The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) celebrated a milestone last month: one million newspaper pages are now available on the Chronicling America Web site at http://www.loc.gov/chroniclingamerica/, a valuable public resource that allows readers to search content and read, download, save and print articles, images and advertisements from key historical newspapers. This long-term project, a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, involves the digitization of historical newspapers from every U.S. state and territory and gives the public unprecedented access to historical resources that were previously unavailable.
Last year, NDNP awarded Penn State's University Libraries a grant of $393,650 to digitize key Pennsylvania newspapers over a two-year period. From an initial list of 48, four titles were chosen.
The "Scranton Tribune," a Republican-leaning publication, covered major events such as the Lattimer Massacre and President Theodore Roosevelt's intervention in the Anthracite Coal Strike. More than 17,000 pages from January 1897 to December 1902 will be digitized.
The "Pittsburg Dispatch," known for sensational and bold headlines, is particularly interesting for the articles written by Elizabeth Cochrane. Under the pen name of Nellie Bly, Cochrane focused on the plight of women in the workplace. Notable events covered during this period include the Johnstown Flood and the Homestead Strike, and are among the 16,200 pages from January 1889 to December 1892 that will be digitized.
The "Lancaster Daily Intelligencer", a Democratic opposition newspaper, circulated in a Republican-ruled district and focused on civil corruption, immigration, women's issues, public education and race relations. More than 12,500 pages will be digitized, from the period between January 1880 and December 1889.
The "Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger," a conservative publication, was launched by magazine publisher Cyrus Curtis and included the "Scrapple" cartoon, society pages, sports, and a financial section. Major events covered in the paper during this time were World War I, prohibition, and women's suffrage; 54,200 pages that were published between September 1914 and December 1922 will be digitized.
Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project (PaDNP) Manager Karen Morrow said selecting titles was particularly challenging. "There are many worthy titles that could represent the Commonwealth, but only a few met the specifications for both intellectual content and microfilm quality and availability."
"Now that the title selection is completed, PaDNP is engaged in the ongoing digitization workflow. Batches with approximately 10,000 images are being sent monthly to the Library of Congress for verification and inspection," said Morrow.
The first batch, which was sent recently, contained images of the "Scranton Tribune." The batches are uploaded to the Chronicling America Web site on a quarterly basis; readers can expect to see the "Scranton Tribune" appear there in September.
The June 16 milestone was celebrated at the Newseum in Washington D.C., with representatives from Penn State attending the event. To date, institutions from 22 states have been awarded grants to participate in the project. For more information, visit http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/ online. Visit the PaDNP Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?ref=sb#/group.php?gid=119318330031.