4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 7, 2022 1:41 PM by Abigail Shelton

    December 2021 Challenge: Happy 200th Birthday Clara Barton!

    Lauren Algee Tracker

      We're celebrating Clara Barton's 200th birthday this December with 3 new Barton projects and a challenge for you!

      Barton was born on December 25, 1821 in North Oxford, MA. She began her career as a teacher, educating students in free schools in MA and NJ. But after discovering that her school hired a man at twice her pay, she resigned her teaching position and moved to Washington, DC. In 1854, Barton took a position as a clerk in the US Patent Office and while in DC, she began her nursing career during the first years of the Civil War. After the war, Barton played an instrumental role in locating soldiers killed or missing in action.

      While recuperating from her intense wartime and post-war activist work, she encountered the International Red Cross during a trip to Geneva, Switzerland. Barton returned to the United States in 1873 and promptly got to work founding an American branch of the international aid organization. During her tenure, the Red Cross would help American communities recover from famine, flood, hurricanes, epidemics, and other natural disasters. It is for that work that she is probably best known!

      To honor and celebrate her birthday as well as her important humanitarian work, our goal is to transcribe and review as many pages as we can! We'll post updates here and on our Twitter and sending a newsletter at the end of the challenge. Help us wish Clara Barton a very happy birthday by making her papers more accessible for all!


      DatePages not startedPages in progressPages needing reviewPages completed
      Tues, Dec. 143,6232,1425,77625,208
      Tues, Dec 742,3872,2796,27225,811
      Tues, Dec 1441,4042,2756,97926,091
      Tues, Dec 2140,7102,3387,28726,414
      Tues, Dec 2840,1462,4107,54126,652
        • Re: December 2021 Challenge: Happy 200th Birthday Clara Barton!
          Abigail Shelton Scout

          We're in the last week of the Clara Barton December challenge to celebrate her 200th birthday. Since the beginning of December, volunteers have completed 1,274 pages and saved 8,578 transcriptions! Thank you for all your efforts on this campaign and let's keep going for the new few days.



          By the People Community Manager

            • Re: December 2021 Challenge: Happy 200th Birthday Clara Barton!
              Ellen Wan Wayfarer

              I just discovered this community and campaign this past week on dear Clara Barton's birthday and am excited to contribute to documenting her legacy.


              I have hunkered down on the collection, “Clara Barton Papers: Red Cross File, 1863-1957; American National Red Cross, 1878-1957; Investigation and resignation; Correspondence; 1902-1903,” and more than 40 pages are ready for review. https://crowd.loc.gov/campaigns/clara-barton-angel-of-the-battlefield/red-cross-file/mss119730542/


              The unfolding story is intriguing indeed!

                • Re: December 2021 Challenge: Happy 200th Birthday Clara Barton!
                  Ellen Wan Wayfarer

                  I must share a minor triumph in decoding a word in this collection. I was helped by transcribing correspondence in chronological order (which revealed clues along the way), plus inspiration from the 2019 blog post, Crowdsourcing the Clara Barton Diaries? Let Miss Barton Come to Your Aid!


                  Still getting used to Miss Boardman's script, I felt cautiously optimistic about my progress transcribing her letter to Mrs. Logan dated Nov. 4, 1902, when I found (with relief) a previous typewritten copy of the same letter a few pages later. It was a great way to validate my own transcription, but there remained one repeated word that just didn't seem right, transcribed in the copy as "descied," so I left my transcribed word in brackets.


                  (page 9)

                  (page 13)


                  It wasn't until much later in the collection, in another letter from Miss Boardman to Mrs. Logan dated Feb. 17, 1903, did I see the word again, and I was able to read the word as "desired" in the different context. Fortunately, no one had yet accepted the earlier pages, so I was able to go back and make those changes...and thankfully, it made sense!


                  (page 80)


                  Let me know if you agree! I've had this kind of epiphany for some other words throughout, particularly proper names, and it has helped to read and transcribe the letters in sequence, rather than jump around, even though it takes more time.

                    • Re: December 2021 Challenge: Happy 200th Birthday Clara Barton!
                      Abigail Shelton Scout

                      Hi Ellen,


                      Great tip! And I agree, the mystery word looks like "desired" to me. We've heard from many volunteers that it really helps to focus on one campaign and even one correspondent to get to know the quirks of their handwriting. It sounds like you're finding the same to be true.


                      You also get to know the kinds of phrases or expressions that people use when you are reading page after page of their writing. I know I've certainly found that to be helpful in the Barton campaign. For example, Barton seems to use a range of similar phrases to end her letters and once you get a handle on what those are, you can more easily recognize them whenever you see them.


                      Happy transcribing!



                      By the People Community Manager