May 28, 2022

"Cornell Library Rescues Early U.S. Trial Records, Digitizes Pamphlet Collection"

From the Ithaca Journal:

A fascinating bit of legal history involving Lizzie Borden, John Brown and Lincoln’s killers soon will be preserved and available online, thanks to a recent grant awarded to Cornell University Library.

With $155,700 from the Save America’s Treasures grant program, the library will restore and digitize a collection of mass-produced pamphlets from the late 17th century to the late 19th century. These pamphlets, which were often sold on the street soon after a trial as entertainment and cautionary tales, include accounts of famous historical figures and reflect society’s attitude toward such social issues as capital punishment, marriage and abortion.


Cornell Law Library purchased the Trials Pamphlet Collection in 1927, when 321 pamphlets were bound together in the days before proper preservation techniques were established. Many of the bound volumes have deteriorated, and the original pamphlets’ brittle pages are damaged, making them impossible for researchers to use. After conservation treatment, the volumes will be individually bound, cleaned and made chemically stable.

Each pamphlet will also be digitized and indexed online, allowing access to them in person and online. All conservation and digitization work will be done in-house, beginning in July.

Read the Complete Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.