A whopping 1 million pages of Montana’s newspapers, and the stories they carried about lives, deaths and everything in between, are now available with the click of a few computer keys through a Montana Historical Society project.
The Digitized Montana Newspapers project involves two free online resources that allows the public to search newspapers dating back to 1864. These titles come from 76 communities representing 46 of the 56 Montana counties. Natasha Hollenbach, Digital Projects Librarian, said newspapers are one of the most used collections at the Montana Historical Society, which is why the organization started digitizing them in 2009 through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Through that program known as Chronicling America, more than 314,700 pages from at least 92 Montana newspapers from 1864 to 1963 can be found online. The second resource is Montana Newspapers, which is a searchable database containing more than 685,000 pages from 114 Montana towns, counties, schools and tribal newspapers dated 1873 to 2018. The newspapers on the two sites don’t overlap and Hollenbach noted that the Montana Historical Society continues to add content to both.
“Digitized newspapers have greater value as more titles are included, which is what makes Chronicling America and Montana Newspapers such important resources for a wide range of people,” Hollenbach said. “The MHS newspaper collection is primarily microfilm, which often is challenging to work with. Having material online provides access for people who might not otherwise have been able to access the collection due to travel costs.