WHEATON, Ill., Dec. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois, announced the completion of the first phase of a massive digitization project that now enables convenient access to historic records from World War II housed in the museum's Robert R. McCormick Research Center.
The project involved digitizing part of the research center's extensive microfilm reel collection of the 1st Infantry Division's WWII battle documents. Researchers, students and the general public now have remote access to WWII-era records of the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division concerning D-Day and other historic battles. There is no charge to view the digital collection, which may be accessed from the home page of the museum's website.
"This new Digital Archive brings life to thousands of documents that would have otherwise only been available to researchers on site at the National Archives or our research center," said Paul Herbert, Executive Director of the First Division Museum. "We look forward to families finding loved ones in the citations, authors doing new research, and students using these incredible primary sources."
Approximately 144,000 pages of have been digitized so far and the First Division Museum is just getting started. The collections include public and private documents, photos and other materials from World War I to the present.
Eric Gillespie, Research Center Director, said "Researchers across the world will now have remote access to the actual plans and records describing the Big Red One's iconic battles."
Founded in 1991, the McCormick Research Center is a go-to resource for military history scholars, authors, veterans and their families. The center also holds the personal and business papers of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, Cantigny's benefactor and himself a First Division WWI veteran. The McCormick Archives, 599 boxes of Col. McCormick's correspondence generated during his time as Editor and Publisher of the Chicago Tribune.
Most of the original WWII documents in the First Division Museum's collection are located at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., as well. However, the documents in Washington are not available digitally.
"The best U.S. Army division museum in the United States just got better," said Rick Atkinson, bestselling military history author and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes. "Digital access to the First Division Museum's extraordinary archive is a boon to scholars, students and curious citizens alike. This is a splendid public service."
The museum's digitization project was 2 years in the making and executed by Northern Micrographics of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
For more information, please call 630.260.8130 or visit FirstDivisionMuseum.org.
About the First Division Museum
The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, part of the nonprofit Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation, promotes public learning about America's military heritage and affairs through the history of the "Big Red One"—the famed 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. It stands in tribute to all who have served our country in the armed forces. The museum's main exhibit hall transports visitors to the trenches of World War I, the beaches of World War II and the jungles of Vietnam. Outside, tanks are displayed from every era, along with personnel carriers and artillery. The Robert R. McCormick Research Center, open to the public, houses the museum's library, archival and photo collections. Visit the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park online at FirstDivisionMuseum.org.
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SOURCE First Division Museum