Great News!

The Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project has received funding for the next two years! That means another 100,000 pages of historical Tennessee newspapers coming to your computer screen!

The National Endowment for the Humanities made the announcement last week. Other awardees are: Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa*, Maryland*, Michigan*, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina*, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. (*new in 2012)

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to take this project into its second phase. The Advisory Group will meet in the fall to select the titles for digitization. The time period we plan to cover in phase two will begin circa 1880, where phase one ended. The end date hasn’t yet been determined. Our only limitations are the program’s 1922 cut-off date (anything later is subject to copyright laws), and the 100,000 page limit.

We’ll bring you more details after the Advisory Group has met and made its selections. As with phase one, when making the title selection the Group will endeavor to represent the broadest spectrum possible, geographically, politically, ethnically and culturally.

A HUGE thank you to NEH and the Library of Congress for continuing to support this compelling and valuable project.

Literally jumping for joy! Winchester Home Journal. May 31, 1877.



National History Day

The National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced the creation of “a new contest to encourage middle and high school students to use Chronicling America in their projects for National History Day. This will include cash prizes for exceptional use of the newspaper archives for junior and senior students in all submission categories. All National History Day participants who incorporate Chronicling America in their project research will receive certificates of recognition.”

Each year, students in grades 6 through 12 prepare exhibits, websites, papers, performances, and documentaries, on historical topics related to the National History Day theme. The theme for 2013 is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.” The entries are judged first at local level (Tennessee is divided into six regions), then state level, and finally national level.

Earlier this year I was invited to be a judge at the East Tennessee regional contest. The standard of entries was outstanding. This contest inspires students to engage with history, while learning invaluable research and presentation skills that they can apply to other aspects of their studies. I was truly impressed with the level of work I saw. Can’t wait for next year’s contest!

Tennessee has a great track record at national level too! This year, Rebecca Derby and Rachel Emond from Sevier County High School were awarded the gold medal in the Senior Group Exhibit category for their project, “Ignition of a Revolution:  The Fire that Changed America.” Also, Springfield student Brittany Wilharm, was awarded “The Legacy Prize” sponsored by the Creativity Foundation.

For more information on Tennessee History Day visit:

Hurrah for the Fourth!

In celebration of the Fourth of July, may I recommend a delightful, day-long steamboat excursion along the Mississippi? If you can’t make the daylight trip, plan on taking the romantic moonlight excursion. And enjoy the band!

Memphis Public Ledger. July 3, 1874

Keep Cool

Temperatures reached record highs in East Tennessee over the weekend. 105’F!!

If only we could order from the past …

Memphis Public Ledger. July 2, 1872

Historical Newspaper Portal

If you’re interested in searching historical newspapers from further afield (as well as American papers), take a look at

The portal makes it possible to search all of the world’s digital newspapers from one place and at one time. (Okay, not ALL but they’re working on it.) To date, these include newspaper collections from Australia’s and New Zealand’s national libraries, the Upper Hutt Newspaper Archive in NZ, and in the United States: Cambridge Public Library, MA, Chronicling America, the University of California, and the University of Richmond, VA. And it’s FREE.

Elephind was launched recently by the New Zealand-based company, Digital Library Consulting Ltd. The portal uses Veridian, the company’s own software, developed specifically for accessing digitized historical newspapers online.

Here’s a snapshot of the Advanced Search page. Click on it to visit to the page.