Library of Congress websites offline, Aug 22-24

Chronicling America homepage interference

The Library of Congress’s websites–including Chronicling America–will be temporarily offline this weekend. Please see the announcement below:

Websites Down Aug. 22-24, 2014

The Library’s public websites (, & others) will be unavailable from 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 22 through Sunday, Aug. 24.

The website will be available over the weekend of August 22-24. Data will be current through Thursday, August 21, and updates will resume on Monday, August 25.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, all reading rooms and research areas, Library Shop, Madison and Adams buildings will be closed to the public.

The Thomas Jefferson Building’s Great Hall and exhibitions will be open to the public from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 23. No food service will be available throughout the day, however the vending lounge in the Thomas Jefferson Building cellar will be open.

The Architect of the Capitol will be conducting essential maintenance on the Capitol Hill campus from Friday, Aug. 22, through Sunday, Aug. 24, resulting in power outages that will require these closings.

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PR 14-A03
ISSN 0731-3527

Chronicling America Update

The final batch for Phase II has been uploaded to Chronicling America!

Camden Chronicle Ad 1915

Camden Chronicle. August 20, 1915.

This batch contains further issues of titles already available on Chronicling America:
The Camden Chronicle (1904-1916)
The Pulaski Citizen (1887-1889)
Clarksville Daily Chronicle | Clarksville Evening Chronicle | Clarksville Evening Tobacco Leaf-Chronicle | Daily Tobacco Leaf-Chronicle (1884-1892)
Knoxville Daily Chronicle (1881-1882)

TNDP Phase III officially begins September 1. An Advisory Board meeting will be held soon to discuss the title selection for this next phase.

We look forward to bringing you another 100,000 pages of historical Tennessee newspapers.

Chronicling America Update

KDC18800805 p1 FrontPage

Knoxville Daily Chronicle. August 5, 1880.
Cornerstone for UT’s Agricultural Hall laid!

The penultimate batch for the 2012-14 TNDP award cycle was uploaded to Chronicling America this morning. The batch includes one “new” title and the continuation of several others:

Bolivar Bulletin (1889-1900)

Clarksville Weekly Chronicle (1876-1890)

Columbia Herald & Mail |   Herald & Mail | Columbia Herald (1873-1901)

Knoxville Daily Chronicle (1873-1880) [new!]

The final batch for this award cycle should be uploaded soon.


Earlier this week, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced $34 million in awards and offers for 177 humanities projects, including ten NDNP awardees for 2014.

We are thrilled to announce that TNDP’s application was successful!

This third award will allow us to digitize a further 100,000 pages of historic Tennessee newspapers to add to the 200,000 pages digitized over the last few years.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Library of Congress.

Two new states will be joining NDNP in 2014 – Nevada and South Dakota – and there will be eight returning states: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.

Phase III will begin on September 1, 2014 — watch this space!



John Seigenthaler, 1927 – 2014

John Seigenthaler, one of Tennessee’s great newspapermen, passed away today.

Seigenthaler’s career in journalism and newspapering began when he was in high school. He devoted the rest of his life to the profession. Below is a very brief timeline of his career. For a detailed account of Seigenthaler’s achievements, see this piece in the Tennessean.

The Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project is especially appreciative of the support Mr Seigenthaler gave the project in its early stages. Mr Seigenthaler provided a letter of support for the initial NEH award application, which helped get the project under way.

1940s – Editor-in-chief of the Panther, school newspaper at Father Ryan High School in Nashville

1949 – Hired as a reporter at the Tennessean

Late1950s/early 1960s – Seigenthaler became friends with Robert F. Kennedy, and later served in the Kennedy administration as chief negotiator with the Alabama governor. He was also US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s administrative assistant in the US Justice Department.

1962 – At the age of 34, Seigenthaler returned to the Tennessean as editor. Under his editorship, the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting of the coal industry and the United Mine Workers.

1973 –  Seigenthaler became publisher of the Tennessean

1982 – Became the inaugural editorial director of the new national, USA Today.

1989 – Named chairman, publisher and CEOof the Tennessean.

1991 – Retired from the Tennessean and USA Today. Founded the First Amendment Center.

2005 – Wikipedia court case.



National History Day Contest

Congratulations to all the students and teachers who took part in this year’s

National History Day Contest!

NHD logo

National History Day is a nationwide contest in which over half a million students participate throughout the year. “Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries.” (source:

Extra special congratulations to our Tennessee representatives! The awards ceremony took place this morning (June 19, 2014) and I’m pleased to announce that Tennessee won two medals and a special award.

Ibtihal Malley from Pleasant View School, Memphis, won second place for her paper, Palestine: Refugee Rights and International Responsibilities (Category: Junior Individual). Her teacher is Andre Clarke.

Emma Grace Thompson from Berean Christian School Independent Study Program, Knoxville, won first place for her documentary Rough in the Bunch: Appalachia’s Rayon Girls Fight for the Right to Strike (Category: Senior Individual). Her teacher is Sharron Thompson. Emma Grace also received a special “Legacy” award for her documentary.

The standard of work the students produce for this contest is outstanding. I have been a judge for the East Tennessee contest for the last few years and each time I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the quality of research and presentation.

Congratulations again to all participants – –  and to the organizers too!

UPDATE: Humanities Tennessee has a wonderfully in-depth story about NHD 2014 on its website here.



Chronicling America Update

Another batch of Tennessee newspapers has been added to Chronicling America. This batch includes Bolivar Bulletin 1882-1889; Camden Chronicle 1895-1903; Lawrence Democrat 1906-1913; Morristown Gazette 1879-1884; Sequachee News and Sequachee Valley News 1895-1909.

There will be two more batches under TNDP’s current NEH award. Earlier this year we applied for a third (and final) award to continue digitizing Tennessee’s historical newspapers. We will hear in July if our application was successful.

Sequachee [Sequatchie] Valley News front page

Sequachee [Sequatchie] Valley News. January 3, 1901.

Historical Newspapers and Genealogy

Historical newspapers are a great resource for genealogists. In addition to the birth, marriage, and death announcements, other useful items include legal and court notices, advertisements, community and social events, and local news. The minutiae of everyday life take on greater significance 100 or so years after publication. Newspapers often published lists of names, whether for letters left at the post office, passenger lists, hotel registrations, or military lists. These small threads of information may seem trivial or incidental to the casual reader, but for the genealogist they enrich the fabric of family histories.

List of letters at post office

Southern Standard [McMinnville, TN]. August 13, 1887.

The local news section can often provide family historians with intriguing anecdotes about their forebears. I was recently invited to write a short piece for the Warren County Genealogical Association Bulletin. Editor Chris Keathley shared an interesting piece about a WCGA member’s ancestor:

Nashville Union and American. July 1, 1873.

Nashville Union and American. July 11, 1873.

TNGenWeb Coordinator (and TNDP Advisory Board member!), Taneya Koonce, has created the Historical News Portal specifically for sharing and indexing historical news about individuals in Tennessee. “Items on this site are selectively chosen from various newspapers with focus on items of genealogical & family history relevance such as births, marriages, and deaths and interesting stories.” Articles such as the one below give a wonderful glimpse into the social life of our early 20th century ancestors:

Surprise Party article

Nashville Globe. January 18, 1907.

The TNGenWeb’s Historical News Portal provides a transcription of the article, along with a link to the item in Chronicling America, and a list of names appearing in the article (which can be cross-referenced, if they appear in other articles). The site also allows for comments, so genealogists can leave useful information for others. Check out the portal, and its parent site TNGenWeb.


Chronicling America Update

The Rugbeian. Gardneing illustration.

The Rugbeian. June 1881.

Another two batches of Tennessee newspapers have been added to Chronicling America. Titles include the Lawrence Democrat (1890-1906), Savannah Courier (1885-1901), Maryville Times (1885-1899), the Rugbeian (1881-1891), Morristown Gazette (1868-1878), and the Johnson City Comet (1884-1909).

Explore some of the interesting illustrations in the Rugbeian, and take a look at the Comet’s ornamental masthead:

Johnson City Comet

Johnson City Comet. June 26, 1890.