War of 1812 captured online through Lilly Library collections

My library geek side was thrilled to hear that IU’s Lilly Library has created a digital collection related to the War of 1812. And my museum geek side was equally thrilled to hear the online archive precedes a major exhibition in the library’s main gallery, set to open in September.

Hand-colored drawing of “Boarding and Taking the American Ship Chesapeake, by the Officers & Crew of H. M. Ship Shannon,” 1916.

The library’s new site, The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library, tells the story of this little-understood war through digitized primary source documents ranging from the official declaration of war to a receipt for canteen straps.

It features such resources as anti-war pamphlets, a letter describing the burning of Washington, D.C., a satirical print of James Madison boxing King George III and early printings of the Star Spangled Banner, as well as government publications, sermons, reports, memoirs, diaries and speeches.

“There aren’t many large digital projects on the War of 1812, especially not originating from the United States,” Lilly Library director Breon Mitchell said. “This site makes a major contribution by providing not just the story of the war, but also a wealth of original books and documents that draw people into the history of the conflict in the way only primary sources can.”

History a bit rusty? Not to worry. IU Libraries staffers include a helpful introduction to the war between the U.S. and Great Britain, called by some the second war for American independence.

Tags: , , , ,