Extra! Extra! Read 160-year-old NJ Newspapers Online
A second grant will further archivists' efforts to digitize New Jersey history.
Already responsible for scanning over 100,000 pages of historical newspapers dating as far back as the 1850s, the New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project has received an additional round of funding in the amount of $216,609 from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The project scans and digitizes pages from microfilm — made available by the New Jersey State Archives — and those pages are made available for the public to view on the Library of Congress's Chronicling America website.
"Not every paper from New Jersey has been made available on microfilm," said project director Caryn Radick, a digital archivist for Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University—New Brunswick. "Some of them are probably just lost."
The project has scanned more than 50,000 pages from the Perth Amboy Evening News, along with thousands of others from the Jersey City News and the West-Jersey Pioneer (later known as the Bridgeton Pioneer). Archivists wanted to work with papers representing each region of the state.
The additional grant will allow the project to expand beyond those three publications.
"We'll be looking at other newspapers and trying to decide which ones we'd like to prioritize for digitalization," Radick said.
The project's advisory board is in the process of finalizing a shortlist of titles, which must be reviewed by the Library of Congress before the work can begin. The plan is get the new titles online over the next two years.
The project is part of a national program aimed at developing a searchable online database of newspapers from all 50 states.
“From the first American brewery, which opened in Hoboken in 1642, to Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb in Menlo Park in 1879, New Jersey is truly a state of many firsts,” Deborah Mercer, New Jersey collections librarian for the New Jersey State Library, said in a news release. “Making the historical record of our state available online creates a digital treasure trove for students and scholars, genealogists, or anyone with an interest in the history of New Jersey.”