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Churchill archive to go digital and online

CAMBRIDGE, England, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The Winston Churchill archive of historic documents from drafts of famous speeches to bills for his cigar purchases has been digitized, British historians say.

Nearly a million documents have been made instantly accessible to students, historians, and even modern politicians looking for lessons from the past, archive officials said.

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Digitizing the entire archive, based at Churchill College in Cambridge, will allow researchers "to find a needle in the Churchill haystack," archive director Allen Packwood told The Guardian.

The archive includes school reports, personal letters and official exchanges with kings, presidents and generals.

The digital archive, which can be accessed remotely, is available by subscription, starting at $1,800 for a small college and increasing to several thousand dollars depending on the size of the organization wishing to do research, said Eela Devani, the Churchill project director at Bloomsbury, the company publishing the archive.

Scholars around the world have greeted the announcement with anticipation.

"There are few figures more important to the history of the 20th century than Winston Churchill," David Woolner, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute in the United States, said.

"Making his archives accessible to scholars and students of history the world over ... will provide new generations with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of not only Churchill, but also the tumultuous times in which he lived."

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