Visit For Educators to find ideas and support for engaging students of all ages with primary sources through By the People.
Host a transcribe-a-thon or review-a-thon event
Thinking of hosting a transcribe-a-thon or other By the People event? We’ve created a how-to guide, instruction handout, and introductory slides to make planning and leading an event easy.
- How to host a transcribe-a-thon (PDF)
- "Getting started" presentation (PPT)
- "Quick Tips" instructions hand out (PDF)
The majority of handwritten documents in By the People were penned between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Spencerian Script (Approx. 1850-1925) is a script style considered the American standard writing style prior to the widespread adoption of the typewriter.
If you are new to historical transcription you may run into unfamiliar spellings and abbreviations common for this style of script. The resources provided below demonstrate many of these and how to transcribe them correctly.
- Handwriting in the Civil War, Sullivan Press - Quick reference guide explaining common letters and symbols used in 19th century script
- How to decipher unfamiliar handwriting, Natural History Museum Archives (UK) - Quick reference guide explaining common letters and symbols used in 19th century script
Spanish and Latin resources
- Herencia Cheat Sheet for Mac and PCs
- Herencia Cheat Sheet for Mac and PCs en Español
- 17th Century Printed Latin Orthography
- 17th Century Printed Latin Orthography en Español
- How and why to transcribe Herencia (webinar, recorded Feb. 27, 2020)
You may be able to fulfill community service or service learning requirements by participating on By the People. Keep track of your contributions to the project by registering for an account. We can additionally provide an electronic letter on Library of Congress letterhead confirming that you have taken part in By the People. This letter can confirm if you are a registered user as well as information provided in your user profile. Note that we cannot track the amount of time you spend volunteering. It is best for you to document your hours. Email [email protected] to request a letter.