Friday, February 22, 2008

Lincoln and his Circle

Francis Carpenter Painting

I am happy to pass along a new research link, featuring primary documents related to Abraham Lincoln.

According to the Campus Times at the University of Rochester in New York, the Rare Books Web site has put its significant collection of Lincoln related manuscripts online. The project, called "Lincoln and his Circle," features 287 letters, including 72 written by Lincoln himself. The rest of the letters were written by members of Lincoln's cabinet and close advisors.

Many researchers are not aware of the collection. The letters came from the family of Lincoln's Secretary of State, William H. Seward.

About two years ago, I discovered this collection and sent away for copies of about two dozen letters written by a pair of Lincoln advisors. My research benefitted tremendously.

I am thrilled to see that the collection is now online. This seems to be the direction many archives are heading in. In my view, digitizing is a good thing. It makes the material immediately accessible to researchers around the world. Moreover, digitization furthers the archive's mission of preserving these documents. If a physical document is ever damaged to the point that it becomes illegible, or if, God forbid, it is ever destroyed, lost, or stolen, researchers will at least have a digital copy to consult.

I have added "Lincoln and his Circle" to the Links section. I encourage you to take it for a spin and see what you find.

No comments: