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Library of the Month: Wisconsin Historical Society Newspapers in Chronicling America

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

Each month, the BadgerLink team highlights a library in Wisconsin, detailing that library’s unique contributions to its community. This month, we are excited to highlight the new Wisconsin collection in the National Digital Newspaper Program, managed by the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS). 

Newspaper displaying a list of names for the WWI draft Watertown News, July 18, 1917: WWI draft roll

The National Digital Newspaper Program is a project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, developed to provide open access to digitized historic newspapers online via the Chronicling America website. The collection from Wisconsin can be found by doing a search by state on the Chronicling America website, or by visiting this page.

Newspaper article with photos of 1930s women Watertown Weekly Leader, July 25, 1931:
At what age is a woman most beautiful?
Newspaper clipping with article on women's suffrage Manitowoc Pilot,
August 26, 1920:
19th Amendment ratified

The Wisconsin collection just began to go live on January 26, 2017, but it first began to take form back in 2015, when recruitment started for the Program Coordinator position. Overseen by Program Administrator Katie Mullen, Laura Farley started working on the project at WHS in February 2016, and in September of 2016, Randi Ramsden was hired as a Program Assistant. In March of 2016 Mullen and Farley worked together with the project’s Advisory Board to make decisions on how to move forward with involvement in Chronicling America, including the selection of newspapers to be included in the collection. The advisory board consist of members from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, WiLS - Recollection Wisconsin, Sheboygan County Historical Society, La Crosse Public Library, Wisconsin Historical Society, and Sheboygan Falls Memorial Library.

The collection kicked off by offering access to the Wood County Reporter. The rest of the collection will be added in batches over the course of the year.  The following newspapers are included in the collection and will go live this year:

  • The Superior times, Superior, 1870-1912
  • The Manitowoc pilot, Manitowoc, 1859-1932
  • The Manitowoc tribune, Manitowoc, 1865-1878
  • Wood County Reporter, Wisconsin Rapids, 1857-1923
  • Watertown republican, Watertown, 1860-1906
  • Watertown weekly leader, Watertown, 1906-1908
  • Weekly Watertown leader, Watertown, 1908-1909
  • Watertown leader, Watertown, 1909-1911
  • Watertown weekly leader, Watertown, 1912-1917
  • The Watertown news, Watertown, 1917-1919
  • Wisconsin tribune, Mineral Point, 1847-1854
  • Mineral Point tribune, Mineral Point, 1854-1858
  • Mineral Point weekly tribune, Mineral Point, 1859-1868
  • Mineral Point tribune, Mineral Point, 1869-1938
  • Iowa County democrat, Mineral Point, 1877-1938 Historic newspaper with headline "Horrible Affair in Washington. President Lincoln Killed by Assassin" Manitowoc Pilot, April 21, 1865: News of Lincoln's Assassination ​​The board selected these titles due to their long runs, high-quality microfilm, and representation of four diverse geographical regions across the state, in order to maximize coverage from regional settlement through 1922. The collection currently includes over 11,000 pages, with more content being made available in the future.

    ​Look for Laura Farley and Randi Ramsden as they begin statewide outreach, with planned events and workshops at conferences, for National History Day, and more. For more information on the Wisconsin Historical Society’s involvement in this project, as well as their other newspaper collections, visit the Wisconsin Newspapers page on the WHS website. Thanks to everyone involved in this project for making these newspapers available to those in Wisconsin and beyond!