Upon a recent visit to the Pennsylvania State Library in Harrisburg, I was reminded once again of our state’s rich history. It was my second tour of the Rare Books room, which has an amazing collection. If you have a chance to get a tour, I highly recommend it. But even if you can’t, you can still experience some of these collections online. The State Library is making an effort to digitize its collections. From the Power Library, you can access materials by or about famous people like Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin as well as materials on topics like Native Americans, Coal Mining, the Civil War and World War I, all as they relate to Pennsylvania. The collections are kind of a hodgepodge, but they are fascinating to look at nonetheless.
Consider the Union League of Philadelphia’s Address in 1864 to call for Abraham Lincoln’s re-election or the odd and terrifying photos of the Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators. You’ll find letters from Benjamin Franklin and digitized comics, including PA resident Steve Didko’s 1950s The Thing. Didko was most famous for being the artist who created Spider-Man.
Plus the State Library is looking for help to transcribe the Civil War Diary of Captain George R. Snowden, who was there at the great Battle at Gettysburg, among others. If you are a closet historian, this might be your opportunity to make your mark! To participate, go here.