I love the Smithsonian. Transcription for them is a service activity for those too physically awkward to be efficient at sorting frozen meat the way Tom Scharpling does. And currently, it's a laughing yoga pickmeup exercise since they just released the scans of Phyllis Diller's gag file for transcription.
I sort ten, I write five jokes to structures learned from transcribing or reviewing the cards. It's a great way to study comedy or a fun way to spend a break.
The only thing that makes me sad is, I was sorting Mary McBride's Fang jokes and she gave Fang depression. I think I read about this in the book Comedy Writing Step By Step, and if you read this book you will find any number of references it made within this joke file since the author wrote jokes for Phyllis Diller for many years. I suppose back in the 60s people were only discussing depression in a cartoonish way or weren't mentioning it really? It's interesting to consider how attitudes about mental health changed over time.
There's going to be so much to think about with this gag file as a working repository of jokes. Pretty wonderful, don't you agree?