Just as the "St. Louis Freedom Suits / Legal Encoding Project" was concluding its official grant period last August, I was contacted by Professor Jeffrey Smith, Chair of the Department of History at Lindenwood University. He had been put in touch with the project by Michael Everman, Archivist at the Missouri State Archives-St. Louis. For several years, Smith had sent students to research historic lawsuits from the St. Louis Circuit Court at MSA-St. Louis, and similar materials from the St. Charles County Historical Society’s Archives. Though page-images from all the cases now in the "St. Louis Freedom Suits / Legal Encoding Project" have been available for several years, the transcription of the cases, improved search and expansion of materials in the new project made the resource a new proposition for instruction.
Professor Smith directed students in his "American History to 1865 Advanced Survey" and in his "Senior Seminar in History" this past fall to the new resource. Students selected a single case, and explored the case in depth. In addition to the more usual scholarly output of term papers, students also created spreadsheets with some of the basic information about the persons involved in the cases they reviewed. These spreadsheets were sent here to Digital Library Services, and the information they have provided will be incorporated back into the site over the next several months—we hope in time for new classes in the fall! Thanks to the contributing students, Kami Ahrens, Trace Curvey, John Hough, Alex Ledbetter and Brian Peterson, and especially to Professor Smith for helping to enrich the resource.