To celebrate Vermont Archives Month 2021, we invite you to help us transcribe and make accessible the diaries of Mary Jean Simpson. We want to enlist your help in our second Transcribe-A-Thon from October 25-29, 2021. We will be using the transcription platform Transkribus for this event. Instructions for registering and getting started follow the project description below.
Participants in our first Transcribe-A-thon last fall worked with the diaries that Mary Jean Simpson from Craftsbury, Vermont wrote while she served as the first woman Bill Clerk in the United States Senate. Our goal this year is to complete the transcription of her diaries from the early 1970s, when she had retired to her home in East Craftsbury and was active in state and civic affairs until her death in 1977.
Mary Jean Simpson was born in East Craftsbury, Vermont, on July 18, 1888. A member of the Republican Party, she was elected as Craftsbury representative to the Vermont General Assembly in 1924. Following her job as Senate Bill Clerk from 1926 to 1933, 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 Dean of Women at the University of Vermont in 1937, retiring in 1955.
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 "Sign up for free" in the middle of the page, fill out the form, and click the Register button.
- 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 2021" 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.
- Use the Status pull down menu and select In Progress pages to get a selection of pages needing transcription. Ready for Review and Completed pages have already been transcribed or are in the process of being transcribed.
- Select a Page to Transcribe; this will open up that page in a separate tab.
- Click on the pencil to start transcribing. Should you see that someone else has transcribed some or all of the page, close the tab and select a different page.
- 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 the highlighted text.
- Change the status in the lower right-hand corner from In Progress to Ready for Review and then Save Changes. This will indicate to other transcribers that you are working on this page and that they should select a different page.
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).
The University of Vermont named a new women's dormitory Simpson Hall to honor Mary Jean Simpson, the retired dean of women. Left to right at the cornerstone ceremony in November 1955, Burlington Mayor Edward Moran, UVM President Carl Borgmann, Vermont Lieutenant Governor Consuelo N. Bailey and Mary Jean Simpson.