The Easton Library Company Database, developed by Christopher Phillips, Associate Professor of English in partnership with Digital Scholarship Services, features digitized and transcribed records from the Easton Library Company, a subscription library that served residents of Easton, Pennsylvania from 1811 to 1862. At the center of this project is a series of folio-size ledgers, held by Easton Area Public Library, documenting loans made to patrons for more than fifty years. These records offer a uniquely detailed history of reading habits in an early 19th century American city. To date, all ledgers have been digitized, and nearly half have been transcribed. In electronic form, the loan records give us a better understanding of how the reading habits of early citizens of Easton may have shaped the politics, education, and culture of the city over a hundred years ago. As we add biographical information about early library readers, including profession, gender, kinship, civic and religious affiliations, among other things, it will become possible to discover connections between readers of the same content.
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