FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Contact: Stacie Temple, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Stephanie Fleming, (573) 751-4218
Carnahan announces historical Supreme Court records available online
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. ó Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced the addition of over 428,000 document images to the Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Database available through the Missouri Digital Heritage website. A grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in the amount of $148,577 enabled the Missouri State Archives, a division of Carnahanís office, to complete the project.
"My team worked closely with the Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society for over a decade to digitize the records of our state's highest court," Carnahan said. "Citizens will now have unprecedented, free access to court records that reveal stories of the personal challenges and struggles that shaped the history of our state and our people."
The documents added to the database are from the more than 8,400 cases heard by the Supreme Court of Missouri between 1821 and 1865. They provide a unique perspective on a variety of topics related to Missouri history, such as immigration, slavery, westward expansion, Indian affairs, railroad and steamboat travel and even dueling. Documents listing the names of well-known Missourians, including President Abraham Lincolnís Cabinet member and Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, Governor and Confederate General Sterling Price and Civil War Provisional Governor Hamilton Gamble are included.
Perhaps most importantly, these records include the case files of Dred and Harriet Scottís historic freedom suits. Alongside these well-known individuals, common citizens are also documented, providing a distinct picture of 19th-century Missouri life.
The digital images of these documents are now linked to the existing database, making them easily accessible to researchers, teachers, students and interested citizens from their classrooms and homes.
Since 1999, the Missouri State Archives and the Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society have worked together to preserve the historical case files of the Court and to create an annotated, online database to the records. More than 12,000 criminal and civil cases from 1783 to 1889 have been indexed thus far, providing a wealth of historical information available online for free.
For more information on the Supreme Court of Missouri case files or to use the Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Database, visit www.sos.mo.gov/archives/judiciary/supremecourt/.
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