The National Archives of the United States have announced an agreement with Footnote to digitize selected documents from the National Archives. There are already 4.5 million pages available for a fee, but let’s look at some of the documents that will be digitized under the plan:
** Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 — Including Journals of the Congress, correspondence, drafts of treaties, and papers related to Indian Treaties.
** Mathew B Brady Collection of Civil War Photographs — 6,000 glass plate negatives acquired by the War Department from Brady in 1874-1876. This includes work from other photographers, and includes images of famous people as well as shots of battlefields, landscapes, camps, hospitals, etc.
** Name Index to Civil War and Later Pension Files — Pension applications for service in the US Army between 1861 and 1900. There are over 3 million index entries that cover applications for soldiers and sailors as well as their widows.
Now, the good news is that these materials will be digitized fairly soon. By February 6, the announcement said, the digitized materials will be available at no charge in National Archives research rooms in Washington DC and regional facilities around the country. The bad news is that the digitized documents will not be available at no charge through the National Archives Web site until five years have elapsed.
Back to what’s available now. Footnote has a variety of materials already available at http://www.footnote.com/nara.php . You can browse through the material by subject or do a general search or search within categories. However, viewing the material here is not free. It’s $9.99 a month, $99.99 a year, or you can view individual records for $1.99.
You can read more about NARA’s teamup with Footnote at http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2007/nr07-41.html .