Project News

Newspaper Etymology

Newspaper names are usually self-explanatory. Most sound very familiar but do you know their origins?

Gazette: < French gazette , < Italian gazzetta, apparently so called from the coin of that name (see gazet(t n.), which may have been the sum paid either for the paper itself or for the privilege of reading it; but a derivation < gazzetta , diminutive of gazza magpie, is not impossible.

Tribune: < Latin tribūnus , lit. ‘head of a tribe’.  1. A title designating one of several officers in the Roman administration; spec. a. tribune of the people (Latin tribūnus plebis), one of two (later five, then ten) officers appointed to protect the interests and rights of the plebeians from the patricians.

Herald: (noun) One who proclaims or announces the message of another; a messenger, envoy. Hence, a frequent title of newspapers, as The Morning Herald, etc.

Sentinel: = Sentry. An armed soldier or marine posted at a specified point to keep guard and to prevent the passing of an unauthorized person.

Bulletin: A short account or report of public news or events, issued by authority; applied esp., c1800, to a report sent from the seat of war by a commander for publication at home.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Updates, highlights & curios

We’ll use this page to post project updates, items of interest, extracts and fragments that we discover in the newspapers as we digitize them; a miscellany of all things newspaper-related. If you have any suggestions of your own, please let us know!

To begin, here’s a quote from the Maury Intelligencer, predicting the historical value of the humble newspaper:

It is much to be regretted that it is not more generally customary to preserve […] for future use the newspaper of the day … In a few years, the newspaper now so lightly esteemed would become the most interesting and accurate daguerreotype of the past, and every year would add to its value …

Columbia, TN. June 21, 1849

Historical TN Newspaper Digitized, Available Online

Tennessee has now made its first contribution to a national electronic database of historical newspapers, thanks to a federal grant.

Ad from the January 7, 1857 edition of the Memphis Daily Appeal.

The Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project (TNDP) is a joint effort between the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA), funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), to digitize more than 100,000 pages of Tennessee’s microfilmed newspapers dating from 1836 to 1922. The NEH has funded similar projects in other states as it builds the national database.

A panel of historians, scholars, librarians, and genealogists has selected a range of newspaper titles from across Tennessee for inclusion in the project. The initial phase of the project focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

Issues of the Memphis Daily Appeal from 1857 to 1872 were scanned and added to the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website. To view the paper, visit Access is free to the public.

Pages from the newspaper include:

  • Frontline dispatches from Civil War correspondents such as “SHADOW” and “DIXIE;”
  • News reports from the cotton industry, railroads, and riverboats; and
  • Advertisements for farm equipment, clothing, guns, real estate, or cure-all medicines such as “Braggs Arctic Liniment” and “Dr. Mott’s Chalybeate Pills.”

Additional historical Tennessee newspapers scheduled to be digitized include Brownlow’s Knoxville Whig, the Nashville Union and American, the Chattanooga Daily Rebel, the Athens Post, and the Clarksville Weekly Chronicle.

TSLA collects and preserves books and records of historical, documentary, and reference value and promotes library and archival development throughout the state. NEH is an independent federal agency which supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities.