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image shows two hands with the left hand holding a pen writing longhand and a desk calendar at the top left of the image
Writing. (Thomas J. O'Halloran, photographer)

Volunteer Transcribers Wanted! The American Federation of Labor Papers Need You

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Are you interested in American history?

Are you interested in the history of the labor movement in the United States?

Do you just want to volunteer?

If you answered yes to any of these, we have a great opportunity for you to get involved and leave your mark.

The Library’s By the People project has just begun a new campaign to transcribe the papers of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and we are looking for transcribers.

This collection spans the years 1883-1925 and includes letterpress books of correspondence of Samuel Gompers and William Green, who were presidents of the organization as well as other officials. This is a large collection that contains approximately 172,300 items (328,445 images) and covers so much, including: formation of local unions, meetings, charters, bylaws, ethics, political principles, communism, socialism, the anthracite coal strikes of 1897 and 1902, fund-raising, boycotts, the American Federationist (the AFL’s magazine), and more. The Unfolding History blog just announced the project if you want to know a bit more about the campaign and the collection.

Transcribing this collection will make it much more useful for researchers – the Signal has a post about transcribing if you want to know more. It is a great opportunity to see the everyday workings of the AFL, and you might run across an extra cool nugget of history. For any teachers, this may be good project for students to volunteer for and also learn a little along the way. Read about the experiences of one student working on the Federal Theatre Project playbills campaign or another about transcribing Spanish Language material.

I have used an item from this collection in a previous blog post, so I am excited about this project. I hope there are a few subscribers who want to get involved but if not, pass this opportunity along to anyone you know who may be interested.

If you have already signed up and are interested in this campaign, go ahead and dive right in. For those who haven’t already signed up and have never transcribed, the program has information on getting started.

screenshot showing of the AFL By the People that has a photo of four women wearing long dresses and big hats that area all sporting a banner that says PICKET LADIES TAILORS STRIKERS

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  1. Ellen, I would like to help with this. Will sign up in about two weeks.
    Hope all is going well for you.
    Best regards,

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