The Easton Library Company Database began development in Fall 2011. It interprets the circulation records and catalog (with supporting documents) from the Easton Library Company, a subscription library that served the Easton, PA area from 1811 to 1862. Board minutes and other documents have survived, as has approximately one-sixth of the original collection, but the heart of this project is a set of folio ledgers that preserve the loan records for the ELC from the day it opened until it came under the direction of the newly established Easton High School, which in the Civil War era was across Second Street from the library—an unusually long and early set of library records from an American institution.
In collaboration with digital librarians at Lafayette College and library staff at the Easton Area Public Library (which holds the relevant records), I and a team of research assistants at Lafayette are transcribing the records and populating a database that is freely available on the Web upon completion—though please keep in mind it’s still very much in progress.
This project has benefited from the generous collaboration of the Easton Area Public Library as well as financial support from Lafayette College’s EXCEL Scholars program and the Academic Research Committee.
“Reading the American Renaissance in a Pennsylvania Library,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the American Renaissance, ed. Christopher N. Phillips (New York: Cambridge UP, 2018): 13-23.
“Reading on the Edge of the Atlantic: The Easton Library Company,” in Before the Public Library: Reading, Community, and Identity in the Atlantic World, 1650-1850, eds. Mark Towsey and Kyle Roberts (Boston: Brill, 2018), 286-303.
Article on ELC database in Morning Call (includes photos & video interview), Aug. 1, 2016
Article on DH at Lafayette, incl. feature of ELC database, in Morning Call, Aug. 21, 2013
Article on ELC database in Lafayette alumni magazine
Web version of Lafayette article on database