New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project Receives Additional $219,609 Grant To Digitize Historical NJ Newspapers

Additional titles to join Perth Amboy Evening News, Jersey City News, and West-Jersey/Bridgeton Pioneer on Chronicling America website thanks to second grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project (NJDNP) has received an additional round of funding in the amount of $219,609 to digitize historical New Jersey newspapers and make them available to the public via the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced today. The NJDNP—a collaboration between Rutgers University Libraries, the New Jersey State Archives, and the New Jersey State Library—is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a long-term effort to develop a searchable online database of U.S. newspapers from all 50 states.

Since the New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project began in 2016, over 100,000 pages of historical newspapers have been scanned and digitized from microfilm originally held by the New Jersey State Archives. At present, more than 50,000 pages of the Perth Amboy Evening News (from 1903 to 1918) are available on Chronicling America, where users can browse and search across issues or download high-resolution images of the historical broadsheets. Additional pages from the Perth Amboy Evening News (through 1922), the Jersey City News (from 1889 to 1906) and the West-Jersey Pioneer (later the Bridgeton Pioneer, from 1851 to 1917) have also been submitted to the Library of Congress and are under review before going live online.

“This latest grant will allow us to digitize additional papers beyond those that were included in the initial round of funding,” explains project director Caryn Radick, a digital archivist for Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “We have a few titles currently in mind, but will need to vet them further before we make our final decision. We’ll be looking for papers that are broadly representative in terms of both geography and content.”

The project’s advisory board—which is comprised of archivists, librarians, museum directors, historians, journalists, and educators from across the state—is in the process of finalizing its shortlist of titles, which will be reviewed by the Library of Congress before the intensive work of digitization can begin. “We’re looking forward to getting the new titles online over the next two years,” Radick says.

Originally supported by a $186,204 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in August 2016, the latest grant represents a major boon to the project, which has already greatly expanded access to resources that were previously only accessible through an onsite microfilm reader at the State Archives.

“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,” adds Deborah Mercer, New Jersey collections librarian for the New Jersey State Library. “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.”

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ABOUT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

Rutgers University Libraries support and enrich the instructional, research, and public service missions of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey through the stewardship of scholarly information and the delivery of information services. With more than five million volumes and thousands of digital resources located in 26 libraries, centers, and reading rooms in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, Rutgers University Libraries rank among the nation’s top research libraries.

 

ABOUT THE NEW JERSEY STATE LIBRARY

The New Jersey State Library (NJSL), an affiliate of Thomas Edison State University (TESU), connects people with information and resources through its service to libraries, state government, TESU staff and students, and NJ residents, including those with special needs. NJSL provides support for public, school, academic, and special libraries, and continues to promote services for learners of all ages, including key areas of continuing need such as digital literacy, business outreach, workforce development, summer reading programs, and services for the visually and physically impaired, among others. For more information, visit www.njstatelib.org.

 

ABOUT THE NEW JERSEY STATE ARCHIVES

The State Archives is New Jersey’s official research center for public records of enduring historical value. Considering that many vital records, land documents, probate records and military service papers were filed centrally by the Colony and State of New Jersey, the State Archives is a treasure trove for genealogists and historians. The records date from the founding of New Jersey as a British colony in 1664 up to the present. For more information, visit nj.gov/state/archives/.

About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.