ATHENS, Ga. -- Rare manuscripts depicting the life of American Indians from 1763 to 1842 will soon be in the domain of ordinary readers under a venture by the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee to post the documents on the World Wide Web.
The collections depict everything from the first contacts of whites and American Indians to the bacon-and-bread rations that defeated natives were given upon being forced from their lands.
"Original manuscript material of this type and from this time period generally exists only in paper form, buried within vaults and closed stacks, available only to the persistent researcher," said Bob Henneberger, project head with the University of Georgia's libraries. "Digitization of these materials will provide Web access to a substantially larger audience."
The site will display 1,000 or more original documents and pictures, and will centralize collections from Tennessee and the University of Georgia's Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
The yearlong digitization project, announced last week by the universities, will be funded through a $330,000 grant from the national Institute of Museum and Library Services.
"The average historian doesn't have a clue these things exist; there's a number of different collections, but there was no real intelligent control," Henneberger said. …