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John M. Olin Library, Room 142

Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon

Save the Date graphic for Douglass Day 2024

Drop in for a collaborative digital transcribe-a-thon in celebration of Frederick Douglass’s birthday. We will be transcribing the correspondence of Frederick Douglass, noted abolitionist, orator, and U.S. Ambassador to Haiti. 

Together with Douglass Day events across the country, we will attempt to transcribe all 8,731 pages in one day! Volunteers will be available to assist you with learning to operate the digital transcription interface.

What is Douglass Day?

Every Valentine’s Day, the organizers of Douglass Day hold a transcribe-a-thon to honor Frederick Douglass’s birthday. Although Douglass never knew his birthdate, he chose to celebrate every year on February 14. 

Since the first transcribe-a-thon in 2017, the Douglass Day organizers have hosted local and national events to transcribe important collections of manuscripts related to the life of African Americans as well as the papers of key figures of Black history. These events represent a moment to participate in and celebrate the preservation of African American intellectual history firsthand.


We encourage you to bring a laptop or tablet; some computers will be available. A selection of Haitian dishes will be served for lunch, refreshments, and birthday cake will be provided. Free and open to all; feel free to come and go as you need to during the event’s duration. Registration is requested.

Sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Washington University Libraries, and the WashU & Slavery Project.

Archives of Resistance Event Series

The Archives of Resistance event series immerses participants in the history of people who resisted slavery and oppression through stories that are emerging from the archives. 

Through short film, advocacy work, exhibitions, and access to primary sources, participants will gain understanding and contribute to the preservation of important collections and research. 

Discover the carefully-researched story of Eliza Rone’s pursuit of freedom in a short film; celebrate Frederick Douglass’s birthday by helping to make his papers accessible to all online, view the Slavery in St. Louis and other related exhibitions and learn about William Wells Brown’s anti-slavery publications held in Special Collections. 

Slavery in St. Louis exhibition

Upcoming Exhibitions
Map of the Missouri Compromise 1820 from the Library of Congress.

Slavery in St. Louis

This exhibition details slavery in St. Louis through primary documents, images, and individual stories from 1764 to the Reconstruction era.

View Exhibition