History Web Sites Receive Prestigious National Awards
of the Shadow" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Digital Projects
Share New E-Lincoln Prize
12, 2001 -- Two acclaimed University of Virginia
electronic archives for humanities research and learning will share
the inaugural e-Lincoln Prize, a new award of the prestigious annual
Lincoln Prizes, the most generous in the field of American history.
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
second place prize was won by U.Va. English professor Stephen 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.
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 on the war era 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 Lincoln's birthday.
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.
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 for 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,
Ayers, the Hugh P. Kelley Professor of History, and the author of
"The Promise of the New South" and other books on Southern
history, 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.
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.
S. 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. She is
also working on the project as a part-time consultant.
"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."
Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856