Just in time for Barack Obama’s second Inauguration Day, the library is putting historic materials from the president’s first inauguration online.
In 2008, as part of its extensive collection of political Americana, the library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections began building a collection of publicity and memorabilia documenting Obama’s campaign and election.
In 2011, the library began working with Travis Gosa, assistant professor of Africana studies, to digitize the materials through the Grants Program for Digital Collections.
Gosa noted that the campaign materials show strategies meant to unify a divided nation around the charismatic image of Obama. “It will allow researchers to observe the social and political changes that have occurred in the time between the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections,” he said.
The library has begun to compile a digital catalog and index of those materials online. They provide a unique visual iconography of the election of America’s first black president, offering a teaching and research resource for understanding modern campaign strategies, political mobilization and the representation of American politics through various media markets.