Tuesday, November 22, 2016

DPLA - Digital Public Library of America

Note that this is an unusual web address.

The goal of the Digital Public Library of America is to bring together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage sites, and make them freely available to students, teachers, researchers, and the general public. It is an ongoing project, constantly adding more material.

The great value of this project is that historical documents have been scattered far and wide over the years. Images and documents from your home town in Ohio may show up in libraries or museums anywhere from California to Virginia . 

A search for St. Paul, Minnesota, returned more than 78,000 items. Results showed documents and images located in several places including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Virginia and in 14 different languages..  They are located in places I would never think to look.  Nor would I have thought to search for the very useful documents I found. . DPLA allows you to search by subject, place or date. 

I am seeking to understand how my ancestors lived – what their everyday lives may have been. 

A study of Minnesota incomes in the years 1938 – 1939 gives me clues about life during the Great Depression.

Items include everything from state statutes, to geology, to proceedings of the state horticultural society, to maps, photos, history, memoirs, and promotional materials designed to lure both settlers and tourists.

Drawing of Union Depot from The Grand Opening of the Northern Pacific Railroad - 1883

Wonderful information can be found where you’d least expect it.

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