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BOHR, IMLS, and Jessica

Good morning, readers!

Jessica Eichlin is our guest blogger today and she’s here to share the unique experience that she’s had with the Monitor, the Library, and the Monitor Center over the past few months. Read on to see what she has been up to!

One of the ongoing projects here at The Mariners’ Museum Library is the Collections Access Project, an IMLS grant whose focus is on the cataloging and digitization of archival resources that have to do with the Battle of Hampton Roads (BOHR). I was a cataloging intern for the project last summer but thanks to my experience at the Library, I have a new-found appreciation for the Monitor and the BOHR project as I spend my time now as an intern for the Monitor Center of The Mariners’ Museum.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Battle of Hampton Roads was fought on March 8-9, 1862 at the confluence of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay. It was the first battle fought between two ironclad ships-a new technology at the time. The USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack), clashed and fought to a draw. Neither ship won, but since the Virginia was thought to have retreated first, the Union considered it a victory and a morale booster.

As I worked on the project last summer, I read through a constant stream of names. John Lorimer Worden, Alban Stimers, John Ericsson, David Dixon Porter, and many others filled the pages of the collection I was assigned to catalog. I worked with MS0013, the Isacc Newton Jr. Collection, and cataloged a variety of manuscripts which included military documents, personal letters, and photographs. Isaac Newton Jr. was the First Engineer on the Monitor, but I didn’t know much about him at the time.

After spending 120 hours over the summer working on the Isaac Newton Jr. Collection, I knew a lot more about the Battle of Hampton Roads and about the Monitor than when I started and my experience truly came full circle when I started interning for the Monitor Center. I was taken on a tour of the facilities on my first day and I was able to see the Wet Lab that has now been temporarily shut-down. I got chills viewing the tanks which contain parts of the engines. These engines were the same ones used every day by First Engineer Newton during the Battle of Hampton Roads so it was truly incredible to view the artifacts first-hand.

Textbooks and dates can only tell us so much, but these artifacts truly speak for themselves.
Newton’s list of crewmembers lost on the Monitor MS0013.

Jessica has been a wonderful intern for the Library and we know that the Monitor Center is lucky to have her. The BOHR grant is scheduled to be completed this year so we’ll keep you posted on the progress!

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