Transcribing Civil War correspondence at the New Hanover County Public Library

Contributed by Travis Souther

One of the incredible collections in the New Hanover County Public Library’s care is the Cowan-Denson Family Papers, a collection of correspondence from just before and during the Civil War.  In addition to military concerns, notably the Battles of Fort Fisher where a family member actually took part, the letters also discuss civilian life in North Carolina during the conflict.  The family had connections to both Wilmington and Pittsboro (Pittsboro being the location of a plantation).  198 pieces of correspondence from the collection were previously digitized but never transcribed.  With the library closed to the public due to the pandemic, Souther reached out to the community to assist with the transcription of the letters.  This crowdsourcing initiative has generated great interest and has already proven to be a great success.  The digital collection can be accessed at the following link: http://cdm16072.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15169coll7

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