The Valley of the Shadow project is an Internet archive of resources collected from two Civil War period communities; Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The various resources i nclude newspapers, letters, diaries, photographs, maps, church records and military records as well as access to other primary source materials.
This Web site is the creation of the Virginia Center for Digital History (VCDH), which is based at the University of Virginia's Alderman Library. The executive director of VCDH and copyright holder of the Valley of the Shadow project site is Edward L. Ayers, the Hugh P. Kelley Professor of History at the University of Virginia.
The information provided covers three areas concerning the Civil War period: The Eve of War, The War Years, and Aftermath. Upon choosing any of these three links, the viewer is introduced to an interactive floor plan of a virtual archive with rooms for each type of resource. The Reference Center in the Eve of War section provides useful, detailed background information pertaining to events that led up to the Civil War and is a recommended place to begin. An interesting room in this section is the Maps and Images room. Her e can be seen beautiful images of quilts from the Shenandoah Valley region as well as crayon drawings by David Strother, an illustrator for Harper's Weekly. The Soldiers' Dossiers, found in the The War Years section, provides search capabilities for anyon e interested in finding a particular soldier from Franklin and Augusta Counties who served in the war. Letters and diaries written by these soldiers, converted to SGML, can be browsed or searched by keyword, date, or subject. In Aftermath, you can search information from the 1860 U.S. census including the population, agricultural, slave owner, and manufacturing manuscript schedules for Augusta and Franklin counties. A Site Index is provided in each floor plan that allows one to view everything in any of the three particular archives at a glance.
The Valley of the Shadow project is an intriguing and reliable resource for primary sources. Students and instructors can form ideas for projects and writing assignments by browsing this site. According to the authors, the site is intended for use by secondary school students as well as community college students, university students and libraries.
Loree M. Davis
South Regional/Broward Community College Library