Chronicling America

Wanted Men-Haters to Act as TeachersEver wonder what I do for a living? Check it out: Chronicling America is now live!

That site is the direct public access portion of the National Digital Newspaper Program. The program details are all there on the Library’s NDNP page. Feel free to check it out if it suits you; I won’t go into it much more here.

But I will talk about the technical aspects of the program. It has consumed me for the last few years now, so I have a lot to say! Those posts will come out in the future, under the Digital Libraries category here on my site. If you’re interested only in that, you can subscribe to the Digital Libraries RSS feed.

For now, though, let’s take a tour of some of my favorites among the quarter-million-odd pages now online:

  • The Washington Times: March 31, 1905 - I found this page while doing a test search for cheese, and the headline in the middle of the page immediately struck me: “Wanted Men-Haters to Act as Teachers”. Oh how far we’ve come in a mere 102 years! The differences in culture between then and now astound me, and the Chronicling America repository is replete with examples. Words, articles, and pictures that today would be considered racist, misogynist, and classist abound. The title of The Colored American might be seem out of place today, but in 1905 it was just a descriptive newspaper title.
  • The San Francisco Call: June 10, 1900 - Bathing suits were indistinguishable from cocktail dresses! How did anybody swim in these things?
  • The San Francisco Call: September 7, 1901 - The assassination of President McKinley is big news. What a front page!
  • The Washington Herald: July 11, 1909 - It seems somebody who lived in the same building I do - almost 100 years ago! - lost a hat pin, and would like it returned. I’ll keep an eye out for it. I wonder how much the reward was?