Feb. 16, 2001
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Two electronic projects share new e-Lincoln Prize
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Cell biology receives $1 million grant

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Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff
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After Hours -- Brian Del Vecchio
Two electronic projects share new e-Lincoln Prize
Courtesy of the Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities
Art work from the online "Valley of the Shadow" project, created by historians Edward L. Ayers, Anne S. Rubin and William G. Thomas.

By Robert Brickhouse

Two acclaimed U.Va. electronic archives for humanities research and learning won the inaugural e-Lincoln Prizes, new awards of the prestigious annual Lincoln Prizes, the most generous in the field of American history.

Edward Ayers
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Edward L. Ayers

"The Valley of the Shadow: The Eve of the War," a CD-ROM and Web site, created by historians Edward L. Ayers, Anne S. Rubin and William G. Thomas and accompanied by a book, was awarded a $40,000 first-place prize in the competition. The project, published electronically by W.W. Norton & Co. and U.Va., exhaustively documents the history of two Civil War era communities, North and South, offering vast research resources.

Stephen Railton
Rebecca Arrington
Stephen F. Railton

A $1000 second-place prize was won by U.Va. English professor Stephen F. Railton for his Web site, "Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture: A Multi-Media Archive," a joint project of U.Va. and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Conn. The project focuses on the impact of the most influential American novel of the 19th century.

The Lincoln prizes, awarded by Gettysburg College, honor the finest scholarly works on Lincoln or the Civil War era. For the first time, they include the finest scholarly work produced in digital form on the Web or CD or other forms of electronic distribution. The prize board of trustees said the new element was added to emphasize the vast potential of the Internet and electronic scholarship in the field of history.

A jury of scholars chose the winners from 24 electronic entries and announced them on Feb. 12, Lincoln's birthday. Both widely acclaimed digital projects were created and published electronically through U.Va.'s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and make use of many documents from the University Library. Teachers, scholars, students and the general public are able both to learn and to conduct research about the 19th century through the electronic archives.

Uncle Tom's Cabin
Courtesy of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Book cover of Uncle Tom's Cabin from the Pleasant Hour Series (New York: Barse and Hopkins, n.d. [c. 1900]). This publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin was adapted for children by Mary E. Blaine and illustrated by Hugo von Hofsten.

The Valley of the Shadow Project takes two communities, one Northern and one Southern, through the experience of the American Civil War. The project is a hypermedia archive of thousands of sources for the period before, during and after the Civil War from Augusta County, Va., and Franklin County, Pa. Those sources include newspapers, letters, diaries, photographs, maps, church records, population census, agricultural census and military records. Students and others can explore every dimension of the conflict and write their own histories, reconstructing the life stories of women, African Americans, farmers, politicians, soldiers and families. The project is intended for secondary schools, community colleges, libraries, and universities.

Ed Ayers, the Hugh P. Kelley Professor of History, is the author of The Promise of the New South and other books on Southern history. He first conceived the idea of a dual community study of the Civil War in 1990. He planned to pursue it through traditional means of research until he saw that hypermedia offered new possibilities for doing local studies.

Will Thomas, the Valley project manager, is director of the Virginia Center for Digital History and received his Ph.D. in history from U.Va. in 1995. Anne Rubin served as the Valley project manager and also received her Ph.D. from U.Va. She is currently an assistant professor of history at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and still works on the project as a part-time consultant.

The Uncle Tom's Cabin project uses texts, illustrations and other documentation to examine the novel's longtime impact on American culture. The jury cited Railton's Web site for offering "what would not be available in any single book library."


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