May 22, 2022

Digitization Projects: A New Collection of Historic U.S. Documents Will Soon Be Available Online

From CBS Philadelphia:

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is beginning the daunting project of bringing its collection of documents from past centuries into the current one.

In early 2013, the first chapter of the Preserving American Freedom project will be online.

The project will be funded by a grant from Bank of America and will present 50 of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s most treasured documents.

Read the Complete Report

Additional Details in the News Release

Documents that are part of Preserving American Freedom include:

William Penn’s 1682 deed with the Delaware Indians

A 1765 resolution from the Stamp Act Congress

Handwritten draft of the Constitution

A “Declaration of Liberty” written by Owen Brown, son of abolitionist John Brown

An 1862 petition seeking the right of African Americans to ride streetcars in Philadelphia

Letters from women’s suffrage activist Dora Kelly Lewis

Letters from the Iwata family, held in an internment camp during World War II


Much more than just an online history exhibit, Preserving American Freedom will present each document transcribed and annotated using TEI markup (Text Encoding Initiative) – the latest practice in digital humanities – to allow for more sophisticated searching and analysis. The documents will also be set in historical context through essays by noted scholars and professors, including Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and preeminent scholar on American freedom.

While the Society currently has a digital library available for browsing online, Preserving American Freedom takes a step beyond scanning and uploading images to the web. The new portal is expected to be available to the public in early 2013.

See Also: Digital History Projects from the HSP

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.