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Trial by pamphlet

Abolitionist John Brown was executed 153 years ago this December. Now the record of his trial is online for the world to see.

Through a grant from the Save America’s Treasures program, Cornell University Library has restored and digitized hundreds of records of early American trials. The project began in spring 2011, and most of the pamphlets are online and available to the public.

These pamphlets, published between the late 17th and the late 19th centuries, were typically sold on the street soon after a trial concluded. The collection includes accounts of some of the most famous trials of the day, including the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, the trial of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination conspirators and Lizzie Borden’s trial for her parents’ murders.

Search or browse the pamphlets and learn more about the project on its website.


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