documents are hand written, they are difficult for computers to read and decode. Some are faded and written in difficult to read cursive, Mental Floss said.

To learn how to help with the project, log on to, the library’s crowdsourcing site, and create an account on the registration page. Documents that are transcribed are then reviewed by another registered volunteer.

Carla Hayden, a librarian at the Library of Congress, said the project is a good way to serve the public good while learning about history at the same time.

“The pages awaiting transcription at represent some of the diversity of the Library’s treasure, and the metadata that will result from these transcriptions mean these digitized documents will have even greater use to classrooms, researchers, or anyone who is curious about these historical figures,” Hayden said.

For more detailed instructions on how to help, visit the library’s guide here.