How to Search for Black History Month in Chronicling America

Happy Black History Month!

In honor of this special month, let’s find out how to search for Black History in our Maryland newspapers in Chronicling America!

The voice of labor. (Cumberland, Md.), 16 Jan. 1941. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060375/1941-01-16/ed-1/seq-3/>
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Searching Digitized Newspapers in Chronicling America

Welcome to Chronicling America

A collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress, the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) awards organizations grants to create state partnerships for newspaper digitization. As a result, state partners contribute digitized newspapers to Chronicling America. As of January 2021, Chronicling America contains over 17 million pages of digitized newspapers that are freely accessible to the public. Newspapers from 48 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico are included in this remarkable collection (check out this map for a visual!). Newspapers in Chronicling America go as far back as 1777, but as seen in this data visualization, most of the digitized newspaper titles were published between 1850 and 1922. For the state of Maryland, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project at the University of Maryland Libraries partners with other archives, libraries, and historical societies throughout the state to digitize newspapers published in Maryland for Chronicling America.

The citizen. (Frederick City, Md.), 01 March 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060092/1895-03-01/ed-1/seq-1/>

For the Maryland collection, Chronicling America contains issues from 50 newspaper titles from across the state published between 1840 and 1951. Some highlights from the collection include:

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Holiday Festivities in the Newspapers

It’s the holiday season! Let’s take a look at all the ways people in Maryland have celebrated Chanukah and Christmas over the years found in historic Maryland newspapers from Chronicling America.

Frostburg mining journal. [volume] (Frostburg, Md.), 16 Dec. 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025350/1893-12-16/ed-1/seq-5/>
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It’s the Holiday Season: Shopping and Advertisements in Historic Maryland Newspapers

Holiday shopping has always been popular. But thanks to the ample opportunities for online shopping, free shipping, early Black Friday deals, and stores opening on Thanksgiving, it’s fairly easy to spot the ways shopping has changed throughout the twenty-first century.

With the COVID-19 pandemic enacting many changes, it’s fair to assume that holiday shopping is going to be a little different this year: Amazon shifted their annual Prime Days from the summer to the fall, Target and Walmart announced store closings on Thanksgiving Day, and many small businesses will continue to rely on curb-side pick-up and online ordering this holiday season. 

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Spooky Celebrations

Evening capital and Maryland gazette. (Annapolis, Md.), 31 Oct. 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88065726/1921-10-31/ed-1/seq-1/>

All Hallow’s Eve, All Hallow Eve, Hallow Eve, Hallow Even, Hallow E’en, Hallowe’en, Halloween, Eve of All Saints’ Day–whatever you want to call it or however you’d like to spell it–is a day with origins dating all the way back to the Celts, and it came to the American East Coast in the 1600s (“Halloween 2020”). More common in Maryland and southern states, Halloween wasn’t celebrated nationally until the Third Wave of Immigration (“Halloween 2020”). Today, many people in the US have come to observe Halloween as a commercial and secular holiday, but the way that people celebrate it may differ by individual or family. We can recognize these differences throughout the years, across the state of Maryland.

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17 million pages in Chronicling America!

This month, Chronicling America reached 17 million newspaper pages! Historic newspaper pages are contributed to the Chronicling America newspaper database by National Digital Newspaper Program partner organizations from all across the country. The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project at University of Maryland Libraries is the Maryland state awardee of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), which is a partnership between National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress.

Image courtesy of National Endowment for the Humanities.
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#MarylandWomenVote: Celebrating the Centennial of the 19th Amendment

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) here at UMD Libraries teamed up with the Maryland State Archives (MSA) and other cultural heritage institutions across the state to carry out a social media campaign on the Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook platforms to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. We at HMNP wanted our posts to showcase elements of women’s suffrage in Maryland and/or aspects from the broader suffrage movement that were featured in the Chronicling America Maryland newspaper titles. MSA wanted their posts to examine specific stories from the movement in Maryland. By utilizing the same hashtags, our content would trend together on each platform, and we invited others to use the same hashtags during a week long campaign to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment in Maryland earlier this month.

First HMNP tweet to kick off the #MarylandWomenVote and #MDSuffrage campaign on Twitter. Image utilized in post from: Maryland suffrage news. (Baltimore, Md.), 13 June 1914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060379/1914-06-13/ed-1/seq-1/>.
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How to search for Maryland newspapers in Chronicling America

The first issues digitized by the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project are now live on the Library of Congress database Chronicling America. (See the official announcement here!) Thus far, only issues of the German-language newspaper Der Deutsche Correspondent are online; however, some English titles will be available later in the year.

This post will provide an overview of how to use Chronicling America‘s interface to search for digitized newspapers. Click on the images to see an enlarged view, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments!

Searching in Chronicling America

The easiest way to search for digitized Maryland newspapers is to use the “Search Pages” tab on Chronicling America’s homepage. From this bar, you can narrow your search by state, year, and/or keyword.

A screen capture from Chronicling America. The "Search Pages" tab has been circled in red.

Even more options are available from the “Advanced Search” tab.

A screen capture from Chronicling America. The "Advanced Search" tab has been circled in red.

From this tab, you can search by newspaper title, limit you results to only front pages, search English-, Spanish-, French-, or German-language newspapers, or perform more precise keyword searches.

If you perform a search using either one of these tabs, you will see thumbnails for the first 20 results that meet your search criteria. This is called the “gallery view” of your results. You can switch your view to see a simple list of your search results instead using the “List” link in the top right corner of the results display.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that shows the gallery view of search results.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that shows the list view of search results.

Click on a result to get a closer look at that page.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that shows the newspaper viewer.

Using the buttons and links in the newspaper viewer, you can zoom in and out on the page, view additional pages of the issue, and download pages.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that explains the functions of buttons and links in the newspaper viewer's navigation bar.

If you used the keyword search feature, you’ll notice that the search terms have been highlighted in red. For example, I used the “Advanced Search” tab to limit my search for the phrase “Enoch Pratt” to newspapers from the state of Maryland and only from the year 1886, the year that the Enoch Pratt Free Library opened in Baltimore.

A screen capture from Chronicling America that illustrates how to use the advanced search.

My search returned 64 results. The first result has my search phrase “Enoch Pratt” highlighted several times, plus it is dated January 5, the day that the library opened. I’ll click on the page to get a closer look.

 A screen capture from Chronicling America of the advanced search results.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of one of the search results pages.

Zooming in on the article reveals the following headline:

Die “Enoch Pratt-Freibibliothek.” Offizielle Eröffnung der großartigen Stiftung des Hrn. Enoch Pratt.

This roughly translates to:

The “Enoch Pratt Free Library.” Official opening of the great Foundation of Mr. Enoch Pratt.

Browsing newspapers in Chronicling America

If you’re more interested in browsing newspapers, the calendar view offers a quick way to see dates for which digitized newspapers are available for a given title. Getting to the calendar view for a title is easy. Click the third search tab, “All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922,” and limit your results by state, ethnicity, or language.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of the tab "All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922."

If you have already performed a search and are viewing one of the result pages, you can also navigate to the calendar view by clicking the “All Issues” link in the newspaper viewer.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of the navigation bar in the newspaper viewer. The "All Issues" link has been circled in red.

I limited my search to the state of Maryland to in order to see which titles have been digitized from Maryland thus far.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of search results after using the "All Digigized Newspapers 1836-1922" tab. The "Browse Issues" column has been circled in red.

Click the calendar icon in the “Browse Issues” column to see the calendar view.

Use the dropdown menu to view different years. Dates with an active link have at least one edition for that date; click to view the issue(s) for that date.

A screen capture from Chronicling America of the calendar view of Der Deutsche Correspondent.

Additional Resources

Those are the basics, but if you need more information, check out the plethora of online tutorials that others have created for Chronicling America:

Story on 1912 typhoon goes viral

Image of article with headline "15,000 DIE IN PHILIPPINE STORM" from the November 30, 1912, issue of the Washington Herald.In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda’s destruction in the Philippines earlier this month, a 1912 newspaper hosted by Chronicling America has gone viral.

The November 30, 1912, issue of the Washington Herald contains a front page story about a typhoon estimated to have killed 15,000 people and “practically destroyed” Tacloban, the same city hardest hit by Yolanda. Additional details were sparse because the storm had destroyed all telegraphic communications infrastructure.

Although I usually don’t buy into the pessimistic idiom that “history repeats itself,” that’s exactly what seems to have happened with the devastating typhoons of 1912 and 2013.

See the entire issue of the Washington Herald here.

Inaugural post of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Have you ever had to do research that involved looking at newspapers on microfilm? If so, then you know that it can be a tedious process. After hours of scrolling through reels of microfilm, patiently scanning each page to find the information you need, at long last you’ll find the one sentence of an article that proves your thesis correct—or at least hopefully you will! I’m sure at several times throughout the course of your research you thought to yourself, “This would be so much easier if I could just do a keyword search of this whole newspaper. And it would be great if I could do it from home. In my pajamas.” Luckily, some folks at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Library of Congress agree!

Through August 2014 the NEH will fund the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project at the University of Maryland Libraries through a National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant. Our project will digitize 100,000 pages of newspaper content from the state of Maryland and make it free and searchable via the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America digital newspaper collection. Chronicling America allows users to search over 6.6 million newspaper pages by title, date or location of publication, and keyword.*

The first title to be digitized by the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project is Der Deutsche Correspondent. This German-language newspaper was published in Baltimore from 1841 to 1918.

Image of the offices of Der Deutsche Correspondent in Baltimore, MD from the June 5, 1878 issue of the newspaper.

Image of the offices of Der Deutsche Correspondent in Baltimore, MD from the June 5, 1878 issue of the newspaper.

We hope you’ll join us for a series of posts about Maryland’s newspapers, including a preview of some of the fascinating content we’ve stumbled upon so far in Der Deutsche Correspondent! More to come soon!

*Since Chronicling America is hosted by the Library of Congress, you’ll have to wait until the government reopens to try it out. 😦

[UPDATE: As of 10/4/13 at 10am, Chronicling America appears to be up and working!]