Berman, Ari, Editor & Publisher
Online exclusive: Civil War stories
A retirement hobby for a management consultant has turned into a national treasure, bringing critical acclaim, historical eminence, and awards to the electronic publisher. John Adler, 75, recently won the $50,000 Gettysburg College E-Lincoln Prize for a Web site, launched last year, that publishes the full contents of 47 periodicals from 1860 to 1865.
Adler has meticulously compiled a collection of publications even the Library of Congress would love to have.
It all began about a decade ago, after Adler acquired an entire 1857- 1916 collection of Harper's Weekly, which he calls "the newspaper of record" at that time. Adler launched his first Web site, HarpWeek (http://www.harpweek.com), publishing the entire collection online by themes. Soon HarpWeek was providing today's newspapers with extensive contemporary coverage of Andrew Johnson's impeachment and trial (during President Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal) and nearly 500 universities and libraries with previously inaccessible primary-source material.
In March 2001, after going across the country on search expeditions, Adler launched his Civil War Web site (http://www.lincolnandthecivilwar.com). Fourteen institutions donated original material, and more than 40,000 pages of text and illustrations were scanned in high resolution, and coded by HarpWeek indexers.
Although the entire collection is ready for publication (as Adler awaits further funding), he initially made available newspaper coverage of 1860, showing readers coverage of Abraham Lincoln's first presidential campaign and the events leading up to the Civil War. …