The Letters of Katherine Anne Porter Now Available Online!

We are proud to announce a new online resource exploring the life and work American author Katherine Anne Porter is now available!

Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977  provides access to digitized correspondence written by Porter, whose literary archives is held in Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library. Previously, researchers interested in reading her letters visited the Maryland Room (the reading room for special collections and University Archives) in person or requested photocopies/scans of the materials. Now, users have instant access to approximately 3800 items of her correspondence, which have been digitized and made accessible online, via a searchable and browsable database .

This online resource is the result of an extensive digitization project in the Libraries. The Katherine Anne Porter Correspondence Project is an ongoing collaboration between the University of Maryland Libraries Special Collections and University Archives and Digital System and Stewardship units, supported by a grant from the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Trust. 

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) is known primarily for her short stories and novel, Ship of Fools. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966 for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter. She lived a rich life, traveling across the United States and abroad while writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her correspondence highlights her interests in writing, travel, politics, and current events, as well as documenting her private life and career.

Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977  offers a glimpse into her bustling life and career, providing background information and historical context for both Porter enthusiasts and those unfamiliar with her work.

Along with images of Porter throughout her life, users can explore details of Porter’s life by decade, as well as by the places she lived and visited, both in the US and abroad. These glimpses into her biography reveal fascinating aspects of her life. For example, did you know Katherine Anne Porter contracted the Spanish Influenza while working as a reporter in Denver? That she lived in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi Party? Did you know Porter lived in College Park, MD? And she lived in Washington D.C. at the time of the Kennedy inauguration?

Visit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977 and discover more!


Rare Community Radio Broadcasts Now Digitized

Photo of stack of audio reel boxes from NFCBSpecial Collections & University Archives is pleased to announce 600 historic community radio broadcasts are now available for streaming in UMD Digital Collections. These programs represent a portion of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) Program Archive, which resides in the National Public Broadcasting Archives (NPBA) held by Mass Media & Culture. They were digitized through a Recordings-at-Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) in 2017.

Spanning the years 1965-1986, these broadcasts come from community stations mostly throughout the U.S. and Canada, many of which are still thriving, and others which are no longer on the air. The breadth of programming contained in these programs is remarkable, and underscores the still-active mission of the NFCB to support and promote the participation of women and people of color at all levels of public broadcasting. This collection is one of few known archives that feature underrepresented voices in the history of American media.

Photograph of audio reel boxes with titles of programs including

Anna Johns, the student assistant who created the enhanced metadata for the programs, described some of the more intriguing contents she encountered as she listened. For instance, the Feminist Radio Network, a project created and managed by women at Georgetown in the 1970s, offered some especially valuable content:

One particularly interesting recording, “Mabel Vernon: Suffragist” presents an interview with a 91 year old woman who participated in the woman’s suffrage movement. A program called “Writing about Women’s Lives” meanwhile, features both interviews with authors Grace Paley, Maxine Kumin, and Alice Walker and readings of their short works, while a “Classic Blues” program presents the music of influential women while discussing their importance to the development of the genre. These recordings preserve the momentous impact of diverse women through history, allowing contemporary feminists to observe their predecessors firsthand.

Among some of the interviews, lectures and speeches, Ms. Johns found valuable material there as well:

The program “Kahn-Tineta Horn of Mohawk Nation” contains a lecture by Native American activist Kahn-Tineta Horn about suppressed truths regarding Native Americans throughout history, as well as injustices imposed upon Native American people historically and in the contemporary era. The program “Auburn Avenue and Atlanta Black Commerce” features an interesting discussion about the city of Atlanta between World War I and World War II from the perspective of African American individuals, largely through interviews with people who lived through the era. And the program “Nikki Giovanni on Education” is a particularly notable 1978 speech by poet Nikki Giovanni discussing the importance of literacy, and the difficulties faced by African American children in schools.

Photo of stack of audio reel boxes with titles including

Additionally, there is a substantial number of musical programs that feature live performances from cultures throughout the world, including Javanese gamelan, Russian folk, Brazilian capoeira, Japanese koto, African mbira and American bluegrass.

With access to these rare and vital primary source materials, scholars from a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, media studies, sociology, political science, ethnomusicology, folklore, African-American history, and LGBTQ and women’s studies will be able to enrich historical contexts in both their research and teaching, broadening understandings of the human experience in the latter half of the 20th century. These recordings will also be useful to educators from kindergarten through graduate school because they illustrate American history from alternative perspectives and demonstrate the vital platform that community radio has provided for people whose voices aren’t often heard on commercial airwaves.

Laura Schnitker, Curator of Mass Media & Culture, was interviewed about the project on a podcast called Radio Survivor. Listen online

Post by Laura Schnitker | Ethnomusicologist, Audiovisual Archivist, and Curator of Mass Media & Culture in Special Collections and University Archives at University of Maryland Libraries

Photo of stack of audio reel boxes with titles including

I need a primary source now!

Having trouble finding primary sources? Want to research outside of Special Collections hours? Can’t visit Hornbake Library in person? No problem! This post is all about finding digitized primary sources in Special Collections and University Archives at UMD.


We have lots of digitized material from Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland that is available 24/7!  Look through photographs, documents, film, and audio on our Digital Collections site, browse photographs and documents on Flickr, and read books and periodicals on the Internet Archive.

Here’s a list of places to look online for our digitized content:

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The Early Printing Collection: An Introduction

Special Collections and University Archives at UMD is home to a new (very old!) collection of early printing. The collection has been processed and digitized, and is available in Digital Collections or by request in person in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library. You can also view our Flickr album featuring images from the collection.


Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

The Early Printing Collection is a set of thirty-six leaves and pages that were printed in Europe in the late 15th century. It includes printed pages from many well-known works, including the The Nuremberg Chronicle, Historia Scholastica and The Cologne Chronicle.


Typographical printing done before 1501 in Europe is often called Incunabula, a funny pseudo-Latin phrase that refers to the birth of printing in the 15th century. The 15th century saw important advances in the movable type printing press thanks to Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press invented around 1450. The Gutenberg Bible is the first (and probably most famous) book printed using movable type, and while you won’t find any of its pages in the Early Printing Collection, the collection does feature many other pages from Bibles and other religious and historical chronicles printed around the same time period. Within the collection the printing itself is generally clear and easy to read — that is, if you understand Latin or Middle German!

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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: