May 22, 2022

Penn State U. Announces Civil War Archiving Project

From a Penn State Live Story:

A new project, “The People’s Contest: a Civil War Era Digital Archiving Project” aims to advance scholarship on the experiences of ordinary northerners during a period of extraordinary conflict, a lesser understood aspect of the Civil War era.

The website chronicles Pennsylvania’s history from 1851, marked by the bloody Christiana fugitive slave riot, to 1874, when the state adopted a new constitution after the Civil War.

“The People’s Contest” is a joint effort of the Penn State University Libraries and the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center.

Coinciding with commemorations of the Civil War sesquicentennial, the site provides a resource center for all of the project’s primary sources. It includes a searchable database of Civil-War era collections located throughout Pennsylvania, most of which are held by smaller historical societies without online catalogs. The database allows researchers to search by keyword, location name, and genre and gives collection location and contact information, bringing previously hidden collections to the attention of researchers and scholars.

“The People’s Contest” has received grant funding from the Institute for Museum of Library Services and is also based on partnerships with the Senator John Heinz History Center, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Through the collaboration of the Richards Center and the Libraries, “The People’s Contest” houses digital collections and links to other Civil War sites and collections held by Penn State at online. This latter site includes a roster of nonreporting drafted men and deserters (containing entries for 38,000 Pennsylvania soldiers), Pennsylvania regimental histories, Civil War newspapers, books, journals, biographies and diaries, and other open-access collections.

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.