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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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!]