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About the project

Decipher History uncovers the lives of people in the past. Engaging with history is worth it – that’s why these materials are here! Take a moment to make the past accessible to everyone.

The diaries, letters and other materials that have been digitized for this project are from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century. All of them are handwritten, showing the personality of the authors and the journeys the letters and diaries had before arriving in Special Collections at Milner Library. Additional collections are being digitized and will be added to Decipher History.

Crowdsourcing the effort to transcribe these and other handwritten, historical artifacts is important because without your help, these materials would likely never be searchable.  To participate, simply type in the box below the scanned pages what they say. After you’ve finished, press the “Edit transcription” button, and your transcription will be sent to Milner staff.

The fully transcribed collections will be uploaded to our Digital Collections, where the text will be completely searchable by future researchers.

Please help us to make these materials more accessible. We greatly appreciate it.

Questions? Contact us at milnerspc@illinoisstate.edu