American History Through Manuscripts

A recent article in the Washington Post noted that the website AmericasHistory.org bought 140 letters written by Dwight D. Eisenhower during the years of 1941 to 1947. How many of these letters will appear on Americashistory.org, is yet to be determined, but the ones that do will add to a wide ranging collection of documents that relate to many of the critical moments and controversies in American history.

AmericasHistory.org

At Americashistory.org you can find Martin Van Buren praising Thomas Jefferson’s politics, Ellen Wilson reflecting on her attendance at official functions, George C. Marshall supporting universal military service, and Richard Nixon sending a thank you note for baseball season passes. Manuscripts like these, from politicians, first ladies, presidents, and many others who’ve shaped American History and politics are on display at AmericasHistory.org. Every document featured on the site is posted as a high quality facsimile reproduction, with many backed up with a transcribed version, details on the document, and the history behind what’s written. The site notes that it is still a work in progress. More manuscripts are being added, like the Eisenhower letters, and of the ones that are currently available, many are lacking, with images that are too small to read, and no supplemental information describing what is there. We hope too that some “collections” will, over time, come to look more like true collections, and less like samplings. But even with these drawbacks there are fascinating documents to be discovered and explored, so it’s worth it to take a look.

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