Meeting of Frontiers Update Marks Purchase of Alaska, 100th Anniversary of the Portsmouth Peace Conference
The Library of Congress has added new collections and interpretive essays to the Meeting of Frontiers website (http://frontiers.loc.gov), the eighth time since the site was first launched in December 1999. Many of the new materials highlight two key episodes in the history of U.S.-Russia relations: the purchase of Alaska by the United States from Russia in 1867 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, which was concluded at the Portsmouth Peace Conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in September 1905. The latest expansion includes over 1,500 items in 7 new collections and 7 existing collections, totaling over 45,000 digital images. These materials are from the Library of Congress, the National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg), the Russian State Library (Moscow), and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
Items and collections related to the Russo-Japanese War include photographs from the battlefields, silent films and photographs of activities at the Portsmouth Peace Conference, and the papers of William A. Marshall. As commander of the Vicksburg, a U.S. Navy ship that was stationed as a neutral observer in the waters between Japan and Russia, Marshall witnessed the the Battle of Chemulpo Bay. His papers include situation reports to the Navy, correspondence with American diplomats in Seoul, and photographs of the sinking of the Russian ships Koreetz and Varyag.
The materials relating to the purchase of Alaska draw on collections in the National Archives and the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Items from the National Archives include the cancelled $7.2 million check for the purchase and the original treaties signed by Tsar Alexander II and President Andrew Johnson. Items from the Library of Congress include copies of memoranda, letters, and briefing reports by such Russian luminaries as Baron von Wrangel, Count Reutern, and Grand Duke Konstantin.
Other additions to the site include, from the National Library of Russia, an album of 274 photographs taken in the late 1920s in Birobidzhan, the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region; a geographic card set of the Russian Empire from 1856; and albums depicting daily life in Yakutia, early Russian expeditions to Siberia and the Russian Far East, and 19th century life in Siberian cities. Additions from the Russian State Library include a number of rare maps of explorations in Siberia.
With the most recent additions, the Meeting of Frontiers website includes more than 630,000 digital images relating to the history of Siberia, Alaska, and the American West. Additional images from partner institutions in Russia and the United States will be added in the coming year.
Meeting of Frontiers is funded by Congressional appropriations in the Library's FY 1999 and FY 2004 budgets. The project is part of the Library’s Global Gateway initiative of digital library partnerships with leading libraries around the world, including the national libraries of Brazil, Egypt, France, the Netherlands, and Spain.
The Library of Congress, founded April 24, 1800, is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. It preserves a collection of 128 million items -- more than two-thirds of which are in media other than books. These include the largest map and film and television collections in the world. In addition to its primary mission of serving the research needs of the U.S. Congress, the Library serves all Americans through its popular Web site (www.loc.gov) and its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill.
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