Chronicling America Dispatches: Alert the Social Media! Chronicling America brings history to virtual life

October 5, 2012
Angier's Petroleum Emulsion
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“Angier's Petroleum Emulsion.” Hawaiian Gazette, November 5, 1895.

Courtesy of the The University of Hawai’i, Manoa

The headlines in Chronicling America may be old news, but thanks to online access and social media, they are virtually hot off the presses again.  

The University of Hawai'i, Manoa, is spreading the news and bringing the past to the people through “Quips and Quotes”, which feature snippets of local news, opinions, and social goings-on from historic Hawaiian newspapers. Visitors to their blog can also browse the latest styles in spats or tonics that will cure you of all your ills in a collection of  19th- and early 20th-century advertisements.  Both Hawaiian collections, as well as a Library of Congress collection of images from several other U.S. newspapers, are hosted on the image-sharing site, Flickr.

Chronicling America delivers 801 titles from 26 states and the District of Columbia.   Finding yesterday’s news today is made easier by the outreach efforts of the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio’s podcast series  which are hosted on YouTube. The 11 video tutorials created by the Ohio Historical Society help readers find their way through over 5 million pages of digital print in Chronicling America, whether they are searching for headlines from the front of the Civil War in the  Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), regional news about African Americans’ call for improved education and voting rights in the People’s Recorder (Columbia, South Carolina) , or local events and gossip chronicled in the Leavenworth Echo (Leavenworth, Washington). 

A black and white advertisement for "Primo beer," with two glasses filled to the brim
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“Primo Beer - The Board of Health.” Hilo Tribune, December 27, 1904.

Courtesy of the The University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

McInerny Shoe Store
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“McInerny Shoe Store.” The Independent, December 12, 1895.

Courtesy of the The University of Hawai’i, Manoa

Informative and entertaining blogs, wiki pages, Twitter feeds (#ndnp),  and Facebook pages are other social media applications being used by state newspaper project staff  to  engage the public and bring their digital newspaper collections to the front pages.   NDNP images are also receiving good coverage by those who post photos and headlines onto image sharing sites such as Tumblr.

No longer tied in twine and stacked away in our nation’s attics, the newspapers in Chronicling America have hit the stands again with all the news that is fit to print--with the help of digital technology and the outreach efforts of state NDNP partners.

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“Op-Ed.” The Independent, September 28, 1895.

Courtesy of the The University of Hawai’i, Manoa

Y.M.C.A. Hall
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“Y.M.C.A. Hall.” The Independent, August 5, 1895.

Courtesy of the The University of Hawai’i, Manoa

Further references:

Chronicling America is the product of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a countrywide effort to digitize historic newspapers from all the U.S. states and territories.  The program is supported jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress.  To learn more about the NDNP, please visit:

Extra! Extra! NDNP Extras! showcases the many ways that state partners are reaching out to their readers through user education, teaching resources, and projects in which Chronicling America’s content is being used to provide data for innovative digital scholarship tools.  Links to additional state newspaper project blogs, podcasts, and videos can be found here as well.

Information about the NDNP grant program at NEH can be found here.