Thomas MacEntee, of Destination: Austin Family and the force behind Geneabloggers, slipped a tip into a recent Data Back Up webinar: Create a page on your blog that becomes a virtual research toolbox, filled with useful book titles, web sites, libraries, parks, people–resources that you never want to forget are available. I had had a similar thought as I set up my site and thought, “Oh, I have that covered!” But the image of this toolbox came to me each time I logged into my blog, and I was intrigued. You look at sources but you use tools. It was this latter behavior that I wanted to encourage–in myself and others. So, henceforth and forthwith, the page formerly titled Those Family Sources will be known as My Research Toolbox. (You can still find it in the Page Bar at the bottom of the Header.)
And to this box I would like to add this essential tool, linking you to the Cornell University Library Making of America digital collection.
The Cornell University Library Making of America Collection is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. This site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts.
I stumbled on this site (WHERE has it been hiding!?!) yesterday as I searched for period information about women/childbirth/soldier husbands. I spent an hour absorbed by the text of “The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies” before backtracking into the main site. Once there I spent another 45 minutes winding my way through Harpers New Monthly Magazine, beginning with the 1850 issues. I have read 0.00398 % of this scanned collection! This site is one I will certainly revisit with regularity, so I best have a link handy in my toolbox!