Multi-Year McGregor Digitization Project Concludes

Through January, we’re publishing year-in-review highlights from FY2020. Download a full PDF of this year’s Annual Report to read more!

A Library project to digitize the rarest and most significant titles from the renowned 20,000-volume Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History concluded on Nov. 5, 2019 when John Lawson’s 1709 “A New Voyage to Carolina” became available online in the Library’s catalog. The project, managed by Special Collections curator David Whitesell, began in 2014 with a $245,000 grant from the McGregor Fund and was extended by $70,000 in 2017. The Library Digital Production Group’s high definition scans of 136,067 pages from 547 rare works dating from as early as 1475 (including delicate fold-out maps) are now available for viewing and downloading. Library conservator Sue Donovan performed conservation work on some of the books, whose digital preservation will greatly reduce their physical usage.

Fanciful eighteenth century drawings of indigenous wildlife, including a bison that looks like a wooly domestic cow, a tortoise, a snake twined around another snake, an opossom, a coiled rattlesnake "charming" a squirrel down a tree, a mountain lion upon the back of a deer. a bear eating a fish it caught from a stream, and a racoon baiting a crab with its tail in the water.

Illustration of native fauna from John Lawson’s 1709 “A New Voyage to Carolina,” Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History, the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

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