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Maryland joins national effort to digitize historic newspapers

More than 36,000 pages of historic newspapers from the state of Maryland are now freely accessible via the Internet, thanks to a project led by the University of Maryland Libraries and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The pages are the first Maryland newspapers to be included on the Chronicling America website of the Library of Congress, a long-term effort to develop a searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers.

“Maryland will now be represented in a national effort that appeals not only to genealogists and history buffs, but also to digital humanists who use large data sets in their research,” says project leader Elizabeth Caringola. For example, by searching keywords across the millions of newspaper pages included on the website, researchers can map the influence or reach of particular news items.

Included in the project are issues from the mid- to late-1800s of the German-language newspaper Der Deutsche Correspondent. Published in Baltimore, the newspapers provide a glimpse of the city’s history, including its growth as a commercial hub and prominence as a beer brewing capital.

The University of Maryland, College Park, was awarded a $325,000 National Digital Newspapers Program grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2012. Another 50,000 pages will be digitized before the two-year project is complete.

By contributing historic newspaper content to Chronicling America, the project will also better integrate collections of Maryland newspapers with those of neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and Virginia as well as the District of Columbia. 

The University of Maryland Libraries comprise the largest academic library system in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area. The eight-library system supports the teaching, learning and research needs of University of Maryland students and faculty.

For additional information about the project, visit the project’s website (http://digital.lib.umd.edu/newspapers)

Image from Der Deutsche Correspondent, 1876, Baltimore

(Image from Der Deutsche Correspondent, 1878, a German-language newspaper published in Baltimore, featuring the 18th National Brewers Congress.)