The Seward Family Digital Archive is a digital documentary-editing project housed at the University of Rochester. Project participants transcribe, annotate, and publish the family letters of prominent nineteenth-century politician, William Henry Seward. The Seward Family Digital Archive follows an American family as they navigate marriage, child-rearing, death, politics, business, and the Civil War.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published The Song of Hiawatha in 1855. The epic poem was an instant success. Newspapers published excerpts, authors copied its prose, playwrights adapted the story for the stage, and American children encountered the poem as an educational tool. More interesting, perhaps, was the way in which Longfellow’s prose appeared on the Michigan landscape. Tourist destinations, hunting clubs, towns, rivers, and creeks carried the names of characters and places from the iconic poem. By mapping these literary references we can begin to see how past Americans saw, and imagined, the Michigan environment. The “Land of Hiawatha” marks the point where literature and landscape collide.
With the advance and availability of twenty-first century technologies historians have the opportunities to preserve, study, and share historical materials in new ways. Using photogrammetry historians can capture objects threatened by decay and deterioration while enhancing digital accessibility. The rise digital heritage provides historians many opportunities for preservation, public history programming, and historical education.