A collaboration between Virginia Tech’s Digital Imaging and Archiving group and the George C. Marshall Foundation in Lexington, Va., has resulted in a new resource; the original, searchable online copy of the complete Marshall Plan.
Compiled in 1947, the 3,700-page plan contains the pivotal laws, as well as the testimonies and statements of President Harry Truman, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, and other leaders who developed the European Recovery Program after World War II.
The George C. Marshall Foundation received the one-of-a-kind book in 1968, presented by Virginia Congressman J. Vaughn Gary, with the goal of preserving the volume and making it available for future generations.
“The Marshall Plan has significance not only as a historical document, but specifically as a U.S. diplomatic and foreign policy resource that is still in high demand today,” said Gary Worley, director of imaging and repository initiatives, part of Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies at Virginia Tech. “As the most successful U.S. foreign policy program, the plan provides a road map for how nations, or even whole continents, can set a course for recovery and the restoration of peace, investor confidence, and economic and social development after a major upheaval.”
Producing the digital version required extreme care by imaging specialist John Baird, to prevent damage to the pages during scanning, and months of meticulous work by imaging specialist Verner Plott, who worked with Worley to edit each page of the volume, preserving the authentic look and original typography while improving legibility.
“The results achieved by the Virginia Tech group far exceeded our expectations,” noted Paul Barron, director of library and archives at the foundation. “The scans were completed without having to unbind the book or damage it in any way, and the completed volume is of exceptional quality. Our collaboration with Dr. Worley’s group will continue to grow, bringing many more notable documents online.”
The book adds to a large collection of primary source material on George C. Marshall that has been made available online through this collaboration, including biographies, congressional testimonies, collected papers, and General Marshall’s World War I memoirs, as well as those of his wife, Katherine Tupper Marshall.
The Marshall Papers are hosted on the foundation’s website, with support from Virginia Tech’s Discovery Commons, an online repository of research, historical, and scholarly documents.
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