The Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Building the Digital Collection

The Haymarket Affair Digital Collection was created at the Chicago Historical Society under a grant awarded by the Library of Congress National Digital Library Ameritech Competition. The project was also supported in part by funds from the Chicago Park District. In digitizing its collections the Chicago Historical Society seeks to make the primary materials of history available to the widest possible audience.


Selecting the Source Materials.

In selecting materials, the creators of this digital collection took an inclusive approach, gathering together most of the Haymarket-related original manuscripts, artifacts, broadsides, pamphlets, photographs, and prints owned by the Historical Society. Specifically, the digital collection includes CHS primary source materials relating to the May 4, 1886 meeting and bombing, to the trial, conviction, and subsequent appeals of those accused of inciting the bombing, to the execution of four of the convicted, and to the later pardon of the remaining defendants.

The central documents in the collection are the 3,323-page transcript of witness testimony and cross-examination in the trial and the accompanying evidence books. While the testimony portion of the trial transcript is included in its entirety, it was decided at this time to include in the digital collection the jury selection proceedings only for those twelve candidates chosen to serve on the jury, along with the text of discussions that arose during these proceedings as to procedure and the law. (The unwieldiness of the entire transcript and resource limitations made inclusion of the whole text impractical under the current project.) The discussions and conflicts over the empanelling of the jury and the correct procedures subscribed by each side figured heavily in the defense's appeal.


Haymarket veterans' banner
Haymarket veterans' banner.

Welcome to The Haymarket Affair Narrative
The Haymarket Affair Narrative
The Haymarket Affair Chronology
The Nature of Historical Evidence
The Haymarket Affair Evidence
What is the Digital Collection?
Highlights of the Collection
Building the Digital Collection

Digitizing the Source Materials.

The contents of the Haymarket Affair Digital Collection are digital files of original documents and artifacts. The digital image files were created in most cases by direct scanning of these "source materials" on an Agfa Duoscan T2000 flatbed scanner. Where the source materials were either oversize documents or three-dimensional artifacts, they were photographed in color, and scans were then made from the photographic transparencies. Manuscripts were also manually transcribed, and electronic text files as well as image files are provided for these items.


Who Created the Digital Collection?

Many members of the Chicago Historical Society staff contributed to creating the Haymarket Affair Digital Collection. Bernard F. Reilly, Jr., CHS Director of Research and Access, directed the project and wrote the introductory materials. CHS Archivist Emeritus Archie Motley and Chief Cataloger Linda Evans originally identified and proposed the Haymarket materials as the focus of the digital collection. Chief Cataloger Linda Evans also planned workflow and directed creation of the cataloging and metadata procedures for all of the documents and artifacts included.

Melinda Spitzer, Project Editor, organized and researched the documents and artifacts for digital presentation; supervised imaging and digitization of the materials and transcription of documents; and shaped the html presentation of the collection.

Matthew Cook, CHS Rights and Reproductions Coordinator, set up CHS collection scanning and digitization capabilities. Matthew Crenshaw, CHS Web Editor, and Your Plan B Design Company created the design for the introductory pages and provided assistance and advice on Web site formatting and search engines. Rosemary Adams, Director of Publications, coordinated CHS editorial support and facilitated realization of the collection Web site.


Other Contributors:

Technical support at CHS: Cheryl Obermeyer, Director of Information Services; Kevin Scott, Systems Administrator and Joseph Podlasek, Technical Support Engineer.

Conservation of documents and artifacts: Carol Turchan, Paper Conservator

Original object photography: John Alderson, Senior Photographer, and Jay Crawford, Photographer

Artifact retrieval and identification: Nancy Buenger, Textile Conservator; Sorrel Goodwin, Collections Manager; and Tim Long, Hope B. McCormick Costumes Collection Manager

Cataloging the collection: Patrick Ashley, Associate Librarian

Imaging support: Leith Rohr, Research Specialist; Clarence Clark, Collections Manager; and Katie Walenter, Research & Access Intern

Transcription and initial html coding of the trial transcript: Apex Data Services, Herndon, Virginia

Scanning of the trial transcript: Electronic Imaging Services, Chicago, Illinois

Web Site Development: Your Plan B Company, Chicago, Illinois

Special thanks are due to Professor Carl Smith of Northwestern University and CHS Curator of Architecture Timothy Samuelson for their historical insights, advice, and support, which enriched the Haymarket Affair Digital Collection in many ways.

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Chicago Historical Society
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