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About the Early DC Project

Washington DC Map


The Early DC Court Project in an ongoing collaborative effort among students, faculty, and staff at Oberlin College. The project includes hundreds of court documents from the early 19th century in Washington, D.C. The records not only illuminate events that caught national attention such as the attempted escape of 77 slaves on the schooner Pearl, but the everyday tensions, claims, and conflicts among Washington inhabitants that brought them into the purview of the local court. The students work regularly to transcribe original records, maintain metadata, and curate exhibits for broader audiences. The records offer a window into American life in the 19th century.