Newspapers have been called “the first draft of history.” Thanks to a national project called Chronicling America, the Tennessee Library and Archives (TSLA) will soon be making even more of those valuable historical records available to the public on the Internet, free of charge.
TSLA recently learned that additional federal grant funds for the project will be made available by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. Those funds will allow TSLA to convert state newspapers from the 1880s to the 1920s into a digital format that can be stored on the Chronicling America web site.
In cooperation with the University of Tennessee, TSLA has already provided more than 120,000 pages of historical news to the site. In the previous phase of the project, TSLA focused its efforts on digitizing newspapers from the Civil War era, roughly 1850 through 1875.
Tennessee’s contribution to the online collection from that era represents 40 different titles published from big cities like Knoxville and Memphis as well as small towns such as Bolivar, Fayetteville and Loudon. Each newspaper is displayed in full and researchers can search the online index to find pages containing information of interest.
A panel of Tennessee historians and educators will help determine which newspapers are digitized during the project’s next phase.
“It is vital that we preserve Tennessee’s history – and these newspapers are some of the best records available for doing that,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Transferring these records to a digital format will make them more accessible to the public, as they should be.”
The Chronicling America project has been underway since 2009, with most states across the country participating. The Chronicling America team recently announced that a total of 5 million pages of newspapers have been added to the collection – and still counting.
Chronicling America will be partnering with National History Day to help students find and better utilize the information found in these newspapers.
To read more about the project, visit: