Help Uncover History!

The Harvard Library has launched an exciting new crowdsourcing project, Transcribing Harvard Library, which aims to make more than 650,000 manuscript pages in its Colonial North America digital collection fully searchable. Sixteen Harvard libraries, including the Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections, contributed their materials to the Colonial North America digital collection, creating a rich interdisciplinary array of original historic documents from 17th- and 18th-century North America. Materials in the collection are freely accessible to everyone with an internet collection.

Recovery in Lythall and Cooper
Recovery in Lythall and Hooper vs. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the Natives of New England, 1656, November 28, HLS Deeds 820

Now, we want to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. At the moment, you can search the Colonial North America collection using certain keywords, including title, author, date, and location. With this new transcription project, we’re transcribing materials in the collection word-for-word. When finished, you’ll be able to search for words that occur anywhere in the document – not just the main keywords.

This is a huge project and we need your help! If you are looking for a new activity to do while social distancing, consider transcribing a few pages of manuscripts, or reviewing and improving the transcriptions of others. It’s easy to get started. If you’re interested in legal materials, you can transcribe manuscripts from the HLS Library’s collections; if you prefer other topics, check out manuscripts from another Harvard Library. Thanks for helping to uncover history!

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