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Voices Through Time

United Kingdom’s Docs Voices Through Time

Voices Through Time is a four year project that is revealing untold stories about the lives of children and young people who lived at the Foundling Hospital, the first UK home for children whose mothers were unable to care for them, which started in 1739. Crowdsourcers helped uncover this history by transcribing some newly digitized records from the vast Foundling Hospital archive collection. Over the years, thousands of precious records will be digitized and transcribed. These will include petition letters from mothers seeking entry for their children to the Hospital, and billet books which contain fabric tokens left by the mothers as a symbol of their love and connection to their children. Coram’s records date back nearly 300 years, over which time there have been huge shifts in attitudes and behaviors across society. These attitudes and behaviors are often reflected in the language that was used, for example the use of terms that are no longer acceptable today. This includes language around race, disability, sexuality and gender. While these words are shocking to modern readers, it is important to recognize the historical context. Additionally, some words and phrases have changed meaning completely or are used in a different way today. This project presents interesting areas for social and linguistic research. There are areas to talk about crowdsourcing/transcribing issues and a repository of the collections already transcribed.

Type of practice/case Archivists Researchers of Zooniverse
Year of implementation Ongoing
Language English
Target General public and scholars

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