To celebrate Vermont Archives Month 2020, we invite you to help us transcribe and make accessible the diaries of Mary Jean Simpson, virtually of course. We want to enlist your help in our first ever Transcribe-A-Thon from October 26-30, 2020. We will be using the transcription platform Transkribus for this event. Instructions for registering and getting started follow the project description below.
Six years after women gained the right to vote in 1920, Mary Jean Simpson (1888-1977) from East Craftsbury, Vermont broke new political ground by becoming the first woman to serve as Bill Clerk in the United States Senate. Help us shed new light on this important figure in history by joining us to transcribe her diaries from this period. The diaries detail both Mary Jean Simpson’s personal life and the political world of Washington, DC in the late 1920s as the presidency transitioned from Coolidge to Hoover and the country entered the depression.
Our goal is to complete the transcription of her 1926 diary during the Transcribe-A-Thon, although we’re prepared to keep going should you help us surpass that goal.
Mary Jean Simpson was born in East Craftsbury, Vermont, on July 18th, 1888. A member of the Republican Party, she was elected as Craftsbury representative to the Vermont General Assembly in 1924. From 1926 to 1933, Miss Simpson was Bill Clerk of the United States Senate, the first woman ever appointed to the staff of the Secretary of the Senate. Later, she served the YWCA as financial secretary, then headed the Women's Division of the Civil Works Administration and the WPA. She resigned to become UVM Dean of Women in 1937, retiring in 1955. In retirement, Miss Simpson returned to her home in East Craftsbury, where she remained active in state and civic affairs until her death in 1977.
Silver Special Collections holds the Mary Jean Simpson papers. An online guide to the collection is available.
To participate, we ask that you do the following:
- Create an account on Transkribus. Select Register at the top of page and follow the instructions.
- After registering, use the email address you signed up with to send an email to Chris Burns in Special Collections letting him know that you have registered. Chris will add you to the Mary Jean Simpson Diaries Collection in Transkribus. It would be helpful if you put "UVM Transcribe-A-Thon 2020" in the subject line.
Getting Started with Transkribus
- Login at the Transcription site.
- Select My Collections, and then the collection you are working on: Mary Jean Simpson Diaries.
- Use the Document pull down menu to navigate to the document you would like to work on.
- Select a Page to Transcribe, selecting any Page with the In Progress status. (Ready for Review and Completed indcates pages that have already been transcribed.) This will open up that page in a separate tab.
- Click on the pencil to start transcribing.
- A frame will appear where the pencil was with a set of ascending numbers. Each of those numbers represents a line of text to transcribe. Click next to the first line. The image above will go to that line and you can then begin to transcribe it.
Type what you see. Preserve original content, including errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word order.
Words should be separated or combined according to the original text, even if it is not in accordance with current practice. If you cannot clearly identify a letter as upper or lower case, transcribe it using current capitalization rules. An exception to “type what you see” is that you should ignore any bold or italicized text, as this information will get captured at a later stage.
Save often. The Transkribus web interface does not save changes automatically. If you exit out of the page, any transcription work or any changes made to previously saved transcriptions will be lost.
Irregular content. Please check our detailed Transcription Guidelines to learn how to deal with hyphenated words, unclear words, insertions, underlining, cross-outs, preprinted information, images, special characters, punctuation, and abbreviations.
Status. When you finish transcribing a page, please mark it with the Ready for Review label in the status menu (on the bottom right of the screen, just above the “Save Changes” button).