Transcribing by the Dozen

 

Transcribing by the Dozen

I have been working on Decmposing Bodies for over a month now and I have noticed interesting facts about the Ohio State Reformatory prisoners. I noticed the majority of the cards I transcribed had crime and occupation written on them and that both characteristics varied some but not too much; I became curious if these two characteristics had any correlation. After transcribing numerous cards, my interst grew and I wanted to know more about why these supposedly ordinary people went to prison and if their jobs gave them the influence over why they committed the crimes they did. I discussed my interest and opinion of the cards with my FER partner Joe Jang and it turned out he wanted to uncover the same information while adding prisoners complexion into the analysis. I never thought about adding complexion to the mix but it made sense to consider one's skin color as a characteristic that could influence why the crime was committed. 

Joe and I brainstormed what we wanted to accomplish with this project and as a jumpstart into our potential research project, we decided that after every transcription, we would record the prisoner's occupation, complexion, and crime into a google document shared between Joe, Sarah Hackney, and me. We have been cataloging our findings on this google document for roughly two weeks and we have over 300 cards transcribed. I analyzed the data we collected so far and found that most of the prisoners had Labor as an occupation, a large portion were of fair complexion, and the most committed crime was burglary, which was often committed alongside larceny. The photos I added are two exapmles of prisoners that had all three characteristics that I noted were the majority out of all the cards transcribed. 

Joe and I still have numerous cards to transcribe but we have given each other a foundation to build on top of, making the transcription process quicker, easier and meaningful. Hopefully this trend of fair laborers committing burglary and larceny will continue or maybe a handful of cards will tip the scale into a different combination of occupation, crime and complexion. 

Categories: 
  • Visual Knowledge
  • Decomposing Bodies
  • Undergraduate Work