|Photo from Library of Congress|
A website I've been using the past few weeks, Chronicling America, is produced by a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. The partnership, known as the National Digital Newspaper Program, is an ongoing project to develop a searchable database of U.S. newspapers and to digitize selected historic pages. Currently more than a million digitized newspaper pages are found in Chronicling America. Digitized newspapers date from 1836-1922 and represent newspapers from all U.S. states and territories. A directory of newspapers from 1690-present is also part of the website, and a list of topics widely-covered topics is included to help guide researchers. (Although most of the listed topics don't relate to my current research, glancing through the topics sparks my imagination. A short story involving the roller-skating craze, maybe? A character who practices yoga in 1905? So many possibilities to explore.)
In a related project, the Rural West Initiative, Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University has produced a database visualization based on Chronicling America. A timeline and US map are combined, enabling users to see the geographic distribution of American newspapers over time. Added filters limit results to newspapers in a particular language. For me, the visualization is interesting, but less useful than the newspaper project itself.
Weekly Newspapers, 1690-2011 from Geoff McGhee on Vimeo.
If you know of some good sources you'd like to share, please feel free to comment or share a link. I'm always looking for more.