Blog Archives

Database of New Jersey Residents Who Died in World War I

Thanks to New Jersey News Room for the story about the new database from the state of New Jersey. This new database contains information on the over 3400 New Jersey residents who died in World War I, and is available at https://wwwnet1.state.nj.us/DOS/Admin/ArchivesDBPortal/WWICards.aspx.

You can search this database in a variety of ways, from name to birth state to town of resident to even cause of death. I did a search for Ford and got three results. (If you get odd results, make sure you’re clicking on the “Search” button and not just hitting the enter key; a couple of times I got what looked like Web site search results.)

The table of results includes name, residence, place of birth, cause of death, information available (some people have pictures available, some don’t.)

All the information about the fallen soldiers is contained in cards. As you can see in this instance for Horace Ford, there’s a picture of the solider, and beneath that the image of the soldier. Information on the card includes birth date, rank, and persons notified at death. There’s a quick link to print the page too.

About half the search results I saw had pictures. That combined with the card information makes this a great genealogy resource.

Library of Congress Posts Civil War Portrait Collection to Flickr

The Library of Congress announced last week that it has made a huge collection of Civil War portraits available on its Flickr site. The portraits — almost 700 of them — are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/sets/72157625520211184/.

This collection is all from one place — the Liljenquist family — and includes the frames of the pictures as well as the ambrotype and tintype photographs themselves. Many of the pictures are soldiers (including some portraits of African-American soldiers) but there are some civilian pictures here as well. There are also many group pictures, both of civilians and soldiers.

Some of the pictures are fairly dark and hard to see — or maybe it’s my monitor. If you want more detailed images than are available at Flickr, you can go back to LOC.gov and download archival-quality TIFFs, though they are a slow download. I downloaded one of 84MB and one of 116MB.

A remarkable collection, but also depressing in a way… the soldiers all look so young

LOC Releases WWII Sketchbook Archive

The Library of Congress recently digitized and made available a new online archive of eight sketchbooks made by architect Victor A. Lundy when he served in World War II. The eight sketchbooks have a total of 158 pencil sketches and everything’s been digitized; they’re available at http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/628_lundy.html.

Unlike other archives and exhibits I’ve seen where an artist might have a fairly good-sized medium, Mr. Lundy had a 3×5 spiral-bound sketchbook and a pencil. That’s it. For some sketches he does studies of faces; sometimes he’ll do detailed drawings of buildings, and sometimes it’s just the rapidly-sketched activity of a group.

You can view all the pages here, but the home page of the exhibit has a list of the sketchbooks in chronological order, along with a few comments from Mr. Lundy. Pick a sketchbook and you’ll get a set of images (including the sketchbook cover) with the option to look at large images and download archive-size TIFFs.

If you want to get a good sense of Mr. Lundy’s drawings, look at volume 5, “1944 August-September. En route to Europe,” but they’re all worth browsing. A great collection.

LOC Adds Civil War Drawings

I got a treat last week when I read a little blurb in the Library of Congress blog about the recently digitized Morgan Collection of Civil War Drawings. This set contains more than 1,600 eyewitness sketches made during the US Civil War. I don’t have a direct URL for you, but go to http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/mdbquery.html and start your search with Morgan Collection of Civil War Drawings.

That’ll give you 1655 results, from “The Veteran” to “Death of Reynolds — Gettysburg.” Each search result listed the date of the drawing and the artist; if you want to get fewer details but see thumbnails of the images click on the “Preview Images.”

Images have their own detail pages, which includes information about the medium of the drawing, any copyright restrictions, and additional notes. There’s a slightly larger version of the image as well. Click on that and you will not get an even larger image, but you will get the option to download archival quality versions of the images. Note: some of these images are pretty huge; the TIFF version of an 1864 snowball fight sketch I downloaded weighed in at over 125 MB.

If you’re looking for something specific, just add keywords to that initial “Morgan Collection” search — it’ll narrow down your results a lot. I added battle to the initial phrase and got 556 drawings.

Civil War history buffs, don’t miss it, especially if you liked the images from the Becker Collection. And don’t miss the links for the larger image downloads.

Footnote.com and National Archives Release New Vietnam War Collection

Footnote.com has announced a new addition to its Vietnam War Collection: Army Photos and Unit Service Awards. As you may know Footnote.com is usually a subscription service but the company is making its Vietnam War collection free for the month of February. You can access it at http://go.footnote.com/vietnam/.

The Army Photos are directly available at http://www.footnote.com/documents/241910021/photos_vietnam_war_army/. There are almost 29,000 images available here and at this writing the collection is denoted as “76% complete.” The first page has lists of recent comments and “discoveries” that have been made, but there’s also a search box. I did a search for patrol and got 400 results. You can also browse items via 31 categories (from aerials to vehicles.)

The Army Unit Service Awards cover documents related to Presidential Unit Citations, Valorous Unit Awards, and Meritorious Unit Commendations. The documents cover duties of service, duties performed, and letters of recommendation, and are available at http://www.footnote.com/documents/241893090/vietnam_unit_service_awards/. You can browse these items if you like (they’re organized by unit) and you can also do a keyword search. Remember these are unit citations, and not individual citations. You can get more information on unit citations at http://www.homeofheroes.com/medals/ribbons/1_ribbons_unit.html.

As long as you’re here, you might want to check out some of the other materials relating to the Footnote.com Vietnam War collection, including Marine Corps photos (almost 20,000) and an interactive version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where you can leave a tribute to one of the people listed on the wall, or provide other information (like a picture.)

Harvard Law School Library Releases Internment Camp Papers Archive

The Harvard Law School Library announced earlier this week the release of the Maurice Ettinghausen collection of Ruhleben civilian internment camp papers, 1914-1937. An overview of the collection is available at http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/deepLink?_collection=oasis&uniqueId=law00029.

The papers were produced when the German government established an internment camp at a horse racetrack outside of Berlin to incarcerate male foreign civilians, with most of the materials dating from 1914 to 1918. Most of those interned were British, though there were other nationalities. You can view the digitized papers by going to http://pds.lib.harvard.edu/pds/view/12382737 — the materials are divided into boxes which are further divided into topical folders. The content of the folders is not usually personal material — instead it’s things like notices, playbills, tobacco cards, newspapers, etc. If you’re interested in hand-lettered signage and general randomness don’t miss the Canteen Committee Announcements, Box 4, Folder 2.

There are also images available with this collection. You can get to them by searching for Ruhleben in Harvard’s VIA system. I did just that and got 371 hits, which included pictures of the theatre productions, camp buildings, groups and societies formed within the Ruhleben camp, and so forth.

Seeing the kind of societal bonds that developed when a bunch of people were thrown into a camp is fascinating. Especially the things like newspapers, camp notices, etc. I could spend a lot of time browsing the printed material. Kudos to Harvard for digitizing this collection, which they have had for over 75 years.

UNC Library Puts Up a Good-Sized WWI Postcard Collection

I’m too late for Veteran’s Day; can I get away with saying I’m really, really early for next year? The University of North Carolina has announced that it has put up about 2000 World War I postcards in honor of Veteran’s Day. Better news is that there are an additional 4400+ postcards that are in process and that the library expects to have up by 2010.

The URL of the collection is http://www.lib.unc.edu/dc/graypc/. You can search by keyword, browse by topic (countries, people, or subject), or browse the whole collection. I looked at the topic and decided to look at airships. There are only three under that topic but they have title, subject note, and sometimes a description.

Take a look at this collection which actually offers front and back views of six different cards, showing dirigibles, biplanes, monoplanes, and a couple of incredibly steampunky-looking destroyers. You can drag to move the views and actually move in pretty close. The view pages also have details about each postcard including publisher, dimensions, and publishing date (though these are not precise for the ones I looked at.)

Pretty cool! Now if I can just be a little more timely next year…

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