Washington documents online
By Charlotte Morford Scott
archive of historic documents and letters written by or on behalf
of George Washington is now available online, thanks to a cooperative
effort between the University librarys Electronic Text Center
and a scholarly editing project, The Papers of George Washington.
The archive is the electronic edition of John C. Fitzpatricks
comprehensive study, The Writings of George Washington from
the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, a monumental
collection of more than 17,400 letters and documents.
work was originally prepared under the direction of the U.S. George
Washington Bicentennial Commission, organized by Congress in 1932
to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Washingtons birth.
The Library of Congress held the single largest collection of
Washington manuscripts - more than 60,000 separate documents
- and Fitzpatrick, who had served as assistant chief of
the manuscripts division for 30 years, assembled 37 volumes plus
a two-volume index of the Washington papers. While the work was
remarkable for its time, there were still more papers than even
Fitzpatrick was able to include.
archive is the
electronic edition of
John C. Fitzpatricks comprehensive study,
The Writings of George Washington from the Original
Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, a collection of more
than 17,400 documents.
the Papers of George Washington, a documentary editing project
housed at the U.Va. Library, has collaborated with the Librarys
E-Text Center to make Fitzpatricks work available online
while its own project, a 90-volume, updated and comprehensive
presentation of Washington papers, is in process.
Writings are an incredible achievement by any standards,
says Frank Grizzard, senior associate editor of The George Washington
Papers. But it presents only one side of the story, since
letters sent to Washington are mentioned only infrequently, in
todays documentary editing techniques, were producing
a collection that is far more inclusive than was possible in Fitzpatricks
day. Nonetheless, having his volumes online is a crucial bridge
while we work on completing the 90 volumes of Washington papers.
Library of Congress supplied the texts to the E-text Center, which
in turn converted the text to XML for enhanced online searching
mission is to make humanities texts available to the world through
the Internet, says Matt Gibson, associate director of the
E-Text Center. Were delighted to be able to make the
Library of Congress Fitzpatrick volumes accessible to a
global audience. The collection represents a significant addition
to current E-text materials and greatly enriches the University
of Virginia Librarys digital holdings.