Back to home page

Western Trails Project Home | Special Collections Home

To the Western Trails Project, a four-state collaboration of cultural heritage institutions, Wichita State University Libraries, Department of Special Collections has contributed over 950 images of text from the manuscript trading post account journals of Wichita founder James R. Mead and four immigrant travel handbooks.

Mead's trading post account journals record the business transactions between fur traders, settlers, and Native Americans as they hunted and trapped in south central Kansas primarily between 1864 and 1867. The economic interaction recorded on the edge of the frontier offers researchers and students a glimpse into the social, economic and entrepreneurial history of both Kansas and the American West.

The immigrant guides span the years 1859 to 1899, the formative years of Kansas' settlement. Information contained in each book includes description of geographic features, soil fertility, weather, roads, trails and settlements.

Digitization of both formats was accomplished via scanning on a Microtek ScanMaker 9800XL scanner. The files were saved as TIFF images, and deriative access and thumbnail images for Web viewing were created from the master TIFF image. Western States Digital Imaging Best Practices were followed. In the early stages of the project, digitization of already existing microfilm of the account journals was explored; however, it was found that the microfilm did not produce acceptable digital images.

The Technical Services department of the Wichita State University Libraries created the MARC records for each journal and rare book in the project.

No attempts have been made to transcribe the journals or use OCR technology at this time.

Western Trails Project Home | Special Collections Home