Citizen Archivist Initiative

In 2015, the NH Citizen Archivist Initiative was established thanks to a grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission– The National Archives.  Today, it remains a unique and important collaboration between the Historical Society of Cheshire County, Keene State College, the NH State Archives, the NH State Library, regional schools, and the general public.

The purpose of the initiative is to train youth and adults to become “citizen archivists,” to transcribe New Hampshire historical documents to make them more accessible for research, publication, exhibition, and educational programming.

Check out these opportunities to participate:


Schools: Transcribe Documents in the Classroom

The Citizen Archivist Initiative seeks to partner schools with their local historical societies in order to digitize primary sources for use in the classroom.  A series of five lessons introduce students to 18th-19th century handwriting, the importance of primary sources, how to transcribe historic documents, and how to interpret them to gain a greater understanding of American history through a local lens.

Lessons Created by: Kelly  Budd and Elizabeth Watson, Keene High School, Keene, NH, 2015.
Advisory team:  Jeremy Robinson of Monadnock Regional High School in Swanzey, NH; Margaret Orelup, Rodney Obien, and John Lund of Keene State College in Keene, NH; Eric Stinbring of Keene Middle School in Keene, NH; Jennifer Carroll of Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene, NH.


Five Lessons & Additional Resources
General Public: Sign Up to Become a Citizen Archivist

NH State Archivist Brian Buford with Citizen Archivist


Do you have a couple of hours a month to volunteer from home?! If so then YOU TOO can become a Citizen Archivist! Consider volunteering for the Historical Society of Cheshire County to transcribe letters and diaries to make them accessible to the public.


1. You’ll be providing public access to the personal narrative of a man or woman who lived years ago.
2. You’ll have a cool new title, Citizen Archivist.
3. You’ll have your name published online beside the transcription you created.
4. You’ll be volunteering for an amazing NH non-profit, The Historical Society of Cheshire County, whose goal is to provide an place for people to make discoveries and connect to local history– which is totally priceless.


1. We post a letter that needs adopting on our Citizen Archivist Facebook page.
2. You indicate that you’d like to adopt it in the comments section of the post.
3. We’ll send you a scanned copy of the original letter/diary entry along with some background information about the person and instructions for transcribing.
4. You email it back to us and we’ll send it to Keene State College to post online.

NH Citizen Archivist Facebook Page



1. Email the historical society to indicate your interest in transcribing historic documents from home.
2. We’ll send you a welcome packet with training material as well as your 1st scanned copy of an original document.
3. You transcribe it using the rules for transcription we’ve given you and then email it back to us and we’ll send it to Keene State College to post online.

Email Us


View some of the archival collections that are now accessible thanks to our team of Citizen Archivists!

NH President Meshech Weare

Civil War Officer
Charles Wilcox of Keene

Author & Publisher
Dudley Leavitt

1880s Female Farmer
Addie Noyes

13-Year Old Jewish Girl
Florence Aliber Lipsky

1850 Teacher
Martha Willson