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35,000 transcriptions

The diligent and talented contributors to DIY History have now transcribed more than 35,000 pages of manuscript diaries, letters, recipes and telegrams! And this number does not reflect the thousands of pages of proofreading our crowdsourcers have also accomplished, bringing these documents to life and to the eyes of researchers. The transcribed pages tell theContinue reading “35,000 transcriptions”

Food for body and spirit

On the last page of James Doak’s 1760s Art of cookery, following recipes for ketchup and pickled mushrooms, we find what appears to be a catalog of his library, an impressive collection for the time. He lists the classics: Shakespeare, Pope, Cato, Milton, the Bible, as well as some intriguing titles: Whytt on Lyme water,Continue reading “Food for body and spirit”

Nothing new under the sun: the drought of 1863

From our Civil War Diaries and Letters collection comes a letter from Sam Clark, farming in southern Iowa, to his love interest Tillie in Illinois: Unless we have rain and that very soon the corn crop in this state will be almost a complete failure … The last rain that we have had to amountContinue reading “Nothing new under the sun: the drought of 1863”

Letters from the home front

During a war conducted without telephones, Skype, or even reliable mail delivery, Civil War soldiers treasured their letters from home – and lucky for us, because they kept them all their lives and passed them down through their families to us. William Titus Rigby expresses his gratitude to his correspondents eloquently: “I never received aContinue reading “Letters from the home front”

Civil War transcription tips

For the sake of consistency in the transcriptions of the Civil War diaries and letters, here are a few more guidelines and a short list of some common abbreviations and older spellings: Enter line breaks to indicate sections of the letter – salutations, paragraphs, signatures, postscripts Do not transcribe text that has been crossed out,Continue reading “Civil War transcription tips”