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Laura Harper Leaves a GovDocs Legacy

Posted on: June 22nd, 2017 by Clemon Beamon

Though Government Documents Librarian Laura Harper recently retired, she leaves behind an extensive legacy beyond the collections she curated in her tenure with the University Libraries. With a generous gift, Harper has created the Laura G. Harper Government Publications Fund, which pays for the Congressional Research Digital Collection Historical Archive 1830-2016, the Congressional Hearings Digital Collection 1824-2003, and the Sanborn Maps collection. All three of these resources are invaluable for researchers; in Harper’s words, they include “Even the documentary, day-by-day, most detailed history and correspondence of the Civil War is there in full text…All of the words in the reports are searchable – people, places, battles. By searching the text of hearings in the early 1950’s, for instance, you can trace the rise of McCarthyism…and its fall in 1954 during the historic, 36-day live telecast of the Army McCarthy hearings, when the Senator was asked by lawyer Joseph Welch: ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?’ You can also type in the names of witnesses such as Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett or Will Geer, to read their testimony in earlier investigations of communism in Hollywood.”

Everyone in the library and university community thanks Laura Harper for her generosity, and we will benefit from it for years to come. You can read more about the gift in this story from the UM Foundation.

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