This year the LLNE Service Committee continued to work closely with the Rhode Island State Archives for its 2019 spring project. Participants transcribed handwritten document pages virtually, from the comfort of their own homes or offices, which was a different approach to the transcription party that was held on Roger Williams University’s Providence Campus in November of last year. Participants received 5 pages (with the ability to request less or more to work on) from the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association (RIESA) journal, which is comprised of minutes, written in late 19th century cursive, of the meetings held between 1888 and 1892. Also included for participants were transcription tips and helpful resources on how to read historical handwriting.
I was unable to attend the transcription party in November, so Iwas excited to be given an opportunity to transcribe pages virtually. I’ve worked on transcription projects in the past for my place of employment and as a volunteer for the genealogical research site FamilySearch, and over time I’ve found that I actually really enjoy it. Older handwriting can be incredibly frustrating to read, and it often requires a bit of detective work; getting a sense of the way the author stylized certain letters and words and figuring out the context of the document, if it’s not immediately apparent, can often provide important pieces to the puzzle. And what librarian doesn’t like a little bit of a research-related challenge?
I was assigned five pages in the RIESA journal that were a summary of a meeting held in 1891, and the main topics that were discussed included the need for women in law and government, the enfranchisement of women, and the protection of children factory workers. It was incredibly easy to view the document online (no downloading was necessary) and write my transcription in Word. I was fortunate that the secretary who took the notes for this particular meeting wrote relatively clearly, and it may have taken me no more than an hour of my time altogether to transcribe the pages. There were a couple words I scratched my head over (like “grogshop”???), but by the end I was confident that I had everything transcribed correctly—spelling and grammatical mistakes included, even though it’s sotempting to make corrections! It was also neat to read first-handabout the different speeches given during this spirited meeting by well-known names such as Mary Ann Greene and William Lloyd Garrison, with Anna Garlin Spencer presiding over the meeting.
Once the transcription was complete, I emailed the file to the Rhode Island State Archives. While certain types of documents can be fed through optical character recognition (OCR), transcribing handwriting requires manual effort and time; it felt good to be able to help provide greater access to this important association’s records for researchers and the general public.
The LLNE Service Committee would like to thank everyone who helped us transcribe documents for the Rhode Island State Archives this year.
In the Fall, the committee hosted a transcription party with State Archivist, Ashley Selima. LLNE members transcribed documents from the Rhode Island Suffrage Association from 1868-1871 and 1888-1892 at the Roger Williams Law Providence Campus. Transcribers were then treated to a tour of the Rhode Island State Archives and a social hour at a local restaurant. The committee would like to thank Roger Williams Law Providence Campus for the fantastic space and technological support. We would also like to thank to LLNE and Lexis for sponsoring the event.
After the party, members of the Service Committee wrote an article titled “Hosting A Successful Transcription Party”, which was published in the March/April 2019 issue of the AALL Spectrum.
In the Spring, the Service Committee took the transcription party on the road. LLNE members from all over transcribed historical documents from the comfort of their home or office. The committee is happy to report that we had 23 volunteers transcribe over 100 pages of the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association Journal from 1888-1892. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and made this project a success!
All the transcriptions will help make these fascinating historical documents more accessible to everyone. The LLNE Service Committee would like to thank the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office and RI State Archivist Ashley Selima for providing this wonderful opportunity.
Thank you to the members of the Service Committee for all their work making this project a reality. We are always looking for more volunteers! If interested, email Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The election results are in. 102 members took the time to vote – that’s a solid showing of around half of our membership.
Congratulations to our newly elected 2019-2020 officers!
VP/President Elect: Nicole Dyszlewski
Treasurer (2 year term): Rachel Weiss
Secretary (1 year term): Christie Schauder
Education Director (2 year term): Maureen Quinlan
This new slate – alongside our current VP/President Elect, Bob DeFabrizio – will officially begin their terms on July 1, 2019. We will also have a transition ceremony at our Fall Meeting later this year.
Many thanks to our new officers for their willingness to serve, and to our outgoing Treasurer, Rick Buckingham; Education Director, Danitta Wong; and Secretary, Nicole Dyszlewski, for their excellent contributions and dedication to LLNE.