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Monday, March 31, 2008

Chronicling America

The Library of Congress (as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program) and the National Endowment for the Humanities recently added More than 79,000 newly digitized newspaper pages to their site, Chronicling America. If you're wondering what's there, follow the See All Available Newspapers link on the left for a chart of the available papers, with earliest and latest dates, sorted by state. (The chart is also available in a quick-loading text file.) From here, you can click on the little chart symbol in the left-hand column, which will take you to calendar pages from which you can browse particular issues. This is a great way to browse an individual paper by date, page by page, if you have the time and a high-speed internet connection; I started with the S.F. Call for Jan. 1, 1900, and came across news of foreign navies, "Battle in a Chinese Junk," and "New Ships Built During the Year."

For maritime information for a particular city, you can also select the View Newspaper Pages link on the home page. This takes you to a page where you can select particular city pages from a state-by-state sorted list, where you can search and easily choose date range limitations. When your search results are displayed, you can sort them by date (which genealogical researchers might find helpful). I searched for the term shipping just to have some fun, and retrieved pages from UC Riverside that were absolutely delightful--the comics! "The Adventures of Handsome Hawtrey and Faithful Fritz"--my search on shipping hit on the word ship in the captions.

The navigation is easy; links at the top of the frame allow you to zoom, move the page, view text only or pdf, download the page, or move from that page to other pages in that paper or through your search results. You can even select a link to display the page in basic HTML, if your browser is having difficulty displaying the default advanced HTML page.

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