Allen: Volunteers transcribed nearly 2,000 Branch Rickey scouting reports at the Library of Congress

From Scott Allen at the Washington Post on March 27, 2019:

A year ago, the Library of Congress finished digitizing nearly 2,000 scouting reports written by Branch Rickey, the former Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates general manager who helped break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947 by signing Jackie Robinson to a minor league contract two years earlier.

The reports, which include blunt assessments of players such as Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski, comprise a small fraction of the Rickey papers in the Library’s collection, but provide a fascinating window into the mind of one of baseball’s shrewdest scouts. Thanks to a horde of volunteers, 14 years’ worth of Rickey’s assessments are now more accessible and searchable than ever before.

In October, the Library of Congress launched By the People, an online platform where anyone is invited to transcribe, review, and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typed materials from various collections to make them more discoverable by the general public. Since then, more than 4,000 volunteers have helped transcribe some 30,000 pages, including letters to Abraham Lincoln, parts of Clara Barton’s diaries, the personal papers of NAACP co-founder Mary Church Terrell and writings by disabled Civil War veterans.

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Originally published: April 12, 2019. Last Updated: April 12, 2019.