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In September 2013, the National Digital Newspaper Program held its annual meeting in Washington, DC. Over 30 participating states attended. Included in the varied agenda were a series of presentations, beginning with a captivating talk by Ed Ayers, President of the University of Richmond and former professor of history at the University of Virginia. While at UVA, Ayers became one of the creators of a landmark digital history project titled, The Valley of the Shadow, a digital repository concentrating its scanned content on two localities on opposite sides of the Civil War.
Following Ayers on the video is a fascinating talk by Ryan Cordell and David Smith from Northeastern University on the old newspaper tradition of re-publishing items from one newspaper to another. Republished content included news items, poems, short stories, and the like, while often being edited or “improved” upon as it moved from newspaper to newspaper. Talk about digging into data!
The final presentation by Ahmed Johnson from the Library of Congress provides a concise and informative overview to doing genealogy at the Library of Congress.… read more »
The Virginia Newspaper Project wishes you and yours a very happy New Year!
Letters to Santa Claus printed in the Richmond Evening Leader, December 23, 1902. A copy of the full page is now on display on the second floor of the Library of Virginia near the microfilm readers. If you find yourself in the building, take a look. . .Rosa was kind enough to think of her father’s horse:
Richmond Newspapers to Lincoln: Address, What Address? An “Entirely Yankeeish” Affair. 150 Years Ago Today.
What did readers of Richmond’s press in late November of 1863 learn of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the events attending to the dedication of a new National Cemetery? Not much, not even a reproduced text, which, we’ve been reminded in recent days, totaled but 272 words.
For the editors of the Richmond Enquirer, Dispatch, Examiner, Sentinel and Whig a fuller journalistic experience (after four days of perilous navigation through a war environment) was in hand: five pages of detailed reportage in the New York Herald. These editors paid close attention the Herald output. Below is what the Daily Dispatch decided to deliver (click to expand):
And, with special vitriol directed to the comparably verbose Edward Everett, here’s the choice of The Examiner (again, click to expand):
Other members of the Confederate press took their cue from Richmond and distributed similarly censored, sketchy accounts of the day. A speech reminding citizens of the Union’s loyalty “to the proposition that all men are created equal” was not a message deemed germane to the day.
Nor was it in 1913, when the fifty year anniversary coverage of the Times Dispatch republished its old inaccuracies without correction. Another newspaper that same year in its marking of the date did publish the complete Gettysburg Address-the black owned and operated Richmond Planet.
For more detail of the Virginia press response to the Gettysburg Address try this link to a book published just last month: http://www.siupress.com/product/The-Long-Shadow-of-Lincolns-Gettysburg-Address,6023.aspx
From the Times Dispatch, Nov. 14, 1913
An advertisement at the bottom of page one says, “Shop Now — There are only 35 more shopping days before Christmas.” Some things never change.
Great Lakes blizzard killed 167 and destroy 10 ships.
Lack of Tiller of Soil Given as Reason for Present High Cost of Living
“Professor Kennedy stated that since 1800 cities and towns had gained three inhabitants to the rural districts’ one. Ninety per cent of the population in 1800 was farmers, as against 33 per cent to-day.” Compare with today, farmers represent just 2 percent of the U.S. population.
Senator Asks Investigation of Telephone Company
Senator Norris, of Nebraska, suspected a violation of the Sherman antitrust act.
“ ‘The local phone company is doing business under a charter granted in New York,’ said Norris. ‘It’s stock is owned by another corporation, whose stock in turn is owned by still another corporation. Then, too, the Chesapeake owns the stock of several other companies. It is a perfect mass of corporations.’ ”
Several rail accidents were reported. One near Eufaula, Alabama killed 13 and injured over 100 more. Another wreck near Wooster, Ohio killed 3 and injured another 12. Then there was the “Strange Wreck” in Joliet, Illinois. “Running forty miles an hour, a Santa Fe train carrying many passengers, ran through an open switch in Joliet to-day, but outside of slight injuries to the engineer when the engine plunged thirty feet to the street below, no one was hurt. The first coach alighted on top of the engine and retained its balance. Officials pronounced it the strangest wreck in the road’s history.”
New York City Mayor-elect, John Purroy Mitchel, filed a campaign report the day before. “Two hundred and seventy dollars for boxing lessons and a course in physical … read more »
The Virginia Newspaper Project wishes you a very festive and super spooky Halloween. Enjoy some ghoulish tales, get helpful Halloween party tips and learn about some Halloween traditions of yesteryear in these articles from the Times-Dispatch, Free Lance and Our Church Paper. If you dare, read about the “Chain of Horrors” that haunted the site of Washington DC’s Commercial Club, and then savor the tale of Harry Brown and Frank Gray, who went into a haunted house to visit its ghostly inhabitants, and never came out. In “A True Ghost Story” learn how Mildred Edwards’s declaration that there are “no such things as ghosts” is challenged when she visits “the Old Walton Place.” For more tales of terror, visit Chronicling America and Virginia Chronicle and search “haunted house.” And, if you’re not sure how to decorate for a successful Halloween party, you can find creative ideas from the Woman’s Page of the October 27, 1912 issue of the Times Dispatch.
The R. M. S. Titanic sank 101 years ago but the memories of the disaster remain strong as ever as evidenced by the events at a recent auction.
A violin, confirmed to be on the Titanic, was sold at auction for 1.7 million dollars. Band leader Wallace Hartley played the instrument as the mighty ship slowly sank on a late night in April 1912. The final auction price is exhibit A for the enduring interest in one of the most notorious maritime disasters in modern history.
Many survivors said that the last tune played by the band was “Nearer My God to Thee,”
though Harold Bride, the surviving wireless operator, reported that he heard the band playing “Autumn.” But this creates its own sort of confusion as he didn’t say if he was referring to the Episcopal hymn or the popular song. Just one of the many details that provides a never ending source for discussion and investigation.
More evidence of the continued fascination with the sinking of the Titanic can be found in the R. M. S. Titanic: 100 Years Later, the Library’s web exhibit about the disaster created way back in 1996/97 – before the release of the blockbuster movie starring Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet!
For the video news report of the auction, please go to:
Tomorrow, a significant gift of historic African American newspapers is being given to the Library of Virginia thanks to the great generosity of the Augusta County Genealogical Society. Read about it here in the Staunton News Leader.
I will conclude this blog with a thank you to Virginia Chronicle text correctors, but first let’s begin with a quick explanation. . . .
Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, is a process by which software reads a scanned newspaper page and translates its print into searchable text. While OCR technology enables searching of large quantities of data, like that contained in Virginia Chronicle, results are never 100% accurate. Because digitized images are taken from microfilm, OCR accuracy depends on both the print quality of the original newspaper and the image quality of the microfilmed copy. If the original newspaper print is poor or damaged or if microfilm images are faded, unevenly exposed, dark or blurry, it will negatively affect OCR accuracy.
As a registered user of Virginia Chronicle, you can assist in making its searchability better by correcting inaccurate OCR. In order to do so, become a registered user by clicking “Register” in the upper right corner of the home screen. Once you’re registered, you can begin correcting text.
Next, go to the page you would like to correct, right click on the page and choose “Correct page text.”
You will then be asked to “select an area of the issue to correct its text.” After you have selected an area, the correctable text appears on the left of the screen and newspaper page on the right with a corresponding red box over the text to correct. At this point, you are ready to go. Don’t forget to click the “save” button to save any changes you’ve made.
The Virginia Newspaper Project would like to extend big thanks to registered users of Virginia Chronicle who have already corrected over 27,000 lines of text! Thanks to such engaged users, a great research tool is made even better.
Please note that Chronicling America is down until further notice due to the US government shutdown.
But don’t’ let that stop you from delving into historical Virginia newspapers!
You have an outstanding option with the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chronicle.
Based on the work of the Virginia Newspaper Project, the database provides access to over 50 titles and 300,000+ pages of Virginia imprint newspapers.
Happy researching!… read more »