Hiram College has received a grant from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, based in New York City, that will help the College digitize its massive collection of documents and photos related to the life and times of James A. Garfield.
The $10,000 one-year grant is only part of the funding that will be necessary to convert the collection, which contains thousands of original handwritten and other documents, journals, records and photos from throughout Garfield’s life, including his time at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, which was the precursor of Hiram College, and some papers from his brief time as President of the United States.
The documents will be digitized for easier use by researchers and scholars interested in Garfield, and will be made available to the public electronically through the OhioLINK Digital Resources Commons, a consortium of 88 Ohio academic libraries in partnership with the State Library.
Jennifer Morrow, Hiram’s archivist, said many of the materials in the collection are fragile with age, and that digitization will preserve their content and increase access to them. Previously, special permission was needed to view the documents, which are stored in the Hiram College library’s climate controlled archives.
Garfield was a student and later President of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, founded in 1850. He also represented Hiram and surrounding portions of northeast Ohio in the Ohio General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives, before being elected President in 1880. He died of wounds from an assassination attempt in 1881.