General Description and Selection Policy

General Description

The goal of this digitization project will be to create an online collection of the manuscripts of Henry Barnard held by Fales Library at New York University in order to make them more visible and accessible to researchers. The materials to be scanned are primarily letters dating from 1830 through 1900 written by or sent to Henry Barnard from his friends and colleagues in the movement to reform public education in the United States. Barnard’s diaries and select drafts of articles published in his quarterly The American Journal of Education will be included as well. The documents will be captured at sufficient resolution to be reasonably legible and text would be transcribed to enable searches for particular names and topics. Pending funding similar projects would be carried out at other repositories that hold portions of Henry Barnard’s manuscripts, such as the Watkinson Library at Trinity College.

Henry Barnard, whose life spanned 1811 to 1900, was a prominent member of the common school reform movement during the mid nineteenth century. Barnard’s career as a reformer began with his election as a Whig candidate to the Connecticut state legislature in 1837 and culminated in his three year term as the federal government’s Commissioner of Education thirty years later. During that time he was one of the most visible advocates for the improvement of school facilities, educating teachers, and creating a uniform centralized educational system. Though Barnard was not very effective at implementing the movement’s ideals he was exceptional in their articulation. He disseminated his views on public education widely through numerous speeches and publications, particularly The American Journal of Education which he edited from 1855 until 1881. Through the Journal and his frequent correspondence with his friends and colleagues Barnard remained an influential voice in the intellectual discourse surrounding education during his lifetime.

The Henry Barnard Papers collection at Fales Library reflects the man’s lifelong involvement in educational theory and reform. It holds twelve boxes of correspondence, notes, draft versions of articles published in the Journal, and images of Barnard’s colleagues plus typescript copies of select letters prepared at his request by the collection’s donor Will Monroe. The digitization of this collection would provide ready access to this substantial collection of materials, many of them written by the movement’s most important figures and covering a range of issues and ideas. Furthermore, in digital form the items could be quickly and easily searched by researchers seeking writings by a particular person or those that deal with a specific topic. In addition placing Fales’ collection online would be a step towards intellectually reuniting Barnard’s manuscripts, which are currently divided amongst five repositories. Fales itself would benefit substantially from the project as well. The digitization of the collection would bring attention to a collection that is not currently well publicized. Also the completion of the digitization project would allow the library to move the Barnard Papers to off-site storage. This would free valuable shelf space for collections more closely tied to the institution’s current collection development policies.

Selection Policy

The project would aspire to digitize the full text of those manuscripts held in the Henry Barnard Papers that were authored by or sent to Henry Barnard save for routine correspondence and content that is already available on the Internet. Due to the significant volume of the collection the project would prioritize items based upon their relevance to his life in general and the common school reform movement in particular. Thus the project would first digitize Barnard’s most valuable correspondence and his personal diaries, of which Fales holds three from 1831, 1833, and 1835. From the approximately fifteen thousand letters in the collection those that deal with important events and ideas in Barnard’s life or bear particular relevance to the public education reform effort would be digitized first. Most of these items will probably be drawn from the second subseries within the correspondence file. These were part of the original chronological arrangement of the collection but were removed and arranged alphabetically by author to allow easier access to them for researchers. These missives originate from Barnard’s most distinguished associates such as Daniel Coit Gilman, Horace and Mary Mann, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Any published materials, like articles from journals and newspapers, included with the original letter would be digitized at the same time in order to preserve the full meaning of the communication.

The next items to be digitized would come from the collection’s third and fourth series. These include drafts of Barnard’s speeches and writings, but also a sizable number of articles submitted for publication in The American Journal of Education. However the draft materials would need to be substantially annotated or different from the published version in order to warrant inclusion in the digitization effort. Since the published writings of Henry Barnard and his contemporaries have fallen into the public domain many, including much of the Journal itself, are already available online through such resources as Google Books. At the same time Will Monroe’s typed copies of letters sent to Henry Barnard would be digitized provided the missive was no longer extant in the original. The final items to be digitized would be the remaining non routine correspondence and images of Barnard’s correspondents

Some of the items in the collection would be excluded from the digitization project. One type of material that would fall into this category is the many letters written to Barnard as a matter of routine. Many of the letters resting in Fales that were sent to Barnard are orders for published writings, usually particular books or volumes of The American Journal of Education. These would be excluded from the digitization project unless they were sent by a person of significant historical interest. Another category that would be excluded is those items that do not belong to the Fales Library. Currently the collection includes numerous photo-static copies of letters held in other repositories, such as Barnard’s missives to Ashbel Smith which belong to the University of Texas. It is hoped that in the future digitized versions of the originals of such items will be made available online by succeeding endeavors. Finally any unpublished articles for which an author cannot be identified would be omitted unless the date of their creation can be definitively determined to be prior to 1887, which would place them in the public domain. This last provision however is unlikely to be necessary due to the fact that Barnard ceased editing his Journal after 1881. Those materials that are not digitized, either because of the terms of this policy or financial considerations, would be listed in a calendar.

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