August 29, 2014
The Allston Dana Papers and the Panama Canal
August 15th marked the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. Coincidentally, August also brought a visit from Dr. Peter H. Dana who had the distinct pleasure of conducting research about the canal in his grandfathers’ papers. Housed in the Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections, The Allston Dana Papers include material regarding the design of the third lock of the Panama Canal as well as the design or study of the Delaware Bridge, the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and the Triborough Bridge complex. The collection includes blueprints, drawings, reports, photographs and correspondence.
"Figure 1 from Appendix 2 from “The Report of the Governor of the Panama Canal. 1947” shows only the thirty possible isthmian routes still being considered in the mid 20th century." Image and caption courtesy of Dr. Peter H. Dana. From the Allston Dana Papers, Box 2.
Dr. Dana, an Electronic Navigation, Precise Positioning, and Geographic Information Systems Research and Development consultant, has studied the development of routes across the isthmus for a number of years. He tells us “The Nica canal notion (never far from public discourse during the last two centuries) was the basis for my interest in Greytown, Nicaragua, the place considered in my 1999 dissertation, Diversity in Descriptions of a Destroyed Place: Greytown, Nicaragua. Department of Geography, University of Texas at Austin. ”
Dr. Dana continues to write about the region, most recently contributing a chapter entitled “Cutting Across” to Mapping Latin America: Space and Society, 1492-2000. Jordana Dym and Karl Offen, Editors, 2011. Of his time spent working with The Allston Dana Papers, he shares "I really enjoyed seeing my grandfather’s name at the bottom of Panama Canal Documents."
In preparation for Dr. Dana’s visit, we reviewed the existing HTML finding aid for The Allston Dana Papers and determined that it was a good candidate for our EAD conversion project. For this project, our legacy finding aids are being enhanced with additional descriptive material and converted into Encoded Archival Descriptions using the OhioLINK EAD Finding Aid Creation Tool. We are excited about providing this new level of access to our collections and look forward to posting more updates in the near future.
For more information contact the Special Collections reference desk at firstname.lastname@example.org