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UC to digitize four decades of city scenes

A collection of negatives and prints that gives you a look into Cincinnati's past is going on the Web.  Work begins today at the University of Cincinnati Libraries to digitize 8,000 images that include both interior and exterior shots of homes and city scenes from 1920 to 1956.   They were taken as part of the city's failed subway development and also to document various street projects. 

Kevin Grace, the head of UC's Archives and Rare Books Library where the collection resides, says the pictures give a crystal clear image of the city during that time.

"It sort of takes your breath away, the clarity of these photos," he said.  "Now with this project we can digitize these and put them all up on the Internet so that people can see them at anytime, download them, whatever may be the case."

The interior images of homes offer a look at how a typical Ohio family lived.  The exterior shots show the layout of city streets and neighborhoods, including stores, businesses and the bustle of everyday life.

"The value is to urban historians, city planners, journalists--anybody who's interested in how American cities developed, the politics involved, the engineering involved, the neighborhood changes, all that," said Grace.  "It's of interest to anyone who's interested in local history."

The project is being funded with a $60,669 state grant.  It's scheduled for completion in October next year when the collection will be fully available online for research and study.