U.S. Congressional Serial Set


Preserving a National Treasure: A Partnership with the Dartmouth College Library

Serial Set volumes at the Dartmouth College LibraryIn 2003, Readex began a special partnership with Dartmouth College Library. Readex wished to scan a number of specific maps and color illustrations for our definitive digital edition of the 14,000-volume U.S. Congressional Serial Set—the crown jewel of American government publications. The Serial Set, which contains the Reports, Documents and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, is an exceptional source of primary material on nearly two centuries of American history. To ensure the comprehensiveness of our digital edition, our initial goal was to borrow and scan these items located in the Dartmouth volumes.

Serial Set Team at the Dartmouth College Library

In 2005, this Dartmouth-Readex partnership expanded from the initial request to a landmark project to preserve the complete print set at the Dartmouth College Library. In addition to enabling Readex to offer researchers the most accurate and comprehensive digital edition available, this unique partnership brought several benefits to the Dartmouth College Library: the cleaning and repair of more than 13,800 volumes, including the critical repair of spines and thousands of fold-out maps; creation of detailed item records for every volume; and invaluable first-hand experience with a large-scale digitization project.

Preserving a National Treasure: A Partnership with the Dartmouth College Library

Now Complete! The Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994

From its first session, Congress concerned itself with the publication of its own proceedings.  By 1815, a definite set of publication types along with a schema for numbering volumes and publications had been established.  The challenge of finding references in those volumes became the pursuit of several different attempts to index the rapidly expanding body of material.

 

Now Complete! The Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994

Here there be monsters, OR The Gloucester Serpent!

“Report of a committee of the Linnæan Society of New England relative to a large marine animal, supposed to be a serpent, seen near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in August, 1817.” From Early American Imprints, Series II.

Upon opening your copy of The Salem Gazette on New Year’s Day, 1818, your continued patronage would have been solicited with a page in verse which included the following:

Salem Gazette, Supplement; January 1, 1818. Click to open. (From America’s Historical Newspapers)

Here there be monsters, OR The Gloucester Serpent!

Location, location, location!

Nothing says “home” quite like a map of Alaska and adjacent lands shown as Russian and British territory—with annotations in French! 

“Map showing Russian territory of Alaska and coastline of western Canada. Alaskan Boundary Tribunal” (1903). Source: U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Readex

Location, location, location!

The World’s Greatest Aviator: Daredevil Lincoln Beachey and the Dip of Death

Lincoln J. Beachey (March 3, 1887 – March 14, 1915)

In the early 20th century, aviator Lincoln Beachey and his Curtis biplane amazed and delighted crowds with the “Dip of Death” and his mastery of “looping the loop.” Or by daring to fly upside down, which on one occasion shook $300 from his pocket and led him to quip,
I am willing to take a chance of losing my life flying upside down but it’s certainly tough to be torn loose from my bank roll, too.1
A groundbreaking aviator and breathtaking stuntman, he could boast of having performed for over 20 million spectators, or about one fifth of the U.S. population at the time. Yet 100 years later his name is largely unknown.

Source: Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Press; Jan. 30, 1914. Click open full article in PDF.

The World’s Greatest Aviator: Daredevil Lincoln Beachey and the Dip of Death

Cutting-edge Biographers, Corporate Crimes, Seductive Cards and a Deadly Sport in the new Readex Report

In our latest issue: A recent New York Times op-ed posits digitized newspapers have "the potential to revolutionize biographical research"; digital archives expose corrupt corporate governance across history; how sailing cards leveraged an idealized picture of manhood and masculinity; and the lethal legacy of an ephemeral American sport—plus three featured posts from this blog.

The Biographer's New Best Friend

From The New York Times Sunday Review (Sept. 11, 2011) By Stephen MihmAssociate Professor of History, University of Georgia  

Cutting-edge Biographers, Corporate Crimes, Seductive Cards and a Deadly Sport in the new Readex Report

Top-Ten Articles Published in The Readex Report

The Readex Report is a quarterly e-newsletter that explores diverse aspects of both modern librarianship and digital historical collections. Through original articles by academic faculty and librarians, The Readex Report provides insights on topics as wide-ranging as those found in the following list of the most clicked-upon articles published since 2006. Preserving the Library in the Digital Age

By Benjamin L. Carp, Assistant Professor of History, Tufts University [Volume 4, Issue 4]

Heart or Muscle? The Library in the Digital Age

By Edward Shephard, State University of New York, Binghamton [Volume 4, Issue 3]

“Meet the Students”: Bringing Your Library’s Online Resources Into Your Students’ “Circle of Trust”

By Lynn D. Lampert, Chair, Reference & Instructional Services, California State University, Northridge [Volume 2, Issue 2]

Top-Ten Articles Published in The Readex Report

"A Dastardly Outrage": Kate Brown and the Washington-Alexandria Railroad Case

[Kate Brown, a U.S. Senate laundress promoted to retiring room attendant, is most notable for winning the 1873 Supreme Court Case Railroad Company v. Brown. This spring Brown was the focus of a winning entry in a research competition sponsored by the Oxford African American Studies Center and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. That winning entry on Brown, which will be published in the online African American National Biography, was researched and written by McLean (VA) High School students Brian Tong and Theodore Lin, who utilized the U.S. Congressional Serial Set among other sources. The article on Kate Brown below was written by Betty K. Koed, Assistant Historian in the U.S. Senate Historical Office. It appeared in the September 2008 issue of The Readex Report, where it was published with permission from Unum, a newsletter published by the Office of the Secretary of the United States Senate.]
"A Dastardly Outrage": Kate Brown and the Washington-Alexandria Railroad Case

Commodore Vanderbilt: Patriot or War Profiteer?

Post by T.J. Stiles, author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Knopf)

[Note: On April 7, 2011, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as part of its 87th annual competition, awarded a Fellowship to T.J. Stiles based on impressive prior achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. This article by T.J. Stiles appeared in the February 2010 issue of The Readex Report. Here he discusses his use of the Readex digital edition of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set in researching The First Tycoon, which won both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.]
Commodore Vanderbilt: Patriot or War Profiteer?

Best of the Readex Blog: A 2010 Sampler

In 2010 our 20 bloggers combined for more than 70 posts on a wide-range of topics related to the use of digital resources for historical research. Did you miss any of these during the past year? 

The United Nations as Teacher by Ed Beckwith

A Future That Never Arrived by Bruce Coggeshall

Best of the Readex Blog: A 2010 Sampler

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