Event—Public Programming

Newberry Transcribathon: Social Activism Collections

Learn about and transcribe the Newberry's social activism collections in this interactive Transcribathon event.

Tenement conditions in Chicago, 1901. Call number: H 539 .172 Letter to Mabel Hawkins, Secretary of Chicago Commons, 1931-1938. Part of the Graham Taylor Papers. Call number: Midwest MS Taylor Box 8 Folder 221

This program will be held in-person at the Newberry and livestreamed on Zoom at 1pm CST. Please register below.

If you're attending the in-person event, please bring your own laptop. Refreshments will be provided.

Join as we transcribe handwritten letters from the Newberry's collections for National Volunteer Week! You'll get a chance to use our crowdsourcing site, Newberry Transcribe, to unlock first-hand accounts of history by creating searchable text for primary sources. Expert librarians and curators at the Newberry will also share their expertise on early-20th century social activism.

Your collaboration will aid researchers around the world in finding, searching, and analyzing these unique primary sources, helping to build and share a fuller understanding of our past. Volunteering, service, and collaboration are also common themes in the content of the documents you will see. Along with the papers of early-20th century social reformers currently online at Newberry Transcribe, we’ll be adding more than 2,500 handwritten pages from the collection of Graham Taylor (1851-1938), a leader of the settlement house movement and the founder of Chicago Commons. Correspondence with notables like Jane Addams, Clarence Darrow, and Henry Ford—as well as with the little-known parishioners, social workers, committee members, and others who helped operate the Commons—cover topics including immigration, labor, civic reform, and public health in early 20th-century Chicago.

No transcribing experience is necessary! Everyone is welcome. You can choose to drop in for a bit or stay for the whole session.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [CAGML-247293-OMLS-20].


Alison Hinderliter is the Lloyd Lewis Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives. Hinderliter will talk about the Newberry's social activism collections, with a focus on reformer Graham Taylor.

Jill Gage is the Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing. Gage will discuss handwriting in 20th-century archival material.

Kara Johnson is the Director of Teacher Programs. Johnson will focus on how manuscripts and transcription resources can be used in teaching resources.

Cost and Registration

This program is free and open to all. Advance registration required.

In-Person Registration

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Past Public Programs

Check out video recordings of past Newberry public programs on our YouTube channel.


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