A Tale of Two Members from the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26

American Legion Auxiliary Drill Corps photograph. American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26, 2004-07, Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library, Davenport, Iowa.

Over this past Memorial Day, we have been reflecting on people who served and supported their country during peace and war times. In our Archive and Manuscript Collections, we have many collections that recall and record personal and organizational accounts of service. In this blog, we would like to spotlight a specific group that started in 1919 and two of its members.

The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) is an auxiliary organization of The American Legion composed of women who served and supported the nation and spouses of American war veterans who wanted to continue to support their country and community as they did during times of conflict. Founded in 1919, the ALA is dedicated to supporting “The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad” (“History“). This 100-year-old organization is founded on a spirit of service, not self. Over the course of their history, they have advocated for veterans, educated our citizens, mentored youth, and promoted patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security (“History“).

Davenport was no different than many American cities that had citizens wishing they could show support for their country and armed forces. The local unit of The American Legion Auxiliary were an active group within the community and abroad. They presented plays, coordinated veterans’ funerals, developed a drill team of some renown, and more.

Zella Cox and Edith Lucier were early members of The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26 who served at home and aboard to share patriotism and support of the United States Armed Forces. Even though we are only sharing stories about two women, there are many more who helped develop this organization into a flourishing asset in the Quad Cities community.

Zella Dee (Edwards) Cox was born on August 2, 1902 in Belle Plaine, Iowa to Lambourne A. and Abigail Jane (Webb) Edwards. She was married to Charles H. Cox on February 18, 1922. Zella was an active member of the local unit of the American Legion Auxiliary where she served in many different capacities and assisted with a multitude of events throughout her sixty years of service. She was at one time appointed the chairman of a committee.

Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1940, Records from 1922 for Zella Cox.
“Heads Champion Drill Team of the Legion Auxiliary.” The Democrat and Leader. October 11, 1928, page 7.

Edith R. Lucier was born September 15, 1903 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin to Henry and Bertha (Vogt/Voight) Lucier. She married Martin D. Leir on May 29, 1937. Edith was a graduate of the Immaculate Conception Academy in Davenport. She was a bookkeeper at Samuels Jewelry Office for 45 years. She had one child with Martin named Charles M.

Zella and Edith demonstrated the perseverance and skill to serve on various committees and groups within the local unit. They were also active members who were able to travel abroad with the Drill Team.

The documents below show Zella and Edith’s names on the passenger lists from the Cedric, a sister ship to the Celtic and was 685 feet long, documenting their travel overseas.

In 1927, the Drill Corps or the “singing legionaires” attended the opening session of the American Legion Convention in Paris, France. In our collection, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26, we have a scrapbook created by Zella detailing the young women’s adventures across the United States and Europe and many photographs taken of the notable group. There were many articles and photographs taken of the Drill Corps from Davenport, Iowa. Here are a few images from the collection.

During their lives these women dedicated themselves to many causes where the American Legion Auxiliary was only one of them. Zella Cox and Edith (Lucier) Leir lives were celebrated with obituaries published respectfully in the Quad-City Times on May 10, 1984, and May 19, 1998.


American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26, 2004-07, Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library, Davenport, Iowa.

(posted by Kathryn)

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Mayflower Families: Edward Doty

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony. Commemorative publications, programs, and tours are planned in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands by various organizations, including the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Plymouth 400, Inc.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about our resources for different Mayflower families throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the descendants of Plymouth Colony’s resident troublemaker, Edward Doty!

Edward Doty is believed to have been born sometime between 1597-1602. He married Faith Clarke on 06 January 1635 in Plymouth. Edward died on 23 August 1655.

Doty arrived at Plymouth as a servant to Stephen Hopkins. He was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact. Edward participated in Plymouth Colony’s first duel against fellow Hopkins servant Edward Leister in June 1621. His name appears in several court records for disagreements with his neighbors. 

The first generation of Edward Doty descendants:

  1. Edward, born ca. 1636 in Plymouth, married Sarah Faunce on 25 February 1662 in Plymouth.
  2. John, born ca. 1638 in Plymouth, married Elizabeth Cooke ca. 1668 in Plymouth, married Sarah Jones on 22 November 1694 in Plymouth.
  3. Thomas, born ca. 1640 in Plymouth, married Mary Churchill ca. 1675 in Plymouth.
  4. Samuel, born ca. 1642 in Plymouth, married Jeane Harman on 13 November 1678, in Piscataway, New Jersey.
  5. Desire, born ca. 1645 in Plymouth, married William Sherman on 25 December 1667 in Marshfield, married Israel Holmes on 24 November 1681 in Marshfield, married Alexander Standish ca. 1689.
  6. Elizabeth, born ca. 1646 in Plymouth, married John Rowse on 13 January 1674 in Marshfield, married William Carver on 28 January 1718 in Marshfield. 
  7. Isaac, born 08 February 1648 in Plymouth, married Elizabeth England ca. 1673 
  8. Joseph, b. 30 April 1651 in Plymouth, married Deborah Ellis ca. 1674, married Sarah (Woodin) Edwards on 05 March 1711 in Rochester. 
  9. Mary, born ca. 1653 in Plymouth, married Samuel Hatch on 10 July 1677

Want to learn more about Edward Doty’s descendants? Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through volume 11 of Mayflower Families through five generations (SC 929.2 May).


(posted by Cristina)

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Mayflower Families: William Brewster

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony. Commemorative publications, programs, and tours are planned in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands by various organizations, including the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Plymouth 400, Inc.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about our resources for different Mayflower families throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the descendants of William Brewster!

William Brewster was born ca. 1566 near Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England. He married Mary [surname unknown] ca. 1592 near Scrooby. Brewster died on April 10, 1644, in Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Brewster was one of the church elders, leaving England for Amsterdam in 1608 and settling in Leiden, Holland in 1609. While in Holland he operated a printing press and published religious books and pamphlets which were illegally distributed in England.

The first generation of William Brewster descendants:

  1. Jonathan, born 12 August 1593 near Scrooby, married Lucretia Oldman of Darby on 10 April 1624 in Plymouth.
  2. Patience, born ca. 1603 near Scrooby, married Thomas Prence on 05 August 1624 in Plymouth, the 9th marriage at New Plymouth.
  3. Fear, born ca. 1605 near Scrooby, married Isaac Allerton ca. 1627 in Plymouth.
  4. Love, born ca. 1607 near Scrooby, married Sarah Collier on May 15, 1634, in Plymouth.
  5. [unknown], died 20 June 1609, buried in St. Pancras, Leiden, Holland.
  6. Wrestling, born ca. 1611 in Leiden, Holland; died between 1627-1651.

Want to learn more about William Brewster’s descendants? Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through SC 929.2 May


(posted by Cristina)

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Mayflower Families: William Bradford

Just as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony. Commemorative publications, programs, and tours are planned in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands by various organizations, including the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Plymouth 400, Inc.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about our resources for different Mayflower families throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the descendants of William Bradford!

William Bradford was born 19 March 1590 in Austerfield, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. He married Dorothy May of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on 10 December 1613 in Amsterdam, Holland. Dorothy died on 07 December 1620. Bradford then married Alice (Carpenter) Southworth on 16 August 1623 in Plymouth. William Bradford died on 08 May 1657 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

Bradford was governor of Plymouth Colony from 1621-1657. He was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact. His journal, “Of Plymouth Plantation”, is considered the most authoritative account of the pilgrims and the early years of Plymouth Colony. 

The first generation of William Bradford descendants:

  1. John, born ca. 1617 in Holland, married Martha Bourne ca. 1650 in Plymouth.
  2. William, born 17 June 1624 in Plymouth, married Alice Richards ca. 1650 in Plymouth. Married Sarah Griswold ca. 1675. Married Mary (Wood) Holmes after 07 March 1676.
  3. Mercy, born ca. 1627 in Plymouth, married Benjamin Vermayes on 21 December 1648 in Plymouth.
  4. Joseph, born ca. 1630 in Plymouth, married Jael Hobart on 25 May 1664 in Plymouth.

Want to learn more about William Bradford’s descendants? Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through SC 929.2 May


(posted by Cristina)

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May Day, MayDay: Saving Our Archives

May 1st to some symbolizes the start of bright, sunny weather and flowers peeking their heads from their leaves. To others, it reminds them of the tradition of children surprising friends with special baskets with flowers, popcorn, and treats. The phrase MayDay is also recognized as a cry for help derived from the French term m’aidez, which is precisely the reason why the Society of American Archivists (SAA) dedicated this day as a call to action for librarians, archivists and other cultural heritage professionals to think about their emergency and disaster preparedness plans for their institutions and organizations.

Natural and man-made disasters have the potential to damage or destroy cultural and historical collections. Without an emergency plan in place many institutions, organizations, and even individuals may not be able to save as many of their collections as they may have liked. MayDay Initiative is a day when professionals and individuals must take time to review or take action in planning for emergencies. The awareness of risks (i.e., water, fire, pests, natural disasters) can help mitigate the potential damage affected by any type of emergency.

We can accomplish this in small ways such as examining where we store items, making a list of where all the materials are housed (both physical and digital), knowing were piping and fire suppression is located, making a list of local emergency responders, and more. There are several resources one can use when assembling an emergency plan, such as Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)’s Emergency Management: 3.3 Emergency Planning, SAA’s Annotated Resources and Ideas for MayDay Activities, and the Library of Congress’s Emergency Management documents.

In Iowa during times of emergencies, cultural repositories can call upon the expertise of Iowa Museums, Archives, and Libraries Emergency Response Team (IMALERT). Their mission is to “to respond to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state and local agencies, vendors, and the public.

In the summer of 2019, we had a water emergency on our public floor. A water fountain had started to leak water on a day that staff was off for a holiday. On the following day, one of our staff members found a not-so-fun surprise awaiting her. Here is a quote from the staff member who handled the emergency:

I arrived to find our custodian setting orange cones about and looking a bit bewildered. A quick look around the water fountain area and a short conversation later, I was looking for a shop vac and seeing where the water had migrated. I was able to ascertain the materials in the nearby map cases were not damaged as there was about a 4” base keeping the bottom drawer high and dry, and the water that had moved into the closed stack area was well below the raised flooring.

From then on it was just a matter of using the vacuum and figuring out how to empty it before it got too heavy for me to handle! By the time I did that, more help had arrived!

Know where your emergency equipment is stored! I couldn’t find the shop vac and lost some valuable minutes there. Keep calm and carry on!

Our disaster was a minor one which thankfully did not damage any materials. From this incident, we did get to rearrange our space to make a space for better access to our archives and manuscripts and for instruction.

Archives Alcove in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center


May Day! May Day!Primary Selections from Special Collections. The Davenport Public Library, May 1 2008.

(posted by Kathryn)

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“Find Your Place” in US Census Data!

Happy National Library Week! This year’s theme is “Find Your Place at the Library,” and we are taking the opportunity to highlight some of the resources available at the RSSC Center that can help you do just that! The special service that our department of the DPL provides in this regard is showing you how to locate “your place” at points of time in the past.  Is your place a home or a business property in Davenport? With city directories, newspaper articles, city building permits, maps, photographs, and even, in some cases, architectural drawings in our collection, we can help you trace its history.  Is your place as a member of a community organization? We have records of groups like the Tuesday Club going back to the 19th century.  Is your place on a family tree with roots in Scott County?  We have vital records, naturalization records, court records, and more to help you fill in your ancestry charts.

The current effort to encourage participation in the 2020 Census suggests you might also imagine your “place” in terms of one of the categories of information the US government collects about its population. Are you or one of your ancestors a member of a group of people defined by age, sex, race, ethnicity, ancestry, citizenship status, income level, or level of educational attainment? Census resources in Special Collections can help you find out!

For example, you might use the US Census records available on our Ancestry Library database to find out more about an ancestor’s neighbors in the past. For a 2018 blog post in honor of Women’s History Month, I examined the 1910 Census via Ancestry to discover information about the lives of women of various ethnicities living in Davenport at that time. Perhaps one of the Hungarian women who kept a boarding house for her countrymen laboring in Davenport then was your great-grandmother?

With US Census Bureau publications from our Government Documents collection such as U.S. Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin, 1990 to 1997, you might discover more about the identity group in which you or one of your family members fit. How does your individual experience compare to the conditions reported about other black Hispanic children who grew up in the United States during the 1990’s?

Print publications that make use of federal census data like Iowa 2000 Summary Population and Housing Characteristics from the U.S. Department of Commerce includes maps showing areas in Iowa where Native Americans resided in 2000. Were you or one of your relatives among them?

Although the Ancestry database, the microfiche reader, and Special Collections reading room space are unavailable due to the DPL’s COVID-19 emergency closing, our staff is still poised to copy and deliver US Census and other information to you via email. Send us a message or give us a call with your request!

However, if you feel like striking out on your own to “find your place” within the world of US Census data from the comfort of your own home during quarantine, the Census Bureau has recently expanded its online offerings. You can search for the same publications you might find in Government Documents on topics such as education, employment, housing, income and poverty, as well as population by age, ancestry, ethnicity, race, and sex, in the Census.gov Library. Many of these provide insight into aspects of American society going further back into the past, such as Women in Gainful Occupations, 1870 to 1920 (1929) and the series of P23 reports on the Social and Economic Status of Negroes in the United States in the early 1970s.

Just last month, on March 25th, the Census Bureau released the P25 set of publications online. These are reports of population estimates and projections going back to the 1940’s. A downloadable index can be found here.

You can also find publications reviewing historical census data, such as this one:

The online Library also contains “Infographics and Visualizations” based on more recent data from programs like the American Community Survey, including this map showing different concentrations of people reporting Irish ancestry throughout the country:

Some of these are interactive: you can zoom in to Scott County, Iowa on this map to learn about the concentrations of poverty in our area between the years of 2014 and 2018.

Perhaps most exciting of all is the new (March 31st) platform, data.census.gov, which allows you direct access to Census Bureau data sets of all kinds for several different levels of geography. For example, to compare information about the foreign-born population in Scott County, Iowa, and Rock Island County, Illinois, in the 2018 ACS, you can search for the Geographic Profile of each place, limiting results to those in the “People and Population” section, and downloading the final visualization.

This table breaks down the 2018 ACS estimate of the people in Davenport reporting a single ancestry by specific nationalities/ethnicities. Not surprisingly, estimates of those with German (10,710) and Irish (4,002) ancestry are at the top.

The Census Bureau offers plenty of support for those who wish to explore data.census.gov, including “Census Academy” webinars such as “How to Access Race, Ethnicity, Foreign Born, and Ancestry Data.”

We hope you will check out these US Census data resources! Enjoy the journey to your or your family members’ “place” within our country’s past and present life!

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Spring Cleaning and DIY Ideas: April 1920 style

With many of us cleaning out closets and doing a few Do It Yourself projects around the house; we thought we would share some advertising suggestions from April 1920.

We hope you enjoy the look back.

Before any Spring cleaning or DIY proroject, the best place to start is to purchase the right supplies. A trip to the store for these accessories was important even in 1920.

The Daily Times, April 7, 2020. Pg. 11

If you started early in the morning, the laundry and a little baking might be have been a good start to the day. Feel free to try the recipes below!

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, April 21, 1920. Pg. 6.
The Daily Times, April 15, 1920. Pg. 15.

Nice weather might have encouraged a really big Do It Yourself project in 1920. We aren’t sure, but you might have needed another person to help with this project.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, April 7, 1920. Pg. 14

If you weren’t ready for the big DIY project like building your own garage, there were smaller projects that would have kept you busy outdoors. Spring was a fine time to whitewash and disinfect your poultry house. And purchasing and installing new screens for a screened-in porch would have had you sitting mosquito-free by summer.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, April 11, 1920. Pg. 27.
The Daily Times, April 17, 1920. Pg. 2.

Don’t forget planting your garden and maintaining your lawn. Two important events that would have needed your attention through the Fall.

The Daily Times, April 8, 1920. Pg. 2.
The Daily Times, April 9, 1920. Pg. 10.

If the day was rainy, snowy, or windy (all of those things may happen in April even today), a few indoor projects would have kept you busy as well. A little vacuuming, cleaning of wallpaper, and sewing of summer outfits would all be tasks to complete.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, April 18, 1920. Pg. 16.
The Daily Times, April 12, 1920. Pg. 4.
The Democrat and Leader, April 14, 1920. Pg. 7.

By the end of the day, it would be time to start dinner (with the help of a new electric refrigerator if you were fortunate).

The Daily Times, April 30, 1920. Pg. 21.

After dinner and dishes, maybe you would freshen up your nails or relax listening to the music from a new phonograph. If it was nice outside, you might have taken a seat on your new screened-in porch!

The Daily Times, April 7, 1920. Pg. 17.
The Daily Times, April 12, 1920. Pg. 7.

And, if you were still sore from your day of Spring cleaning and DIY projects; there was still one way to get a good night’s sleep – a home visit from a local chiropractor.

The Daily Times, April 7, 1920. Pg. 18.

We hope this might inspire your Spring cleaning and Do It Yourself projects this month.

(posted by Amy D.)

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In Memoriam: Fran Riley

It was in 1978 that a new reporter moved to the Quad Cities to take a job with popular local radio station KSTT. When he made this move, Fran Riley most likely never imagined he would spend the next 41 years broadcasting to us until his retirement in November 2019.

Though his first job was at KSTT working alongside future radio legend Spike O’Dell, Fran soon moved on to local television news where he would remain for the rest of his career.

He showed up on our television screens as a member of the KWQC-TV broadcasting team in 1994. He reported on a variety of subjects from sports to local stories. Fran found a special place at KWQC when he started a segment called Fran Riley Features. These segments were filled with interesting people and locations from around the Quad Cities.

Born Francis Anthony Riley in Boston Massachusetts on September 30, 1953. He was the son of John F and Grace (Avery) Riley. He attended Emerson College and graduated with honors. Fran soon began his journey after college into broadcasting that would lead him to the Quad Cities.

“The Heart of the Matter,” Quad City Time, December18, 2006, page 42

Over the years, we assisted Fran in finding information about the various topics he was featuring on his segments.

“Will the real Fran Riley please stand up?” Quad City Times, January 3, 2003, page 4.

Receiving a call that Fran was looking for information and a visit to the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Department always put a smile on our faces. We knew, besides incredible reporting skills, a visit with Fran meant smiles and laughter. It didn’t matter if it was your first time working with Fran or your twentieth, he made you feel like an old friend. That skill of connecting with those around him will be greatly missed.

To learn more about the life of Fran Riley, please read his obituary from Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home and the article, “Longtime KWQC reporter/anchor Fran Riley has passed away” from KWQC.

Our sympathies go out to his family. Thank you, Fran, for sharing your kindness, humor, and love of history with us through the years.

(posted by Kathryn and Amy)

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Free Genealogy Webinars

I’ve been working from home this week and have had the opportunity to participate in some interesting and insightful FREE genealogy webinars. I will now share some of what I learned with all of you!

Telling the Stories of Our Lives: Talking with Family Members about Their History

On Tuesday, I attended a webinar presented by the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center about their oral history project, Life Stories. Their website has everything you need to conduct a successful family history interview, from questions to ask from StoryCorps, advice on better listening and communicating techniques, and even suggestions for equipment and apps to use for recording your interview. The webinar was conducted via Zoom and it was my first experience with that platform.

Betty Jean’s Story: Forensic Genealogy, DNA, and Adoption

I spent April Fools’ Day listening to Betty Jean’s Story This Legacy Family Tree webinar about using DNA to find an adoptee’s birth family was presented by genetic genealogy expert, Mags Gaulden of Grandma’s Genes. A big takeaway from this webinar was learning about WikiTree, a collaborative website used for forensic genealogy. They have a Genealogist-to-Genealogist forum where anyone can ask questions. There are people called “Search Angels” who volunteer to help adoptees with their genealogy search.

Resources of the DAR: Beyond Revolutionary War Soldiers

Friday’s webinar was about the amazing online databases from the Daughters of the American Revolution, presented by D. Joshua Taylor from the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. With the Genealogical Research System, you can search for DAR Patriots and as well as their descendants. They have an Ancestor Child Search for when you have someone who was too young to participate in the Revolutionary War, but suspect their father might be a patriot. You can order DAR applications and supplemental documentation, which can include information you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, such as family bibles and information from gravestones that might now be illegible.

Take advantage of the many FREE live webinars available this month while we are all practicing social distancing and sheltering in place. A great place to find information on upcoming webinars is the GeneaWebinars calendar.

GeneaWebinars features a handy, dandy calendar with links to genealogy webinars, hangouts, meetings, podcasts, livestreams, and virtual workshops. A lot of them are free webinars presented by Legacy Family Tree, DearMyrtle, and many state and county genealogical societies. The calendar makes it easy to find online learning opportunities without having to spend time searching all over the World Wide Web. Each entry includes everything you need to know about the event and lets you copy the information to your personal calendar. Check out the GeneaWebinars calendar for upcoming FREE online learning opportunities.

(posted by Cristina)

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Crowdsourcing Transcription and Indexing Projects to Work on While Sheltering in Place

If you need a break from Netflix, reading, crafting, disinfecting, and sterilizing during the COVID-19 quarantine, there are many volunteer indexing and transcription opportunities available online.

Indexing and transcribing can be a rewarding pastime for genealogists and local historians. If you have a student at home who could use some practice reading cursive, you could work on some of these projects together! These diaries, letters, and historical documents are primary source materials that will help researchers for years to come and you can help make them accessible to everyone.

FamilySearch Indexing Projects

When I started researching my family history it wasn’t as easy as typing in a name and clicking on a leaf. FamilySearch had digitized the records I needed, but they had not been indexed yet. I had to browse through volumes of vital records for each municipality and read every page to find the records I was looking for. Over the years, volunteers have worked on indexing these records so that they can be searchable. If you want to help other genealogists find the records they need, try indexing on FamilySearch!

US, Puerto Rico—Civil Registration, 1885–2001 [Part A]

U.S. National Archives – Citizen Archivist

From their website: “You can contribute to the National Archives Catalog by tagging, transcribing, and adding comments to their records, making them more accessible and searchable.” They have “missions” and featured records covering different topics that you can choose from. I typed “Davenport Iowa” in the search bar and found this survey for an Air Force Academy in Davenport written by the Corps of Engineers in 1950. I chose this record because I had been reading about the Air Force Academy recently while doing research on an individual photographed in one of our Hostetler portraits.

Record Group 341: Records of Headquarters U.S. Air Force (Air Staff), 1934 – 2004
Series: Reports Regarding Proposed Air Force Academy Site Selection, 1950 – 1950
File Unit: Davenport, Iowa, 1950

Other documents that would be of interest to Quad City historians are the Architectural/Historical Survey sites for Davenport prepared by the City’s CPED Historic Preservation division in the late 1970s-early 1980s.

Record Group 79: Records of the National Park Service, 1785 – 2006
Series: National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 – 2017
File Unit: National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: Iowa

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers

If you’re up for a more challenging project, try the Smithsonian’s Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project. These papers include lists, letters, tables, notes, handwritten documents, and typed documents. The Smithsonian provides detailed instructions on how to transcribe tables and pages with footnotes or notes on the margins. You can volunteer to transcribe or review transcriptions done by other volunteers. The Smithsonian also has many other transcription projects available, including Sally Ride’s Space Shuttle training notes, and a variety of diaries, correspondence, and magazines.

These documents come from the Records of the Field Offices for the State of North Carolina, Series 4.4: Subordinate Field Offices: Charlotte (Freedmen’s Hospital)

University of Iowa Libraries – DIY History

The University of Iowa Libraries’ DIY History project asks volunteers to transcribe, translate, add tags, or add comments to digitized manuscripts from their collections. You can browse through their topics and select what you would like to transcribe: War Diary & Letters, Early Iowa Lives, University Life, Social Justice, Early Manuscripts, Keith-Albee Collection, Hevelin Fanzines, and Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts & Cookbooks. I typed in “Davenport” in the search bar and found some local items to transcribe.

For this example, I transcribed and translated a page from Ernest Rodriguez’ “Impressions” 1960s-1980s, from Ernest Rodriguez papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Happy Transcribing!

(posted by Cristina)

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