|Stevens and French, both of Fifth Maine Regiment|
As the Associated Press reported, and Portland Press Herald/Bangor Daily News reprinted, "The website showcases some of what state archivist David Cheever calls the most comprehensive collection of Civil War material in any state." Without a doubt, the Maine State Archives curates an impressive collection of letters, muster rolls, and photographs of soldiers. Since the "Civil War Material Goes Online" article didn't mention it, I thought it would be helpful to provide the Civil War at Maine State Archives web page where the public can locate the finding aids for the Maine State Archives' online treasure trove: (http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/research/civilwar2/)
More troubling is the failure to mention that the Civil War Stories project, whose debut prompted the article, was a collaborative effort, not solely a showcasing of Maine State Archives material.
|J. French letter mentions seeing Lincoln in D.C.|
Successful collaboration hinges upon credit being given where credit is due. The Maine Historical Society's Maine Memory Network carefully highlights its hundreds of "partners" who place documents and photographs online at mainememory.net, going so far as to embed a gray-scale credit line (identifying the name of the originating archive) in the online image itself.
As a consultant for the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, the only dedicated Civil War history museum in the state of Maine, I managed interns with Director Kim MacIsaac over a two-year period. These interns were graduate students who researched in the collection, scanned and transcribed documents, and drafted ways that teachers and students might interact with the materials. The Fifth Maine contributed some of these documents to the online Civil War Stories project, so, too, did the Lewiston-Auburn Museum and the Androscoggin Historical Society.
As we approach the eve of the Civil War Sesquicentennial in Maine, such online collaborations are an occasion for celebration.