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The American Soldier in World War II project is looking for volunteers to help with the transcription of handwritten, one-of-a-kind documents.
The American Soldier in World War II, directed by Dr. Edward Gitre of Virginia Tech, is a project to make available to scholars and to the public a remarkable collection of written reflections on war and military service by American soldiers who served during the Second World War. In its efforts to mobilize, train, equip, and lead the largest fighting force in the nation's history, the US War Department created an in-house Army Research Branch (ARB) staffed and advised by the country's leading social and behavioral scientists.
Tens of thousands of these men and women not only filled out the Branch's surveys, but they were eager to offer additional advice, praise, and criticism, and to share their personal stories of serving in America's "citizen-soldier" Army. What did these soldiers think about the food they were served, the uniforms they were issued, the quality of medical care they received, as well as about leadership and combat, furloughs and leave, or about the training they received? How did African Americans from the North feel about being stationed in the South? How did male troops feel about women in uniform?
The project is currently hosted on the 1.9-million-member Zooniverse crowdsourcing platform, where volunteer “citizen archivists” can log in at any time to transcribe pages. Our goal is to have the entire collection of some 65,000 pages transcribed in triplicate by the anniversary of VE Day, 8 May 2020, exactly two years after our launch.
With your help, we will meet our goal. There is no minimum number of pages you must complete. Each page makes a difference.
We have had excellent success with using the project in the following ways:
- As a graded assignment in classes (particularly in World War II, War and Society, and other classes)
- For “transcribathons” with local and regional Veterans Affairs, local libraries, and other civic institutions
- As part of history clubs, veterans clubs, and other campus clubs
If you would like more information on how we have integrated the project into the classroom or otherwise, please feel free to reach out to Jessica Brabble at email@example.com, or Dr. Edward Gitre at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn a bit more, read Dr. Gitre’s interview with Business Insider.