Help make pictures in newspapers easier to find!

Screenshot from Beyond Words
Transcribing text will help make cartoons, photographs, and illustrations easier to find in Chronicling America newspapers.

This is your chance to help make pictures in newspapers easier to find!

Beyond Words is a new pilot project by the Library of Congress, which allows everyone to contribute to creating more structured and usable metadata about cartoons, illustrations, maps, and photographs in a selection of Chronicling America’s newspapers.

This pilot project focuses solely on World War One-era newspapers. There are three separate steps you can choose to work on – mark, transcribe, verify. The first allows you to identify pictures on the page, the second lets you transcribe the caption or accompanying text, and the third asks you to verify what others have contributed.

You can also choose a specific state to work on – – there are plenty of Tennessee newspapers!

Just be warned – – it’s VERY addictive!!

Screenshot of Beyond Words
Help create better information for Tennessee newspapers in Chronicling America!

Arkansas and Georgia join NDNP

NDNP – participating states, 2017

From the National Endowment for the Humanities website:

“We are happy to announce the addition of two new partners to the National Digital Newspaper Program: Arkansas and Georgia.  NEH recently made awards to the Arkansas State Archives and the University of Georgia to digitize their historic newspapers.  Forty-five states and one territory now participate in the program.  Soon, we hope to have every state and U.S. territory represented in Chronicling America, the open access database of historic American newspapers jointly created by NEH, the Library of Congress, and state partners across the U.S.

NEH awards have also been issued to partners in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin to continue their contributions.  You can read more about all of the awards in NEH’s press release.

The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between NEH, the Library of Congress, and state partners.  NEH awards enable state partners to choose and digitize newspapers representing their historical, cultural, and geographic diversity.  To date, over 12 million pages of historic newspapers are currently available on Chronicling America, with more being added all the time.  State partners also contribute rich essays about each newspaper title and its history. ”

The Evolution of Memorial Day

From our friends at the National Endowment for the Humanities (the wonderful folks who help make the National Digital Newspaper Program possible!):

+ Click on image to enlarge. Decoration Day Parade (Brownsville, Texas), 1916.
Decoration Day Parade (Brownsville, Texas), 1916. Robert Runyon, photographer. Photo Courtesy of The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin. Runyon (Robert) Photograph Collection, RUN01326..

Did you know that Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day?  Or that the practice of honoring the war dead during spring first arose in the South as the Civil War ended?  For more on the fascinating history of this holiday, please see our new web feature authored by Ralph Canevali.  Historic newspapers from around the country are featured!

To find out how Memorial Day was commemorated historically in Tennessee, use the Advanced Search in Chronicling America to search for Decoration Day or Memorial Day, and limit your search to Select State: Tennessee.

Maryville Times, Tennessee. May 28, 1898.
Maryville Times [Tennessee]. May 28, 1898.

The Handwritten Newspapers Project

The old flag. handwritten newspaper
The Old Flag, Texas, 1864

Thanks to Luke McKernan of the British Library for bringing this fascinating project to our attention.

The Handwritten Newspapers Project “provides bibliographical data, images, resource links, and research notes for hundreds of rare manuscript publications produced under extraordinary conditions in remarkable settings.”

Editor, Roy Alden Atwood, began his research on handwritten newspapers in 1980. This website provides access to the bibliographical information he has accumulated since then. The majority of the works listed are from 19th Century North America, but it includes works from countries around the world, with the earliest publication dating back to 59 B.C., and the most recent from the 21st century.

Fleet Street, London

Men dismantle clock on building August 5, 2016

Straying from this blog’s specific theme of Tennessee newspapers (and more broadly, US newspapers), I couldn’t resist posting a link to this sumptuous selection of newspaper-related photographs in today’s Guardian. The images have been compiled as a tribute to the former hub of the British newspaper industry – Fleet Street – which, sees its last two journalists leaving the street today.

This selection of photographs demonstrates what an incredibly labor-intensive industry newspaper publishing was. From the roomful of typesetters nimbly placing rows of metal type and using mallets to secure/loosen the type, the huge rolls of paper pulled by traction engine through the streets for loading into the massive printing presses, and the small army of Press Association messenger boys.

When I used to work in London, my bus journey would take me the length of Fleet Street. I used to know the accuracy of every clock on that route, so the image of the men dismantling the Telegraph clock made me smile. I also vividly remember News International’s departure from Fleet Street (also featured in this selection), and the “Battle of Wapping” that followed.

St Brides Church
Source: Photo taken by Michael Reeve; Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.; description page is/was here.

Although the street is no longer home to the newspaper industry, it is still its spiritual home, and will remain so as long as Christopher Wren’s St Bride’s Church (“the journalist’s church”) is there.



NEH Chronicling America Data Challenge

Chronicling America Data ChallengeIn November last year, NEH sent out a call for submissions for its Chronicling America Data Challenge. Today, the winners were announced!

You can read more about the challenge and find links to the winning projects here.
Or cut straight to the winning projects:

First Prize
American Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers
Entry By:  Lincoln Mullen, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)

This project tracks Biblical quotations in American newspapers to see how the Bible was used for cultural, religious, social or political purposes.  Users can either enter their own Biblical references or choose from a selection of significant references on a range of topics.  The project draws on both recent digital humanities work tracking the reuse of texts and a deep scholarly interest in the Bible as a cultural text in American life.  The site shows how the Bible was a contested yet common text, including both printed sermons and Sunday school lessons and use of the Bible on every side of issues such as slavery, women’s suffrage and wealth and capitalism.

Second Prize (Tie)
American Lynching: Uncovering a Cultural Narrative
Entry By:  Andrew Bales, PhD Student in Creative Writing, University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)

This project explores America’s long and dark history with lynching, in which newspapers acted as both a catalyst for public killings and a platform for advocating for reform.  Integrating data sets on lynching created by Tuskegee University, the site sheds light on the gruesome culture of lynching, paying close attention to the victims of violent mobs.  The site allows readers to use an interactive chronological map of victim reports and see their state-by state distribution, linking to Chronicling America articles.

Second Prize (Tie)
Historical Agricultural News
Entry By:  Amy Giroux, Computer Research Specialist, Center for Humanities and Digital Research, University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)

This site allows users to explore information on the farming organizations, technologies and practices of America’s past.  The site describes farming as the window into communities, social and technological change and concepts like progress, development and modernity.  Agricultural connections are of significance to those interested in various topics, including immigration and assimilation, language use and communication, education and affiliations and demographic transitions.

Third Prize (Tie)
Chronicling Hoosiers
Entry By:  Kristi Palmer, Associate Dean of Digital Scholarship, Indiana University-Purdue University (Indianapolis, IN)

This project tracks the origins of the word “Hoosier.”  The site’s maps visually demonstrate the geographic distribution of the term “Hoosier” in the Chronicling America data set.  This distribution is measured by the number of times the term appears on a newspaper page.  Each point on the map shows a place of publication where a newspaper or newspapers contain the term.  Another feature on the web site is the Word Clouds by Decade visualizations, which are created by looking at the word “Hoosier” in context.  The text immediately surrounding each appearance of the word is extracted and from this the most frequently occurring terms are plotted.

Third Prize (Tie)
Entry By:  Claudio Saunt, Professor, Department of History, Co-Director, Center for Virtual History and Associate Director, Institute of Native American Studies, University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

This site discovers patterns, explores regions, investigates how stories and terms spread around the country and watches information go viral before the era of the internet.  The site argues that newspapers capture the public discourse better than books do because of their quick publication schedule.  For example, users can track “miscegenation,” a term coined in 1863 by a Democratic Party operative to exploit fears about Lincoln, and “scalawag,” a recently arrived term that quickly gained currency after 1869.  Other examples for use are tracking regional differences in language, tracing the path of epidemics and studying changing political discourse over time and space.

K-12 Student Prize
Digital APUSH: Revealing History with Chronicling America
Entry By:  Teacher Ray Palin and A.P. U.S. History Students at Sunapee High School (Sunapee, NH)

These students used Chronicling America newspaper data to create a variety of visualizations —- maps, charts and timelines -— to explore questions about U.S. history.  The projects use word frequency analysis -— a kind of distant reading -— to discover patterns in news coverage.  Some examples of investigations include geographic coverage of Plessy v. Ferguson, temporal trends in the use of the words “secede” and “secession,” articles about Uncle Tom’s Cabin by year, state-by-state coverage of the KKK and geographic trends in coverage of labor unions.

[Project abstracts taken from Leah Weinryb Grohsgal’s article]

Happy 4th of Ju_y!

Celebration at Cookeville ad
Putnam County Herald. June 27, 1912.

Sounds like one “L” of a celebration in Cookeville, 1912!

Bicycle races, foot races (attached to legs, we hope), exciting contests! Technology is at the forefront of the celebrations with airships, automobiles, and moving pictures. And don’t miss the “Greatest Pyrotechnical Display ever seen in this country”!!

Happy 4th of July!

Tennessee’s Most Curious Titles

Over the course of the Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project, I’ve come across thousands of newspapers. Many of them have names commonly associated with newspapers in most English-speaking countries, for example, the Times, the Sentinel, the Gazette, and so on. Others have been a little more inventive. Here is a list I compiled over the years of Tennessee newspaper titles that I found interesting:

Academist, The Lawrenceburg
Black Cat Herald, The
Black Kitten Herald, The
Breeder and Turfman Nashville
Busy South Summertown/Lawrenceburg
Button Buster Rhea Springs
Carthage Casket Carthage
Chanticleer Pulaski
Consolidated Fanciers Journal Nashville
Current Breeze Bells, Crockett Co.
Dental Headlight Nashville
Drugman Nashville
Established Fact Murfreesboro
Expositor, The Shelbyville
Fairy, The Chattanooga
Family Visitor Waynesboro
Forked Deer Blade Jackson
Gabfest, The Jackson
Gas Bag, The Paris
Golden Rule Pilot various Mississippi river towns
Gossiper, The Dresden
Holiday budget Knoxville
Home Altar McMinnville
Industrious Hen Knoxville
Javelin, The Cleveland
Jellico Carry‐on Jellico, Campbell Co.
Johnson’s Store Trumpet Mount Juliet
Jolly Tennessean Charlotte
Kind Words Memphis
Knickerbocker News Jackson
Light for Thinkers Chattanooga
Mt Juliet Farrago Mt Juliet
Magic City Star Harriman
Mayfield’s Happy Home Memphis
Mrs Grundy of Grundy Tracy City
Morristown Siftings Morristown
Morristown Spy Morristown
Mountain Ears Spencer
New Idea Burns
Open Door, The Winchester
Orthopolitan Nashville
Rescue, The Shelbyville
Rough and Ready Nashville
Sandy Sampson’s own Memphis
Silkworm Chattanooga
Silver Dollar Jacksboro
Solid South Bartlett, Shelby Co.
Southern Atlas, The Brownsville
Southern Cycler Memphis
Spirit of the Farm Nashville
State Wheel
State Wheel and Blade
Sunny Clime Sherwood
Tennessee River Wave Parsons
Tennessee Tomahawk Mountain City
Tiger Rag Memphis
Trumpet of Liberty Pulaski
Unconditional, The Harrison
Weekly Regulator, The Jasper
Western Cabinet Fayetteville
Western Mercury Columbia
White County Favorite Sparta
Woman’s Appeal, The Jonesborough


Love and Commerce (featured NEH project)

Prudent Man valentine bank ad
Camden Chronicle [Tennessee]. February 8, 1918.
If you’re in the mood for love, take a look at the article below by Leah Weinryb Grohsgal (NEH Program Coordinator for the National Digital Newspaper Program). In honor of Valentine’s Day, Leah explores historical newspapers to see how “enterprising businesses saw the opportunity to integrate romantic sentiments and material culture in the emerging consumer economy.

It reminded me of this charming ad [left], found in our own Camden Chronicle.

Click on the image to see whole story.

Chronicling America Update

Exciting new additions from Tennessee now available on Chronicling America!

Most of the newspapers in TNDP Phase III date from the WWI era. However, there are a couple of exceptions, both of which are now available online.

Tennessee Staatszeitung
Tennessee Staatszeitung. April 6, 1866.

The Tennessee Staatszeitung is a German-language newspaper published in Nashville after the Civil War. Written almost exclusively in German, and printed using the fraktur typeface, the paper provided news about Tennessee, the U.S., and worldwide events for the state’s German-speaking immigrants. As well as news, there are many advertisements, a large proportion of which are for local (many German-immigrant-owned) businesses. Many of the ads are for breweries and saloons, which provided a major source of income for German-language newspapers throughout the country. Unfortunately, when prohibition was introduced years later, many German-language newspapers found it hard to stay afloat without the revenue from these businesses. Read more about U.S. historical German-language newspapers, here, in Leah Weinryb Grohsgal’s essay (National Endowment for the Humanities).

Chilhowee EchoThe Chilhowee Echo was published at the turn of the 19th/20th century by and for Knoxville women. The paper’s inaugural issue clearly states that is purpose is not political, “This is not a ‘woman’s rights’ paper […]; it is not an advocate of woman suffrage, and it has no special mission as a reformer.” However, the paper’s publishers did reserve the right “to make such comment on matters political as it may deem fit and proper.”

Chilhowee Echo. May 12, 1900.
Chilhowee Echo. May 12, 1900.

The few extant issues of the Echo (about a dozen, all of which can be found on Chronicling America), offer a variety of poetry and prose, articles about literature and the arts, social news and events, club news, and advertisements.

Other Tennessee newspapers recently added to Chronicling America
McNairy County Independent (1913-1922), Newport Plain Talk (1911-1915, some scattered issues from 1917-22), Mrs Grundy (1903-1921), the Parisian (1914-1919), Knoxville Independent (1917-1919).