The general idea for a student archive project was inspired by an American Studies Crossroads Project workshop at Georgetown University directed by Randy Bass in summer 1998, specifically incubated by a New Media Classroom workshop directed by Tracey Weis and Bret Eynon at Millersville University in summer 1999, born in a senior seminar for English majors in Film and History at Lehigh University in the fall of 1999, and refined as part of my participation in the Visible Knowledge Project at Georgetown, co-directed by Bass and Eynon, in summer 2000.
The first version of the web site was designed by Lehigh English Department graduate student Anthony Bleach, and Bleach and fellow graduate student Stephen Tompkins were essential "web dudes" in the early years. In the summer of 2001, English graduate student Nathaniel Eastman, our second webmaster, substantially redesigned both the appearance and navigation of the entire site. In 2007 the project was completely redesigned again by Lehigh web designer Robert Weidman to become part of Lehigh's digital library History on Trial site.
A succinct account of the origin and nature of the Reel American History project can be found in my "Reel American History: An Archive Built by Novices," Film & History 32.2 (2002): 82-86.
For further information, contact Professor Edward J. Gallagher, Department of English, Lehigh University via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.