“The Valley of the Shadow” -Kathryn Gimborys

“The Valley of the Shadow” is an online archive by the Valley Project, created by the Virginia Center for Digital History and the University of Virginia Library. The archive displays personal, community, statewide, and national data and records in the interest of exploring responses to the buildup to the Civil War, the war, and Reconstruction. The site is organized into three categories, “The Eve of the War: Fall 1859 to Spring 1861”, “The War Years: Spring 1861 to Spring 1865”, and “The Aftermath: Spring 1865 to Fall 1870.” The archive is simply constructed and very straightforward, with the home page resembling a site map. Each section has a “Reference Center”, and additional sections displaying content, including census and veteran records, newspaper clips, images and maps, letters and diaries, and general statistics from the different years. Each page includes a general introduction, and each image or document in accompanied by explanatory text, along with the name of the artist/author and the year. You cannot search the whole site, but you can search within each section and each subsection (i.e. within “The War Years”, or within “Letters & Diaries” in “The War Years.”) The site puts on emphasize on contextualizing the archived images and documents, and I think it’s a really great resource to begin researching Civil War primary sources.



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