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Americans Can Read the News Before It Was History on New Web site

"Chronicling America" offers historic newspapers from six states and D.C. in first release

WASHINGTON (March 21, 2007)–The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress today announced that "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers" is debuting online with more than 226,000 pages of public domain newspapers from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia, and the District of Columbia published between 1900 and 1910. The text of the newspapers is fully searchable, and search terms can be limited to a particular state, a specific newspaper, by year or years of publication and even by months. The new site is available at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.

"Chronicling America" is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress, is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with select digitization of historic pages, as well as information about newspapers from 1690 to the present. Supported by NEH's We the People program and Digital Humanities Initiative, this rich digital resource will continue to be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress.

Ultimately, over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. Also on the Web site, an accompanying national newspaper directory of bibliographic and holdings information directs users to newspaper titles in all types of formats. The information in the directory was created through an earlier NEH initiative, the United States Newspaper Program.

The Library of Congress will also digitize and contribute to the NDNP database a significant number of newspaper pages drawn from its own collections during the course of this partnership. For the initial launch the Library of Congress contributed more than 90,000 pages from 14 different newspaper titles published in the District of Columbia between 1900 and 1910.

"Chronicling America will allow students, teachers, historians—in fact, all Americans—access to some of our most important historical documents. It is one thing to read about historical events from the perspective of historians, narrated with the value of hindsight. It is entirely different to read the story as it was happening," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "Chronicling America will be available to the American public for free, forever; and I hope Americans will visit the site and try to imagine the emotions and actions of their forebears as those stories went to print."

"The Library congratulates all the partners in this extraordinary program to make historic newspapers available through our Web site," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The National Digital Newspaper Program is providing access to one of our best sources of information about what was considered important to Americans at a given point in time."

In March 2005 the following six institutions received the first NDNP grants to digitize papers in their respective states from the first decade of the 20th century:

  • University of California, Riverside, $400,000;
  • University of Florida Libraries, Gainesville, $320, 959;
  • University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington $310,000;
  • New York Public Library, New York City, $351,500;
  • University of Utah, Salt Lake City, $352,693; and
  • Library of Virginia, Richmond, $201,226.

New NDNP awardees will be announced later this summer.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Its more than 132 million items—books, newspapers, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, photographs, films, sound recordings and digital materials—are accessible through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill. The Library's newspaper collections have grown to comprise more than 1 million current issues, more than 30,000 bound historical volumes and more than 600,000 microfilm reels.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov