Though Google searches provide great results, sometimes writers need information that is more in depth than what they can offer. With that in mind, I’ll periodically be featuring some digital resources that offer users free primary and/or secondary sources. These sources can be great if you are trying to get a feel for a historical period or simply gather information to make a story come to life.
Today I want to highlight the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). The DLG has a lot of great information about African American history, the American Civil War, and the American South in general. For anyone writing about any of those topics, DLG has fabulous images, diaries, and other works that can be used for inspiration. I’ve listed some that I find interesting below.
Vanishing Georgia has over 18,000 photographs taken over 100 years of Georgia history. They include family life, street scenes, agriculture, architecture, and portraits. Because the collection is interested in preserving endangered and otherwise forgotten photographs, it has some real treasures to discover. For example, the image of Belle Peeler at the top of this post is from this collection, and I think the photo tells a story all of its own.
This is a collection of images created by African American photographer Robert E. Williams who took pictures between 1888-1908. The photos included feature children, family life, cotton work, and rituals like baptisms. The images capture wonderful portraits of daily life.
The Toombs collection includes correspondence between husband and wife Robert and Julia Toombs. Robert served in the US Senate, and many of his letters are from his service there, others discuss the Civil War, and some are written from his time in exile in Paris.
The Platter Diary is written from the perspective of a man who served with the 81st Ohio Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War. It discusses the experience of serving in the army, descriptions of food, scenery, rumors, the Confederate surrender and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
“Thar’s Gold in Them Thar Hills” features photographs, postcards, and documents about gold mining in Georgia. This is a great resource for anyone who needs to know more information about gold mining in America.
These are just a few of the many great collections that the Georgia Digital Library has to offer. I hope you have a wonderful time exploring them. Let me know if you find any gems!
Image Attribution: Photograph of Belle Peeler, Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia, ca. 1900, from the Vanishing Georgia collection, Georgia Archives. (I envy her shoulder poofs.)