Posted on behalf of Jacob Roberts, an intern who worked on the Preserving American Freedom Project
While working on the Preserving American Freedom Project, it is easy to take for granted how many one-of-a-kind documents have been preserved at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In many cases, these papers could have just as easily been lost or destroyed by those who did not see historical value in them. The fact that so many survived is nothing short of miraculous.
On June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing with them the news that all enslaved people in the state were now free.
I'm posting this entry on behalf of my intern, Ethan Fried, who performed extensive amounts of research and writing for the Preserving American Freedom digital history project, funded by Bank of America. For this project, Ethan described and annotated 50 documents that help trace the evolution of American liberties and composed biographies of related people and organizations. Ethan is a recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University and holds degrees in History and Secondary Education.
I joined the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as an intern in September 2012 to work on the Preserving American Freedom project. The project aims to transcribe, digitize, and annotate fifty notable documents from HSP’s collections and turn them into an online exhibit. In my short time here, I have researched and written about more than twenty of these items along with Ethan Fried, another intern. At this point in the project, we are finished with annotations and descriptions of every document, as well as most of the biographies of people and organizations who appear in the documents.
January 1, 2013, marked the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's final Emancipation Proclamation, and a special issue of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, of which I am proud to be the Assistant Editor, commemorates this transformative moment in American history. Yet it is not just because I've spent the last few months editing the latest scholarship on emancipation that freedom has been on my mind.