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Grant number: PW-253766-17

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PW-253766-17

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA 24061-2000)
Edward Gitre (Project Director: 07/19/2016 to present)

The American Soldier Collaborative Digital Archive

A planning project to develop a digital archive of 60,000 survey forms containing personal observations and opinions of soldiers, produced during World War II, gathered by the U.S. War Department and used for the four-volume publication The American Soldier (1949-50).

Our project will make available to scholars and to the public a remarkable collection of written reflections on war and the armed forces by American soldiers who fought in the Second World War. During the conflict, the War Department's Research Branch surveyed approximately half a million service personnel. Respondents were asked about myriad topics, from the effectiveness of training to the preference of fabrics used in uniforms. Service personnel were also provided space to write frankly about their other concerns. Until now, only by visiting the National Archives could one read the 60,000-plus anonymous "free text" captured by the Branch. Virginia Tech and Cornell University will build an online digital archive that reunites the branches’ social scientific data and these free-text responses. We will also provide a tool that will allow students, scholars, and the public to transcribe and analyze digitized free-text responses, so as to render the text searchable and thus accessible.

Project fields:
Military History; U.S. History

Program:
Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Division:
Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 4/30/2018