Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800
January 13, 2009 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Fire destroyed the office of the War Department and all its files in 1800, and for decades historians believed that the collection, and the window it provided into the workings of the early federal government, was lost forever. Thanks to a decade-long effort to retrieve copies of the files scattered in archives across the country, the collection has been reconstituted and is offered here as a fully-searchable digital database.
posted by Knappster (10 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for posting this, Knappster. I am going to waste far too many hours with this.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 10:14 PM on January 13, 2009

As a former archivist and current records manager, I got two things to say:

1. This is great, thanks for posting it.

2. It is time for me to get some sleep.
posted by marxchivist at 10:15 PM on January 13, 2009

OCR software that could convert the old-fangled handwriting in these documents would truly be the lord king god of OCR software.
posted by king walnut at 10:16 PM on January 13, 2009

Oh this is sweet! Thanks for posting it!
posted by winna at 10:28 PM on January 13, 2009

This is another great project from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Sad to see the late Roy Rosenzweig listed as Principal Investigator on the project.

It would be nice to see a few more search features here. Some documents include the image, others do not, and it would be good to be able to filter searches to show only records with images. And some user interaction--adding tags, making notes, even allowing for user transcriptions would make it even stronger.
posted by LarryC at 11:29 PM on January 13, 2009

Terrific post, thanks!
posted by languagehat at 5:36 AM on January 14, 2009

Dick Cheney's favorite piece of American history.
posted by rokusan at 7:12 AM on January 14, 2009

What an amazing effort. Thanks for posting this.
posted by a3matrix at 9:00 AM on January 14, 2009

I've spent a few minutes looking through this, it is a very noble effort and could be very useful. I wish there was more information on the project itself which I would find almost as interesting as the papers themselves.
posted by marxchivist at 9:17 AM on January 14, 2009

Very, very cool. *This* is why I come to Metafilter. Thanks!
posted by gudrun at 11:38 AM on January 14, 2009

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