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June 10, 2003

Meeting of Frontiers Adds Collections from the United States, Russia and Germany

Collections Tell Story of Settlement of American West, Siberia and Russian Far East

The Meeting of Frontiers Web site (http://frontiers.loc.gov) of the Library of Congress has added collections from the Library of Congress; the State and University Library (SUB) of Lower Saxony in Göttingen, Germany; the National Library of Russia (NLR); and the Russian State Library (RSL).

The Meeting of Frontiers site is a bilingual, multimedia English-Russian digital library that tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West and the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East. With the latest additions, the site now includes more that 330,000 digital images that are available for use in schools and libraries and by the general public. Meeting of Frontiers is the world's largest bilingual collaborative library site.

New Library of Congress collections on the site include the Kiowa Stories from the papers of Hugh Lenox Scott and the Eleanor L. Pray Album. Scott was a West Point graduate and career military officer who served at various Western posts between 1876 and 1897. In 1892, he was assigned to Fort Sill, Okla., and given command of Troop L of the 7th Cavalry, an all-Indian unit comprising Kiowa, Comanche and Apache. During his years in the West, Scott developed an increasing interest in the region's indigenous populations and became an astute practitioner of Plains Indian sign language-a nonverbal method of communicating with hand gestures-that he used to gather information about Native American cultures. The selections from the Scott papers included in Meeting of Frontiers consist of Kiowa stories that he collected while stationed at Fort Sill.

The Eleanor L. Pray Album features images from Vladivostok in 1899-1901 and the life of an American merchant family living in the city at that time. It was created by Eleanor Roxanna Lord Pray (1868-1954), an American woman who lived in Vladivostok for 36 years (1894-1930). The album eventually was inherited by Pray's granddaughter Patricia D. Silver, who in 2002 donated it to the Library of Congress for scholarly use and digitization. The album offers a unique and private perspective on Russian and expatriate life at a crucial time in late-czarist Russia. Among the expatriates pictured in the album is Richard T. Greener, the U.S. commercial agent in the city at that time and the first African American graduate of Harvard College.

The latest Meeting of Frontiers update also includes, from the SUB, a large portion of this institution's extraordinary Asch Collection. The collection, which is a creation of Georg Thomas von Asch (1729-1807), a German who studied medicine at Göttingen and then entered the Russian National Service, is a comprehensive record of Russian expeditions to Siberia in the second half of the 18th century. It includes books, manuscripts and maps, as well as medals, minerals, plants, clothes and other items of scientific interest that Asch gathered while serving as an official of the Russian government. Asch donated the collection to Göttingen, where it became the core of the library's extensive Russian collections. The digitization of 246 rare books for Meeting of Frontiers was funded by a grant to the SUB by the German Society for Research.

Project partners since 1999, the RSL and the NLR contributed rare books, maps and manuscripts to their already extensive collections of digitized materials on the Meeting of Frontiers site. The additions include unpublished memoirs of Russian exiles in Siberia, Russian documentation about the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 and the 1837 translation into Aleut of the Russian catechism by Ioann Veniaminov (St. Innocent).

Significant in-kind contributions to the project have been made by the Open Society Institute-Russia, Yukos Oil and the Foundation for Internet Education, and the SUB. Project partners include the Library of Congress, the Russian State Library, the National Library of Russia, the SUB, the Rasmuson Library of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Institute of the North at Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, and several dozen regional libraries, archives, and historical societies in Siberia and the Russian Far East.

Meeting of Frontiers is part of the Library's Global Gateway initiative to create digital partnerships between the Library of Congress and leading libraries around the world.

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PR 03-103
06/10/03
ISSN 0731-3527

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