Around 20,000 early pages of The Ellsworth American will be scanned and available online in the coming years as part of a two-year project led by the Maine State Library in Augusta.
The work will be funded by a $402,000 grant the library received from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), which seeks to digitize newspapers across the country.
“It’s very exciting news,” said American General Manager Terry Carlisle.
“Digitizing your entire edition is extraordinarily expensive and something we’ve wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t afford it.”
The public will have access to the content, which will cover a period between 1855 and 1923, through the Library of Congress and the Maine State Library. The American owns bound copies of papers as well as microfilm, which will be used to capture high-resolution images that will be reviewed and indexed by Maine State Library staff. Specialized software will make the entire text of the digitized papers searchable.
The American was chosen for digitization by a panel of Maine historians, librarians and journalists, who noted the paper’s longstanding focus on local news, even during a period when many weekly papers were in the business of reprinting out-of-town news that was covered by other newspapers.