Readex had the opportunity to sit down with Paul Finkelman, a leading authority on American legal history, race relations and religious freedom, to discuss the importance of primary documents in his work as a scholar and professor. Now the President of Gratz College, Finkelman has taught law and history courses at more than a dozen intuitions. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court, which will be published this month by Harvard University Press.
In our discussion, Finkelman compared his work flow to that of scholars in decades past, noting how the online availability of primary sources not only fosters faster work, but also unlocks new findings in ways never before possible. Watch the highlights of our interview to learn how digital resources like the U.S. Congressional Serial Set and American Pamphlets can help students discover historical connections and energize their research.
Among the newly digitized works from the American Antiquarian Society in The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922are travel guides for tourists visiting the Gettysburg and Petersburg battlefields after the Civil War.
Danner's Pocket Guide Book with History of the Battle of Gettysburg (1884)
This promotional pamphlet encourages visits to the iconic battlefield. In addition to an account of the battle, it includes illustrations, anecdotes, and advertisements, especially for accommodations. The City Hotel, which details its best features and services, boasts of having “Toilet rooms on first and second floors” and “Electric light and bells.” Additionally, it advertises:
Battlefield a specialty. Dinner with drive over the Battlefield with for (sic) or more, $1.35 each. Field Glasses go with every team. Six Battlefield Guides connected with Hotel.
Another advertiser is W.H. Tipton, “Battlefield Photographer,” who writes, “I have been constantly on the field since July, 1863.”