plain text

 

This plain vanilla text from an 1886 Chicago Haymarket trial transcript sparked my interest in legal history. How cool to imagine a tape recorder capturing the testimony of a laborer present at the bombing and trial of suspected anarchists!  In fact, stenographic transcripts were typically produced post-trial. Primary source materials from the Haymarket trial are available at the Chicago History Museum’s Haymarket Affair Digital Collection. See also Carl Smith’s path-breaking early digital history project The Dramas of Haymarket.

 

The interrelated sites offer a rare combination of artifacts, images, sounds, and in-depth interpretation, in addition to an historical archive. Transcripts of the transcripts are provided. Site mechanics feel a bit dated, but it is still a magnificent collection, and important as an early attempt at moving history onto the web. It is difficult to corral resources to update the technical infrastructure of e-history sites, which will pass into oblivion far more quickly than plain text.

 

Testimony of George Koehler, Illinois v. August Spies (1886)