Douglass Day Transcribe-A-Thon: Home

Since 2017, the life, work, and legacy of Frederick Douglass has been celebrated every February 14 through a transcribe-a-thon, a crowd-sourced effort to translate physical records of Black history into readily accessible digital documents, to preserve and remember Black history.

In 2019, the Marquette University Libraries and the Ott Memorial Writing Center collaborated on Marquette University's first Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon. These efforts were led by Dr. Lisa Lamson, who was at the time a doctoral candidate in history and a peer tutor at the Ott. 


Please let us know that you plan to join us?  Just so we know how much space, how many computers to have ...

Transcribe-a-Thon 2024 Overview

In 2024, the Douglass Day Transcribe-A-Thon will focus on Frederick Douglass himself, his letters in particular. We will transcribe a collection of Douglass's correspondence from 1841 to 1912 that is part of the Library of Congress's digital collections. The correspondence includes letters from and about Douglass to family members, activists, politicians, and organizations before and after his death in 1895. Check out this index of names found in his correspondence.

What you need to know:

  –  Creating an account is NOT required. It is encouraged if you might want to transcribe more later or become a reviewer … but it is not required.
  –  Your work WILL BE REVIEWED!! Your work is not the end of the process, it is the beginning.
  –  Purpose of transcribing: transcribing makes the documents searchable. Although the scanned documents are already online, their current format is not searchable. Adding tags also helps increase the relevance of searching results, but that does require an account.
  –  There is a large body of work to transcribe! The Douglass correspondence project (campaign) on the ByThePeople platform will remain available likely for several months in order to complete the project.
  –  You can continue to transcribe even after this event.