The newspaper industry has now evolved full circle.
With the National Digital Newspaper Program and its website, Chronicling America, the broadsheet newspapers of the 1800s and early 20th century are being digitized for preservation and research purposes.
More importantly, the historical records of everyday life and events from across America are becoming available to the general public in an easily accessible and searchable online format.
Although the national effort has transferred a benchmark 5 million pages into the digital database, the Tennessee State Library and Archives will soon take advantage of new funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress—the two founding partners of the program—to preserve newspapers from between the 1880s and the 1920s.
Previously, TSLA has worked with the University of Tennessee system to catalog more than 120,000 pages of broadsheets from the Civil War era, specifically those published between 1850 and 1875.
The new catalogs will pull newspapers from the big four cities in Tennessee—Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga—as well as the out-of-the-way nooks in the Volunteer State, such as Bolivar and Fayetteville.
The submission to the national archives will be chosen by a panel of state historians and educators.