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Grant number like: PW-253766-17

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Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA 24061-2000)
Edward Joseph Khair Gitre (Project Director: July 2016 to May 2019)

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Preservation and Access

[White paper][Grant products][Media coverage]

$50,000 (approved)
$49,846 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 4/30/2018

The American Soldier Collaborative Digital Archive

A planning project to develop a digital archive of 60,000 survey forms containing personal observations and opinions of soldiers, produced during World War II, gathered by the U.S. War Department and used for the four-volume publication The American Soldier (1949-50).

Our project will make available to scholars and to the public a remarkable collection of written reflections on war and the armed forces by American soldiers who fought in the Second World War. During the conflict, the War Department's Research Branch surveyed approximately half a million service personnel. Respondents were asked about myriad topics, from the effectiveness of training to the preference of fabrics used in uniforms. Service personnel were also provided space to write frankly about their other concerns. Until now, only by visiting the National Archives could one read the 60,000-plus anonymous "free text" captured by the Branch. Virginia Tech and Cornell University will build an online digital archive that reunites the branches’ social scientific data and these free-text responses. We will also provide a tool that will allow students, scholars, and the public to transcribe and analyze digitized free-text responses, so as to render the text searchable and thus accessible.