Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Massive Historical Research Databases Now Accessible to Washington College Community

Readex Archive Acquisition to Be Feted November 19

Chestertown, MD — Washington College students, faculty, and staff now have unlimited access to a research treasure trove: over 15 million pages of historic newspapers, books, broadsides and pamphlets, newly accessible through Miller Library.

Today, the C.V. Starr Center and Miller Library invite you to celebrate the College's new acquisition, and begin exploring its treasures, at a special event in the library's Sophie Kerr Room. Please join us at 4:00 p.m. for a short demonstration (laptops will be provided, or bring your own), to be followed by a reception with refreshments.

This rich online library, the Readex Archive of Americana, lets you keyword-search the full texts of millions of documents - and will be a valuable resource for students and faculty in many departments, studying topics from around the world. For instance, the newspaper collections include over 8 million original pages (12 million when completed) of papers published between 1690 and the early 20th century, with titles from all 50 states. In a matter of seconds, you can be reading original coverage of the Battle of Gettysburg, following foreign correspondents' day-by-day accounts of the Russian Revolution, unearthing obscure poems by Edgar Allan Poe, or scanning ads for runaway slaves from the Eastern Shore. This archive is the most comprehensive online newspaper resource available - and Washington College's access now is superior to that of places like Harvard and the Library of Congress!

The databases also include page-by-page, fully searchable facsimiles of almost every book published in America before 1820 (7 million pages), as well as pamphlets, broadsides, posters, and advertising.

Acquisition of the archives was made possible by a grant to Washington College from the National Endowment for the Humanities' "We the People" project. More digital archives will be available soon. For more information on the NEH grant, see

If you can't join us today and want to get started using the databases, visit and at the bottom of the page, under "New Resources," click on "America's Historical Newspapers," "American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I," or "Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819." Access is available to anyone with a Washington College ID, from on- or off-campus.

Feedback from students, faculty, and staff is welcome as the Starr Center and Miller Library continue working together to acquire digital resources for the College.

November 19, 2008

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