Developed in the 1990s with the support of an NEH grant, The Valley of the Shadow is a web-based portal to the history of two communities—one Northern, one Southern—between 1859 and 1867. Through maps, images, church records, newspapers, letters, diaries, and census and tax records, the digital archive provides visitors the opportunity to explore the lives of ordinary men and women during the Civil War and the early Reconstruction era. In the two decades since its creation, the website has been used in middle school, high school, and college classrooms, as well as by scholars. It served as an early model for what digital history might look like, and its creation has had an extraordinary impact on the career of its creator, Edward Ayers, as well as on digital humanities more broadly.
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