Website unlocks Brooklyn's history

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One of the great online assets for anyone interested in Brooklyn's - and therefore New York's - history is the digitized archives of the Brooklyn Eagle established by the Brooklyn Public Library.

Visit and you will open the yellowed pages of the great Brooklyn Eagle, offering history's first draft of the most legendary borough of New York. Brooklyn's infancy is available with the click of a mouse, from the early pages edited by Walt Whitman, to the building of the Coney Island amusement parks, to the construction of the Roeblings' Brooklyn Bridge, to the landscaping of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's Prospect Park, to the creation of our boulevards and rail lines, to the founding of the Brooklyn Public Library system, to the great mistake of '98, when the City of Brooklyn was incorporated into the City of New York.

Since the 147,000 pages were digitized in 2001 with a $239,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, some 45,000 people a month make 15-minute or longer visits to the site. Access to any pertinent event in the past can be gained by entering a date or keyword and there before you like a miraculous digital exhumation appears the corresponding page from the Brooklyn Eagle crypt.

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William R. Everdell - 3/8/2006

This site is quite wonderful; but it's not quite as new news as the Daily News makes it seem. I've been using it for years in both teaching and writing. It's in facsimile and text will come fairly clean with OCR. Thanks to the selfless local archivists for saving the Eagle's paper archive and scanning it in.

-Bill Everdell, Brooklyn