National Digital Newspaper Program Now to Include Newspapers from the Earliest Days of America’s Founding

Historical Newspapers

Want to read how an 18th-century newspaper covered the inauguration of George Washington? How about learning what issues divided Congress in the early 1800s?

*Image from The Washington times., May 06, 1894

Going back into early American history is now possible due to new digital content that has been added to Chronicling America, the open access database of historic U.S. newspapers that is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

The newly available digital content is from 18th-century newspapers from the three early capitals of the United States: New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. At nearly 15,000 pages total, these early newspapers from the earliest days of the country are part of the database because of an expansion of the chronological scope of NDNP. The program is expanding its current time window of the years 1836-1922, to include digitized newspapers from the years 1690-1963. The expansion will further the program goal of capturing the richness and diversity of our nation’s history in an open access database, which anyone can use.

NEH recently awarded grants to cultural institutions in four states that will participate in NDNP for the first time: Alaska, Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey. There are now 43 states and one territory participating in NDNP, approaching the goal of having all states and territories represented.

“The more we expand the reach of Chronicling America, the more possible it will be for members of communities across the nation to see themselves and their history represented, regardless of where they live,” said NEH Chairman William Adams. Continue Reading →

Brides in Magazines – 1883

Brides in magazines even in 1883

On February 16, 1883, Ladies Home Journal began publication. The goal of the magazine was to cover every aspect of a woman’s life.

The March 1894 issue ran an article by Isabel A. Mallon, called “The Art of Dressing a Bride”. In part, the article read “There are some things that a bride must remember: her bodice must be high in the neck; her sleeves reach quite to her wrists, and her gown must fall in full, unbroken folds that show the richness of the material, and there must not be even a suggestion of such frivolities as frills or ribbons of any kind.”

Over the years, the magazine covered political issues. In May of 1921, William Willis wrote about women’s place in politics since suffrage. “There are certain problems inseparable from the sudden enfranchisement of any large class of new voters; it was inevitable that some of these would follow early in the wake of the eighteenth amendment. You cannot give a powerful weapon to any group, be they men or women, without creating in some of that group a desire to use it with a certain amount of recklessness. This is as true of the weapons of peace as it is of the weapons of war. We are all likely to grow tired of playing with edged tools and develop a desire to try out their strength seriously.”

He went on to note that “The gravest thing that has developed out of the enfranchisement of women is the disposition of certain groups in different parts of the country to place their united strength behind special legislative measures created by themselves, and then allow the impression to prevail that unless these measures are enacted into law the voting strength of women will be used to punish those who have stood in the way.”

Wow. What a transformation.