Down to Raisins: The Remaining Letters to Lincoln

100% Complete

Completed Pages: 503
Registered Contributors: 16
Launched May 3, 2021 and completed Aug. 25, 2021.

In 2020, Library of Congress staff transcribed specific campaigns within the By the People program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic building closures. Staff transcribed images of collections material featuring Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, and George Patton. Check out this blog post to learn more about the “staff only” campaigns and their successes - Making Room in the Crowd: Library Teleworkers Transcribing in Extraordinary Times.

When the "Letters to Lincoln" crowdsourced transcription campaign launched in October 2018, public volunteers transcribed the roughly 10,000 documents from the Abraham Lincoln Papers on not previously transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College. After the campaign was successfully completed in July 2020, we found that a few stray items had not been included in the initial group.

The title of this project comes from a saying Abraham Lincoln used in the War Department telegraph office during the Civil War. When Lincoln finished reading the new dispatches, he would say he was “down to raisins.” Asked what he meant, Lincoln related the story of a little girl who indulged in many good things on her birthday, with the last item on the menu being raisins. We’ll spare you the further details, but Lincoln’s point was that “when I reach the message in this pile which I saw on my last visit, I know that I need go no further.” We are now “down to raisins” in the “Letters to Lincoln” campaign, and with your help we will need to go no further once these items are transcribed!