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KENTUCKY EDITION NEWSPAPERS
When KY-NDNP began in 2005, we first chose to digitize 37 newspapers that best represented the state's six unique geographic regions. The prescribed date range was a single decade (1900-1910). That interval widened with each successive two-year grant cycle until the program's final expanse was reached in 2011 (1836-1922). Those 37 titles were fully digitized for completeness as new titles were gradually introduced. In 2011, at the end of our third two-year grant cycle, over 300,000 pages from 59 Kentucky newspapers were available in Chronicling America and the Kentucky Digital Library. Each title is enhanced with a brief essay about its historical significance to the state, region, or nation, and each is fully keyword searchable.
Today, over 4 million digital newspaper pages from half the nation's states are available in Chronicling America. The site also offers a newspaper directory that provides a record of every United States newspaper from 1690 to the present that has been catalogued in OCLC's WorldCat database. Information on more than 2,000 Kentucky newspaper titles can be discovered in the directory.
In addition to our NDNP content, over 100,000 pages from 100+ Kentucky newspapers are available in the Kentucky Digital Library (KDL). The NDNP specification does not allow newspaper content produced from positive microfilm, foreign languages (save for French, Spanish, and Italian per 2010 specifications), color images, or newspapers that were not cataloged as such according to the Library of Congress cataloguing standards (CONSER). Nearly all of the additonal content in the KDL falls into one of these categories.
The crown jewel of the KDL's historic newspaper collection is without doubt the state's oldest newspaper and the first west of the Allegheny mountains; the Kentucke Gazette (1787-1910). Beginning five years before statehood, the Bradford Brothers of Lexington provided frontiersmen political updates and news on the issues most pertinent to pioneer life in the western territories. Presented in full color, the fully keyword searchable collection is a goldmine for researchers and history buffs alike.
The largest assembly in the KDL collection so far comes from our Civil War era newspapers. Upon completion in 2012, the 80+ titles in the collection will produce an estimated 50,000+ pages from 1850 through 1875 reconstruction. All have been digitized from our hard copy holdings and most are presented in full color. The collection is part of ASERL's cooperative digitization project, Civil War and the American South.
Not to be outdone, however, is the state's newspaper of record; Louisville's Courier-Journal (CJ). This full color digitization project began in 2009. The ongoing, multi-year project is expected to produce nearly one million pages that includes preceeding titles Louisvile Daily Journal and Louisville Daily Courier.
Kentucky's African-American and emancipationist newspapers are perhaps the rarest of the rare of the state's historic newspapers. Amoung our titles are the only known issues (4) of the Afro-American Mission Herald; famed editor R.C.O. Benjamin's Lexington Standard; and Cassius Clay's short-lived but highly acclaimed True American.
Kentucky has had her share of controversial newspapers of a different sort, too. The most notable was the Blue-Grass Blade. Edited "by a heathen in the interest of good morals", Charles Chilton Moore is known today as the father of Athiesm. He and The Blade not only supported the anti-religious movement but other unpopular issues of the time as well, such as temperence, vegetarianism, and women's sufferage. John Sparks' Kentucky's Most Hated Man: Charles Chilton Moore and The Bluegrass Blade (Wind Publications, 2009) highlights the unusual journey of the newspaper and the man.
In both Chronicling America and the Kentucky Digital Library can be found a host of other journalistic masterpieces, like orphaned titles Liberty and It; labor union newspaper Ohio Valley Worker; one of the longest running community interest newspapers, Louisville's Kentucky Irish American; temperence newspapers Citizen and Kentucky Vindicator. These are just a few we've digitized so far; each uniquely styled by editiors and publishers as interesting and varied as the communities they infomred. We're working every day to bring more like these to your fingertips.
NEWSPAPERS ON MICROFILM
The University of Kentucky Libraries maintains the largest and most comprehensive collection of Kentucky newspapers in the Commonwealth. Together, the University Libraries and the University's School of Journalism collected Kentucky's newspapers throughout the 20th century. By 1955, with state funding and a donation by the Kentucky Press Association, the School and the Library established a newspaper microfilming operation to comprehensively collect Kentucky newspapers and to microfilm them on an annual basis. The microfilming operation systematically microfilmed large historic backfiles held by the School of Journalism and the Library.
In 1981, the UK Libraries became one of the first five institutions to receive National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funding to participate in the United States Newspaper Program. UK Libraries conducted the Kentucky Newspaper Project (KNP) from that time to 1991. Over the course of KNP, over 4,000 institutions were surveyed, 500 repositories were visited, and 5,000 titles were cataloged. Many institutions either donated or lent hard copy holdings to compile complete backfiles of historic newspapers. Over 1.5 million pages of newspapers were microfilmed during KNP alone.
Today, our master negative repository maintains over 30,000 reels of historic newspapers on microfilm, more than half of which were created according to the ANSI/AIIM standards and USNP guidelines.
DONATING YOUR NEWSPAPERS FOR PRESERVATION AND/OR DIGITIZATION
Despite the vast efforts of USNP and local/state support, uncatalogued newspapers are still being discovered, thanks in part to NDNP. During Phase I alone, KY-NDNP found, and digitized, five previously uncatalogued "orphan" newspapers: Ohio Valley Worker, Kentucky Vindicator, Liberty (La Center), It and Afro-American Mission Herald. The University of Kentucky Libraries' Digital Library Services continues to receive historic newspapers from private donors, too, such as the Carrollton Democrat, The Dime, Louisville Times; Bath County Outlook, Kentucky Sentinel and many others. We encourage individuals, historical societies, libraries, or archives to reach out to us with their historic newspapers not yet filmed or cataloged, including missing content (pages or issues) for those titles already digitized. If you have historic newspapers that you'd like to preserve and share with the world, please contact NDNP Program Manager, Kopana Terry for more information.
PARTNERING WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY LIBRARIES FOR DIGITIZATION
One of our favorite practices at the University of Kentucky Libraries is partner collaboration for the preservation and digitization of historic Kentucky newspapers. Since 2005 KY-NDNP has lead the charge, first with the Congregational Library in Boston, Massachusettes for the conservation, preservation, and digitization of the only known issues of the Afro-American Mission Herald. That was followed by our partnership with the Lexington Public Library (LPL) and the Wisconsin Historical Society to digitize the complete run of the True American (1845-1846). We teamed once more with the LPL to conserve and digitize the Kentucke Gazette (1787-1910). And, finally, the University of Kentucky Libraries and the University of Louisville have been working together to digitize Kentucky's newspaper of record, Courier Journal. If you're interested in partnering with us to provide digitial access to your historic newspapers, please contact KY-NDNP Program Manager, Kopana Terry, or Associate Dean, Mary Molinaro.
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