Today, my Graduate Association celebrated Archives Month by hosting a tour of the archival resources we have available on campus: university archives and records center, a branch of the state archives, library special collections, and a manuscript collecting repository. All but special collections are housed in one building (owned by the state archives) on one end of campus. Though I have been on many tours through the building, it was a fantastic experience because I got to be a participant among historians instead of participating as an archivist.
One of the exciting things I learned about today was a project called Chronicling America: Historical American Newspapers, run by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Here are some quick facts about the project I grabbed from their About page:
“Each NDNP [National Digital Newspaper Program] participant receives an award to select and digitize approximately 100,000 newspaper pages representing that state’s regional history, geographic coverage, and events of the particular time period being covered. In order to plan for phased development, the annual award program began with targeting digitized material for the decade 1900-1910. In subsequent award years, the time period was gradually extended decade by decade, to cover the historic period 1836-1922.
Participants are expected to digitize primarily from microfilm holdings for reasons of efficiency and cost, encouraging selection of technically-suitable film, bibliographic completeness, diversity and “orphaned” newspapers (newspapers that have ceased publication and lack active ownership) in order to decrease the likelihood of duplicative digitization by other organizations.”
Using their search bar on the home page, you can narrow your search through key terms, specific states, dates, language, and specific newspapers. Or, browse their featured papers on the home page.
Here is a close-up from the Bisbee Daily Review which was on the front page today.
You can check out the rest of this newspaper and zoom in on the clever Columbus Day poem here: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024827/1912-10-12/ed-1/seq-1/
Newspapers are a great way in which researchers across all disciplines can get a glimpse of what life was like for a group of people in an area. The above newspaper clipping from Bisbee was situated next to a clipping from Chicago which was focusing mostly on political issues and an upcoming election. The two demonstrate two groups of people in two very different areas and what their concerns were on a specific date in history. This project is very exciting for archivists and those we serve and will hopefully be expanded upon as time passes! Be sure to check it out and find out what the people of America were up to in the past!