October 7, 2015

Chronicling America Hits 10 Million Pages!

By Natasha Hollenbach, Montana Digital Newspaper Project Assistant

From 2009-2015, the Montana Historical Society has been a participating member of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), which is a joint program between the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and state institutions.  After three grant cycles, MHS has contributed just over 268,000 pages from 56 Montana newspapers to the Chronicling America website.

Today, Chronicling America past the 10 million page milestone. Containing newspapers published between 1836-1922 from 38 states and territories, Chronicling America is a tremendous resource for historians, students, genealogists and anyone else interested in our nation's history. Usually when we talk about Chronicling America, we focus on Montana newspapers. However, in celebrating this joint effort, it seems appropriate to showcase how valuable other states' newspapers can be in researching Montana's history and people.

From the founding of Montana territory to the Speculator Fire, major Montana events have made national news. 
Jeffersonian Democrat
Chardon, Ohio
July 8, 1864

The Indianapolis Journal
Indianapolis, Indiana
October 26, 1894
The Evening Current
Carlsbad, New Mexico
June 9, 1917

They have followed our wages, population and weather.
Maui News
Wailuku, Hawaii
January 10, 1919
Daily Capital Journal
Salem, Oregon
August 6, 1917

The Evening Current
Carlsbad, New Mexico
October 17, 1917

National newspapers also highlighted Montana's natural beauty and helped advertise our national parks.

New York Tribune
New York, New York
January 17, 1909
New York Tribune
New York, New York
October 22, 1919

St. Louis Republic
St. Louis, Missouri
June 12, 1904

Travel has always been a matter of interest to newspapers. The Butte Inter Mountain hosted a popularity contest in 1904 with the winners going to the World's Fair in St. Louis where they apparently made an impression on the local newspaper (right). In 1915, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin commented on a group of girls from Butte traveling in Hawaii (below).

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Honolulu, Hawaii
April 3, 1915

Meade County News
Meade, Kansas
July 19, 1917

Genealogists use newspapers to find family events: births, deaths, marriages, etc. Since researchers usually look in the newspapers where their ancestor lived, it is easy to overlook the possibility of finding them in other states. For example, to the right is a blurb from a Kansas paper, where a man currently living in Butte has arrived to visit his father. If you search the Kansas paper further, you find that this is the town where he was raised. Sometimes searching the newspapers outside of Montana leads to connections with other people and places.

Why don't you go to Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/) and search for your favorite Montana event or person and see what other states' newspapers were saying about them?  You never know what you'll discover in historic newspapers.