Making of America: the Cornell University Library digital library

From the website:
Materials accessible here are Cornell University’s library’s
contributions to Making of America (MOA), a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the Antebellum period through Reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. This site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts.
Wow, this searchable (!) digital library captures what I love about living in the future- it seems as though the sum total of human knowledge and experience is but a few mere keystrokes away. This is a startlingly interesting treasure trove of American history. For example, a cursory seach for “baseball” leads one to the fully digitized copy of the May 1899 issue of The Atlantic monthly, which beyond a brief mention of baseball, also features an article by William James about his pioneering work in the new (at the time) field of psychology and an article by photographer Jacob Riis discussing the aftermath of the publication of How the Other Half Lives in the same issue. Idle searching turns up a wonderful article entitled “In defense of pugilism”, a search for “huckster” turns up an absolutely fascinating article about Peter Idlewild, the railroad king and robber-baron. Tangential searching and reading reveals marvelous turns of phrase around every corner: “going through the gloomy portals of the Tombs”- “the chain of bluffs frowned with batteries on the summit and sides”–“Your average thief looks in the crowd, says Byron, exactly like the rest or rather better”.
I have found my ultimate time-waster.

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