Photographs of Civil Engineering from the Civil War

The Herman Haupt Civil War Military Transportation Photographs collection, which includes sixty photographs showing the Union Army’s construction of roads and bridges, has been digitized and is now available online. Brigadier General Herman Haupt, responsible for the publication of these photographs, was chief of construction and transportation on the United States military railroads from 1863 to 1865. Many of the photographs in this collection show truss bridges designed by Haupt, whose bridge design made such a distinct impression President Abraham Lincoln that he remarked “That man Haupt has built a bridge four hundred feet long and eighty feet high, across Potomac Creek, on which loaded trains are passing every hour, and upon my word, gentlemen, there is nothing in it but cornstalks and beanpoles.”

On the cover of the book containing the descriptions of the photographs is a hand written note reading “Photographs were taken by Capt. A.J. Russell Chief of Photograph Corps. U.S. Military Railroads.” A second handwritten note reads “This handwriting is that of Herman Haupt with which I am familiar. Edward Haupt July 19/1928.” Andrew J. Russell was the first official photographer of the Union Army and captured many of its engineering projects, including those overseen by Haupt. Russell is perhaps best known for his later work with the Union Pacific Railroad, capturing the historic meeting of the Transcontinental Rail at Promontory Summit, Utah.

SC PHOTO 0001- Photograph 13
SC PHOTO 0001- Photograph 13

Haupt was adept at rapidly constructing bridges that helped the advancement of the Union Army. He was also skilled at damaging railroads to prevent their use by the Confederate Army and repairing the damage done to railroads by the Confederate Army. Many of the photographs depict the bending and straightening of rails by various different methods.

SC PHOTO 0001- Photograph 56
SC PHOTO 0001- Photograph 56

This collection also includes illustrated recreations of many of Haupt’s and Russell’s photographs. A brief comparison of the illustrations with the original photographs reveals some subtle alterations. While many of the photographs feature black laborers, some the laborers in the illustrated reproductions are inaccurately portrayed as white.

The digitized photographs and their descriptions can be found at Lehigh’s digital collections. Additional information about Lehigh’s holdings can be accessed in the finding aid for this collection.

Read more about Herman Haupt at the National Archives website.

See a complete set of these photographs at the Library of Congress.

The Eiffel Tower, 1900

In honor of last week’s Bastille Day, the French National Day celebrating the 1789 storming of the Bastille Prison during the French Revolution, Special Collections would like to highlight another French institution, the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel and built for the 1889 Paris World’s Fair Exhibition, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The Champs de Mars, where the tower is located, was also the location of the first Bastille Day celebration in 1790 as well as many other events during the French Revolution. At the time of its construction, the Eiffel Tower represented a massive technological and architectural triumph, constructed entirely of wrought iron and measuring 324 meters (1,063 ft). At its completion, the Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest building.


In 1900, Gustave Eiffel published La Tour de Trois Cents Mètres [The Tower of Three Hundred Meters], which documents the engineering and design involved in building the Eiffel Tower. Included in this book are a series of photographs documenting the construction process of the tower from foundations to completion. These photographs, taken from Special Collections’ copy of Eiffel’s book, are presented in the gallery below. A digitized version of the complete book is available online through the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Lehigh Library Record

Eiffel, Gustave. La Tour De Trois Cents Mètres. Paris: Société des imprimeries Lemercier, 1900.

Plans for the Panama Canal, 1892-1894

The archival manuscript “Memoria y Planos de un anteproyecto para la terminacion del Canal de Panama” has been digitized and made available in Lehigh’s Digital Library. More detailed information regarding this manuscript, as well as many of Lehigh’s other archival collections, is available in Special Collections’ archive guides.

The title of this work roughly translates to “Memory and plans of a preliminary draft for the completion of the Panama Canal.” Given the subjects covered and the rich illustrations, this work could be of particular interest to those in the Lehigh community studying civil engineering.

Front Cover
Front Cover

Physical Description

The manuscript is bound within stiff card paper covers of burgundy colored paper with gilt title and decorative borders. The pages are edged in red.  It is illustrated with three folded plans including two blue prints: Proyecto de construccion en túnel Plano,  Perfil longitudinal por el eje, and one lithograph by C. Ferreiro illustrating a tunnel.

Proyecto de construccion en túnel [Blueprint]
Proyecto de construccion en túnel [Blueprint]
Sección longitudinal del túnel; Sección trasversal del túnel [Lithograph]
Sección longitudinal del túnel; Sección trasversal del túnel [Lithograph]
Historical Background

The Panama Canal began construction in 1882 and was completed in 1914. This resulted in the creation of a highly prized trade route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the splitting of the American continents. As the earliest date recorded in the manuscript is 1892, it was written while construction on the canal was ongoing. The manuscript was considered a significant contribution to the engineering community as it was awarded a gold medal by the Academia de Inventores of Paris in 1894.

The author of this work, Gabriel Moreno Campo, appears to have been based in Spain and been involved in the iron and railroad business. Campo had also published plans for the creation of a transoceanic canal located in Colombia, the construction of which was awarded to an international company in 1876 but ultimately failed.

Lehigh Connection

The Bucyrus Company, which manufactured steam shovels and dredges, was headed by Lehigh alumni. The cement used in the Panama Canal building came from the Lehigh Valley and the steel gates for the five sets of locks used to construct the canal were manufactured by the company of Lehigh alumni McClintic and Marshall (LU CE 1888) in Pennsylvania.

Lehigh’s Library Guides Get A Fresh Look

The Lehigh Libraries are pleased to announce a new version of our library guides. The guides now have a modern interface that is compatible with mobile devices. In addition, the subject librarians have freshened up the content in order to showcase the libraries’ broad range of resources and databases.

Faculty who are interested in tailored course guides should contact their subject librarian.

Next time you get stuck in your research, take a look at a library guide and let a helpful librarian show you the ropes!

What is a THATCamp?

THATCamp, short for The Humanities and Technology Camp, is part of the unconference movement.  It is open to anyone with an interest in the Humanities & Technology (both broadly defined).  THATCamps are informal and active- there are no presentations, presenters, or audiences.

But what will we talk about?  That’s the best part!  The participants will decide the agenda the morning of the unconference.  Once accepted to a THATCamp, participants may pose discussion topics that interest them-  usually at the intersection of Humanities and Technology.  The group will vote and set the schedule.  For more information on or examples of  proposals, please visit THATCamp Lehigh Valley.  So come prepared to chat, teach, make, or play on March 1-2, 2013.

In addition to the unconference day, there will also be a series of workshops, which are designed for those with an interest in DH (Digital Humanities).  Workshops are designed as introductions to these tools.  There will be two large group sessions- Introduction to WordPress and Project Management.  Participants will also choose one small group session on Digitization 101, Academic Blogging, Mapping Your World, or Omeka.  For a full description of each of these workshops, please visit, THATCamp Lehigh Valley.

Registration will open Jan. 3, 2012.  It is free to attend with the generous support from Friends of Lehigh Libraries, the Humanities Center, Faculty Development, the College of Arts and Sciences, and with the support of a Core Competencies Grant.

Still a bit unsure about THATCamp, please contact Jessica (jea211) with any questions.  Or check out our copy of Mob Rule Learning by Michelle Boule.  Boule’s work examines the philosophical underpinning of the unconference movement.

In Brief:

Who: Faculty, Students, Cultural Institutions, Archives, Libraries, and Technologists

Where: Lehigh University

When: March 1-2, 2013

Registration: Jan. 3, 2013



Introducing ASA 2.0: A New Library Search and Discovery Tool!

In recent years, Lehigh Libraries has been focusing on innovative services through adopting open source software solutions to build a next generation library environment.  A first step in the direction of more dynamic user-centric offerings was the introduction, in January 2011, of a new Library website built upon the Drupal content management system.  Also, the Libraries is a founding partner in the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) project, a two year project funded in conjunction with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop community source software for academic libraries. Now, Lehigh Libraries is pleased to announce another initiative with the potential to transform the Library experience for our users: ASA 2.0, a next generation search and discovery tool for Library resources.

ASA 2.0 Search Results Page
ASA 2.0 Search Results Page

ASA 2.0 is powered by VuFind, an open source discovery technology developed under the leadership of Villanova University. With VuFind, ASA 2.0 has the potential to do more than search and display for the Library catalog.  ASA 2.0 incorporates many innovative features to allow users to query and browse multiple Library resources in a simple, yet sophisticated, manner.  Some features of ASA 2.0 include:

*Faceted Searching. The user starts from a basic search box and then can narrow down the results by clicking on various facets of the results such as Format, Language, Author, Genre, Era and Region.

*Live Record Status and Location. Enables the display of current holdings information.

*My Account. Logging into “My Account” allows one to check the status of a library account, request items from the library, and renew items that are already checked out. Also, the user may “tag” records with descriptors for easier retrieval, and mark titles as “favorites.”

* Persistent URLs mean that you can bookmark any search result URL that can be used over and over, presenting the same or updated results, if new collections have been added since your last access

*Saved Searches. The user may save resources from both the search results page and from the record view page to their own custom lists.

*Citation Management: The user may export records to citation management software like RefWorks, EndNote and Zotero.

*”Similar Items”. When viewing a record, the user will be offered suggestions of resources that are similar to the current resource.

*Browse for Resources. The user may browse the catalog and explore what the library has rather than only being able to see a very narrow spectrum of results.

ASA 2.0 is currently in BETA mode. This means we are still actively developing and soliciting feedback from our Library patrons. For the time being, the ASA Online Catalog Search on the Library Website will remain unchanged.  But, we invite you to take ASA 2.0 for a test run or, if you like it, bookmark ASA 2.0 as use it as your primary discovery tool for the Library catalog.  In either case, please take a moment to share your feedback by completing this short survey about the new ASA 2.0 Online Library Catalog Search!


Cell Phones, Copyright, and Culture! Oh My!

Last month I read an article in the NYTimes, “Can Your Camera Phone Turn You Into a Pirate?” by Nick Bilton, which has stayed on my mind and I continue to ponder.   Nick Bilton describes how he and his wife are sitting in a bookstore, taking pictures from books on interior design that they want to share with their contractor.  He later wondered if he had done anything wrong.

The article addresses copyright and fair use, but it also got me thinking about the bigger picture (pun intended) in a day and age where library budgets are being slashed and bookstores are closing their doors.  It also has to go beyond the economics of copyright and fair use, as I think we also need to think seriously about what ramifications there may be based on the value we as a society place on information, intellectual property and creativity.

As a librarian, I am all in favor of all kinds of information being easily and readily accessible.  I also want to respect the rights (and financial well-being) of creators of these information and works.  Additionally,  I also want to see creativity and innovation grow.  However, copyright itself seems to have become a concept of extremes, where copyright either needs to be tightened and much more restrictive or it should be loosened and overly accessible (i.e. free for all).  Copyright is a very gray area though, one that seems to just cause more confusion.  In many ways, this confusion seems to have lead to indifference, granted not intentional indifference.

It’s not just kids and students sharing digital content of all kinds that are unaware of these rights, but as seen from the NYTimes article, even those who are deeply ingrained in the information business are unclear as to what is right and what is wrong.  Last year, an article in a cooking magazine created an Internet meme, with an editor of the magazine responding that “the web is considered ‘public domain’“.   Nick Bilton comments in his article, “It’s not as if we had destroyed anything: We didn’t rip out any pages.”  These attitudes of indifference and uncertainty cannot be an excuse for the behavior, but rather they illustrate that more needs to be done not only to understand copyright, but to ensure that copyright acts as a mechanism to protect not only the creator of the work, but also looks at the economic and cultural impact of these works.

If copyright becomes too limiting, then education, creativity and innovation can be stifled.  On the other hand, enforcement of copyright, or the lack thereof, especially in today’s digital age, can also inhibit creativity and innovation.  Why create something if that creation cannot be protected and it can be given away freely?  Free isn’t always free; often there are hidden costs.  The article ends with a quote, “By the time this [the economic repercussions of people taking pictures of books with the phone’s camera] becomes an issue, we might not even have bookstores anymore.”  It’s these kind of hidden costs that have me worried and that I think we need to become more aware of.