FRASER content comes from many sources. The Research Library at the St. Louis Fed was established around 1922 and has amassed a significant collection of economic publications that served as the initial source for FRASER scanning projects. However, FRASER librarians are always looking for new collections and new sources of economic information. For example, we regularly monitor the Needs and Offers lists published by federal depository libraries to request items that we are interested in scanning.[1] In addition, we also download relevant digital content from government websites and make it available on FRASER. Still, many of our collections are the result of agreements with partner institutions to digitize materials we don’t physically own. In all of these cases, our choices are guided by our Collection Development Policy.

FRASER’s partnership program is designed to ensure a cooperative and professional approach to working with institutions to provide free public access to high-quality digital images, excellent content, and unique materials. In many instances, the arrangements are tailored to meet our needs and our partner’s preferences. All partners are offered copies of the digital images and metadata created by the FRASER team. In some cases, digitization must be done on-site at the partner institution. [2] In other cases, materials are loaned to the FRASER team for digitization. Other times we agree to contract with a third party to digitize important materials.

A few highlights from our many partners:

  • Government Printing Office (GPO) – Our very first FRASER digitization partnership—with the GPO—began in 2005 to provide permanent public access to digitized Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) publications and associated metadata[3] and has opened numerous opportunities to digitize content from other FDLP libraries. (The GPO is now called the Government Publishing Office.)
  • Missouri History Museum – In 2006, digitization of the papers of William McChesney Martin, Jr., Fed Chairman from 1951-1970, marked FRASER’s first digitation partnership of this kind and was made easier by the collection’s St. Louis location. Items were selected for digitization at the item level.
  • Brookings Institution – In 2007, we formed a partnership to digitize the records of the Committee on the History of the Federal Reserve System. This collection consists of documents gathered or generated between 1954 and 1958, during the course of the Committee’s work to undertake “a comprehensive history of the Federal Reserve System.”[4] For this project, we digitized entire series, rather than the item-level selections made with the Martin papers, thus providing users a more complete experience with the collection.
  • University of Utah – In 2008, we embarked on a multi-year project to digitize the Marriner S. Eccles Papers. Eccles served as Fed Chairman (1934-1948) and a member (1948-1951) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and was the architect of the Banking Act of 1935, which restructured the Federal Reserve System into its current form.
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York – Also in 2008, we embarked on another multi-year project to digitize the Circulars distributed by the New York Fed to member banks.[5]
  • Library of Congress – In 2014, we initiated a partnership with the Library of Congress to digitize the papers of Federal Reserve Chairs held there (Eugene Meyer, 1930-1933, and Charles S. Hamlin, 1914-1916) along with the materials relating to the National Monetary Commission in the Nelson W. Aldrich Papers.
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – In 2005, we began digitization work at the National Archives in a very informal manner, hiring a local researcher to scan specific items cited by Dr. Allan H. Meltzer in A History of the Federal Reserve, Volume 1: 1913-1951.[6] Since then, we have formalized our partnership and anticipate ongoing cooperation for years to come. Our formal partnership has included materials from Records of the Federal Reserve System, Record Group 82 and other relevant collections, including Records of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (often called the Freedman’s Bank, this private corporation, chartered by Congress in 1865 as a savings institution for former slaves and their descendants, failed and closed in 1874 and had its affairs transferred to the Comptroller of the Currency[7]), and Records of the Division of Negro Economics, 1919-1921 (a short-lived division created in 1918, as part of the Department of Labor’s War Labor Administration Office, and dissolved in 1921[8]).
  • And more on the way!

If you would like to learn more about how our digitization partnerships work—and how you might help provide open access to economic information—please contact us!

 

[1] See Help Wanted: Missing Items for information on items we are seeking for digitization.

[2] See Librarian Life: Offsite Scanning for discussion of how we approach scanning work at partner institutions.

[3] For additional details about the partnership, see the FDLP’s 2005 news release Banking & Economic Data Available through FRASER Partnership and a 2011 partnership showcase by the FDLP, The Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER).

[4] For a full overview of the Committee’s goals, see Report on a Pilot Project and Proposal for a Further Grant (April 20, 1954), Entry 166, Box 1, Folder 1.

[5] See Staff Picks: The New York Fed Circulars for highlights from the collection.

[6] The “Meltzer project” is discussed in greater detail in Librarian Life: Meltzer’s History of the Federal Reserve.

[7] See Historical Echoes: The Legacy of Freedman’s Savings and Trust for more information on the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company.

[8] This series is discussed in greater detail in Staff Picks: The “Division of Negro Economics,” 1918-1921.

 

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.

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