University of Virginia Library University of Virginia
Early American Fiction Collection

About the Early American Fiction Collection

In 1996, the University of Virginia Library received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize several hundred volumes of early American fiction dating from 1789-1850. The texts chosen for the project include first printings of works by well-known authors such as James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, as well as more obscure authors like Rufus Dawes and Hannah Webster Foster. With the success of the first phase of the project, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided funding for the Library to digitize an additional set of texts from 1851-1875 as well as a collection of related manuscript items held in Special Collections at the University of Virginia Library. Now completed, the Early American Fiction collection includes 886 volumes, totaling 230,016 pages. 136 authors are represented. In addition, 199 manuscript items (525 pages of drafts, letters, and miscellaneous items) have been transcribed and 124 non-text items (photos, engravings, etc.) have been included in the collection.

These texts have been digitized, keyboarded, marked up in TEI-conformant XML, and made available on-line for full-text searching and browsing. In addition, full color images of every page of these 886 first edition texts, including spines and covers, are available on-line. The EAF Workflow site contains details about scanning and markup procedures.

So that the Library may continue to build and maintain this important collection, access to the full Early American Fiction collection is licensed through Pro-Quest Information and Learning (see product details here). A subset of the collection that includes over 175 texts and all of the manuscript items and ancillary materials is freely available to all users as part of the Digital Library at the University of Virginia.

Study Resources for Early American Fiction