Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

December 27, 1999

African Americans in Ohio and Civil War Maps Are Subjects of New Web Presentations

The American Memory Program of the Library of Congress has just made available two new presentations of historical materials: "The African American Experience in Ohio" and "Civil War Maps."

The collections of materials relating to American history that are available from American Memory are drawn from the Library of Congress - whose collections are unparalleled in their depth and diversity - as well as from other repositories.

The materials in the "African American Experience" presentation are from the Ohio Historical Society. Their digitization was made possible by an award from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library competition. This $2 million, three-year program, which concluded in 1999, has made awards to 33 institutions nationwide to enable them to make their important American history collections available on-line.

One new collection, "Civil War Maps," is drawn from the Library of Congress's Geography and Map Division. It consists of reconnaissance, sketch, coastal and theater-of-war maps, which depict troop activities and fortifications. Part of this selection contains maps by Maj. Jedediah Hotchkiss, a topographical engineer in the Confederate Army. Hotchkiss made detailed battle maps that were used by Gens. Lee and Jackson. This site also includes maps that depict Gen. Sherman's military campaigns in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and the Carolinas.

New Civil War maps will be added monthly.

"The African American Experience in Ohio" presents a selection of manuscripts, printed texts and images from the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. The on-line presentation illuminates the history of African Americans in Ohio from 1850 to 1920, a story of slavery and freedom, segregation and integration, religion and politics, migrations and restrictions, harmony and discord, and struggles and successes.

The site also includes a "Special presentation" of favorite materials chosen by staff of the Ohio Historical Society.

New items are also available on-line in the following American Memory collections: "Map Collections: 1544-1996," "Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years" and "Built in America: Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record."

"Civil War Maps" and "The African American Experience in Ohio" have been added to the more than 70 collections freely available from American Memory, which is a project of the National Digital Library Program. The program aims to bring more than 5 million items of American history to citizens everywhere as a Gift to the Nation for the Library's Bicentennial on April 24, 2000.

The Library of Congress, founded April 24, 1800, is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. It preserves a collection of more than 119 million items - more than two-thirds of which are in media other than books. These include the largest map and film and television collections in the world. In addition to its primary mission of serving the research needs of the U.S. Congress, the Library serves all Americans through its popular Web site ( and in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill.

"We will celebrate with pride our first 200 years of Library history," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "During that time, the Library has grown into the world's largest repository of knowledge and creativity, which it has preserved for all generations of Americans. "We want to take advantage of this opportunity to energize national awareness of the critical role that all libraries play in keeping the spirit of creativity and free inquiry alive in our society."

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PR 99-192
ISSN 0731-3527

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