Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wisconsin Historical Newspapers Online

Guest Post written by: Emily Pfotenhauer, WiLS
Article originally published on April 25, 2017

Clipping from the Sugar River Recorder newspaper October 11, 1895
Historic Sugar River Recorder, available on Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers

Digital access to historical newspapers is always in high demand from genealogists and other researchers. Recollection Wisconsin harvests a handful of historical newspaper collections (see list below). However, due to lack of centralized full-text searching and other technical limitations, we don’t actively work to digitize or support access to newspaper content. Fortunately, several of our partners have taken on projects to meet this need!

Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers

The Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC), Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA), Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and WiLS are working together to provide digital access to Wisconsin’s historical newspapers through the Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers, freely available to Wisconsin residents through BadgerLink.

This project builds on a longstanding partnership between WHS and WNA to digitally archive the state’s currently-published community newspapers. More than 85,000 newspaper pages representing thirteen titles from the 19th and early 20th centuries are now fully searchable in the Archive, alongside hundreds of titles from 2005 to 90 days ago. This project was launched with support from Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds awarded to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), as well as funding from WPLC. Another 100,000 pages will be added to the Archive this spring, thanks to contributions from participating libraries.

National Digital Newspaper Program in Wisconsin

In 2015 the Wisconsin Historical Society joined the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC) to provide access to historically significant American newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. WHS is in the process of digitizing 100,000 pages of newspapers to be added to LC’s Chronicling America website. Titles contributed to Chronicling America so far include the Wood County Reporter (Wisconsin Rapids) and the Watertown Republican. More titles will be added in the coming months, representing a diverse geographic, social and political picture of the state.

Independent projects and other access points

Several libraries and local historical societies in Wisconsin have taken on projects to share their community’s newspapers online, independently or in partnership with a vendor. The Wisconsin Historical Society has put together a map of newspapers available online across the state (scroll to bottom of the page). The genealogy blog Ancestor Hunt also offers an extensive list of digitized newspapers in Wisconsin.

Newspaper collections harvested by Recollection Wisconsin

A few newspaper titles can be found through the Recollection Wisconsin portal, primarily student publications from colleges and universities:

Written by: Emily Pfotenhauer, WiLS