The Erie Canal, which was built between 1817 and 1825, had a profound impact on the economy and daily life in nineteenth-century America. The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) recently launched this exhibit dedicated to the Erie Canal. This new exhibit, curated by Heidi Ziemer and Dan Ward from the Western New York Library Resources Council, in collaboration with the Empire State Digital Network, invites visitors to engage in a number of primary documents that illuminate the canal's history. For instance, in the plans and early concepts section, visitors can view the 1792 account book of Philip Schuyler, who founded the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company. In a 1796 report to the New York Legislature, the company argued that construction of a canal would present, "the prospect of a speedy reduction of the price of transportation, would doubtless greatly enhance the value of the property of the people of this state..." Other topics covered in this exhibition include the construction of the canal ("Building the Canal"), the impact of the canal on popular culture ("Canal Culture"), and insights into how the canal facilitated migration and, by extension, the culture and politics of upstate New York ("Moving People and Ideas").
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