Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project
Part of the National Endowment for the Humanities National Digital Newspaper Program
For project updates and other newspaper related snippets, please visit the TNDP blog.
The Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project (TNDP) -- a partnership between the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Tennessee State Library and Archives -- is part of the National Digital Newspaper Project (NDNP). Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the Library of Congress, NDNP is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based resource providing access to selected digitized historical newspapers (1836-1922) and a searchable database of descriptive information for all US newspapers (1690-present). As newspapers are digitized, the papers are made available through Chronicling America. Access is free to the public - no subscription or registration required.
In the first phase of the TNDP (2010-12) 100,000 pages of Tennessee newspapers published during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras were added to Chronicling America. Titles were selected by a statewide panel of historians, genealogists, educators, librarians, and journalism scholars. The selection covers the broadest scope possible, encompassing the state’s three Grand Divisions, featuring Confederate and Union papers, and representing diverse political perspectives. In August 2012, TNDP received NEH funding to continue the project. This second phase (2012-14) will chiefly focus on newspapers published during the Gilded Age (1870s to 1900).
Historical Tennessee newspapers lend real voices to pivotal events in the history of our state and the nation. Digitizing these newspapers breathes life into political, commercial, religious and social events of the time. For instance, more Civil War battles were fought in Tennessee than any other state, with the exception of Virginia. Newspapers chronicled these bloody battles and the emotions and issues that accompanied them. Tennessee was the state to give the 19th Amendment the two-thirds majority necessary for ratification. Newspapers encapsulated the debate over giving women the right to vote. Historical newspapers also provide glimpses of the minutiae of everyday life, such as Lost and Found items, For Sale and Wanted ads, weather reports and social calendars.
Are you interested in becoming involved in the project? If you’d like to join the Advisory Group, contact JoAnne Deeken or Louisa Trott. You can also help us improve the searchability of the newspapers through our local TNDP website. Since fonts in older newspapers often differ from modern fonts and because the papers themselves are old, sometimes the OCR process (optical character recognition, the process which makes individual words searchable with a computer) is not perfect. If you visit the TNDP website and sign in, you can help correct the OCR text, which will help improve the accuracy of search results.