Through a grant from the NHPRC, the Center for Digital Initiatives at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has published online of the Papers of Governor Richard Yates Sr., the Civil War governor of Illinois. Now they are looking for volunteers to help transcribe the documents at Chronicling Illinois, the Center’s online archive. 


The project includes the digitization of nearly 50,000 pages of documents, comprising nearly 15,000 documents from his four-year term. The documents come from the Yates Family Papers and from the Wabash Yates Papers at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.


Richard Yates (1815-1873) was one of the most consequential Union war governors. Known as the "Soldier's Friend," Yates worked tirelessly to ensure that Illinois recruit, organize, and supply troops. Thousands of people, both rich and poor, wrote to Yates about a myriad of subjects, including political campaigns, requests for jobs and favors, pleas to have sons released from military service and activity by Southern-sympathizing “Copperheads.” Among his more prominent correspondents were General Ulysses S. Grant, General William T. Sherman, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and, of course, President Abraham Lincoln.


Want to help transcribe those documents? Go to Chronicling Illinois at http://alplm-cdi.com/chroniclingillinois/scripto. After creating an account, volunteers can transcribe handwritten documents through a simple interface or review the transcriptions of others to prepare them for online publication. Teachers can use the transcription process as a method of engaging students with primary source documents in a powerful way, while helping to improve the searchability of the archive through transcription.