Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Project Sends Teddy Roosevelt's Papers Into The Digital Age

Jacqueline Billig, left, and Sarah Curley have been working at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to digitize many of Theodore Roosevelt's papers. NPS photo.

Work is under way at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to bring many of Theodore Roosevelt's papers to your computer monitor.

Sagamore Hill, of course, was President Roosevelt's "summer White House" and where he lived out the last year's of his life.

Since last August two women with a passion for history -- Jacqueline Billig and Sarah Curley -- have been working under historic site Museum Technician Mark Koziolat at Sagamore Hill, thanks to the support of Dickinson State University in North Dakota, to digitize many of the president's papers. Once they finish, the documents will be made available on the Internet in much the same way papers from presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are available on the Library of Congress website.

According to the National Park Service, the "bulk of the Roosevelt papers exist in two repositories: the Library of Congress and the Houghton Library at Harvard University. Other items are held by the six National Park Service sites connected to Theodore Roosevelt: the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in New York City, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington, D.C., Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and Mount Rushmore."

Ms. Billig is a teaching artist, educator and self-described lifelong learner. She holds a bachelor of arts in elementary education from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a major in psychology. Ms. Billig, who recalls visiting Sagamore Hill with her fourth-grade class, was enticed by her love of history to apply for the digitization work.

Ms. Curley holds a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has a true appreciation and passion for the arts and history. She found the position at Sagamore Hill to be a genuinely remarkable opportunity both professionally and personally.

Additionally, the women discovered a new found appreciation for the Park Service. They were surprised to see the amount of time, hard work and dedication that goes into a National Park Service operation. Sarah plans to begin giving tours of the Theodore Roosevelt Home as a volunteer with the hopes of one day landing a park ranger position with the Park Service.

Comments

The work being done at Sagamore Hill is part of a larger project to digitize the papers of Theodore Roosevelt, undertaken by the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University (ND). We are proud to collaborate with Sagamore Hill and five other National Park sites, as well as the Library of Congress, Harvard College Library, and others, to gather the papers and artifacts of the 26th President in one collection online. The materials will be freely available to the public beginning in late 2011. For more information or to view samples of the documents from Sagamore Hill and the other sites, visit www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park started this partnership with Dickinson State University in North Dakota, which is just 35 miles from the park. We are very pleased to be a part of it. The digitized documents will be useful to the national parks and their employees and visitors, but also to the world. We thank Dickinson State University for taking on this amazing project of worldwide significance. We are so happy for our friends at Sagamore Hill and their success!