Mental Floss

Help Digitize History by Transcribing World War I-Era Love Letters

Michele Debczak
British postcard from World War I. Image credit: Europeana
British postcard from World War I. Image credit: Europeana / British postcard from World War I. Image credit: Europeana
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In addition to bringing about groundbreaking technological advancements and hot fashion trends, World War I also produced some deliciously sappy love letters. Now, as Hyperallergic reports, Europeana is asking for help adding some of them to their digital archive. The online cultural heritage platform is hosting a “Love Letter Run,” calling on the public to transcribe romantic correspondences dating back to the First World War.

The project is part of Europeana’s World War I transcription initiative running through the end of the war’s centennial in 2018. The site’s announcement reads:

“As the First World War raged on, so did the hearts of the husbands, wives, and lovers of Europe[…]In the Love Letter Run, we present you stories of romance and betrayal, of lust and longing, heartbreak and new beginnings – all the makings of your favourite melodrama, but from genuine handwritten sources of real, lived experiences.”

Documents in English, French, German, Dutch, Croatian, Slovenian, and Greek are waiting to be transcribed. In the collection, readers will find poems, postcards, and even an illustrated book of love songs that belonged to a French soldier. Check out some highlights from Europeana’s archive below:

French songbook

German postcard from a soldier to his mistress.

A note from a French soldier written on a poppy flower.

Letter written in German from a soldier to his wife.

[h/t Hyperallergic]All images courtesy of Europeana.

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