The Junction Eagle Masthead

Posted by & filed under General, Grants, Texas Digital Newspaper Program, TexTreasures.

This TDNP post was written by our own Project Coordinator, Sarah Lynn Fisher. Having just celebrated her ninth year working in the UNT Digital Libraries Division, she has served in the Digital Newspaper Unit for seven of her nine years as a coordinator for multiple newspaper grant projects. Currently, Sarah Lynn is working on a grant for the National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored, National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), to digitize 100,000 pages of Texas newspapers in Chronicling America.  She has prepared this guest blog post in preparation for essays she will create for the NDNP grant award.

In September of 2016, the UNT Libraries’ Digital Newspaper Unit received a TexTreasures grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) to digitize historic newspapers from Texas counties located along and near the border with Mexico. The TexTreasures competitive grant program aims to help member libraries increase the accessibility of their collections. The Texas Borderlands Newspapers Digitization Project grant supports The Portal to Texas History’s goal of including the histories of communities from the entire state of Texas. Newspapers from many of the counties and communities in this region were previously not represented in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program (TDNP).

Since the start of this grant award, TDNP staff have been busily locating and digitizing newspapers for the Texas Borderlands Newspaper Collection on the Portal. New newspaper titles now available in the Texas Borderlands Newspaper Collection represent Kimble, Pecos, Kleberg, and Reeves Counties in south-central and southwest Texas from the years 1908 to 1924. News reporting in these issues include discussions of the unique agricultural, geographical, and social challenges encountered by residents in these Texas regions.

When completed, digitization of The Fort Stockton Pioneer, published in the Pecos County seat of Fort Stockton, will include nearly two decades of issues from this former army camp along the Pecos River. From 1858 to 1886, U.S. Army fort_stockton_mastheadInfantries were stationed at Camp Stockton, later Fort Stockton, to protect travelers heading west to Mexico and California who stopped in this area to access natural springs, as Tour Texas explains. As Fort Stockton transitioned from army post to ranching community, the theme of protection continued to be represented in issues of the newspapers. In this article from the May 19, 1916, issue, Dr. Homer Powers describes his capture and escape from “bandits” who raided a store and mines nearby Glenn Springs and Boquillas, taking several captives along the way, Dr. Powers among them. As the bandits headed with their “loot” across the Rio Grande into Mexico, Dr. Powers and his fellow captives were able to disarm their captors and return to Texas where they received “a touchingly hearty welcome from the Sheriff’s posse, river guards and soldiers.” The Fort Stockton Pioneer has been published continuously since 1908. The Portal will include issues published from 1908 to 1922.

Another Borderlands newspaper title currently available on the Portal is The Junction Eagle, published in Junction, the county seat of Kimble County. The Junction Eagle is not the town’s first newspaper (that honor goes to the West Texas), but it has been published continuously since 1882, according to the Junction Eagle website. Issues currently on the Portal begin in 1919. The Junction city history tells us that its city name refers to the town’s geographic location at the intersection of the North and South Llano Rivers. Junction was a small community with only a few hundred residents until the “Four Mile Dam” was constructed on the South Llano River. The dam’s infrastructure enabled the growth of the town, providing water for the town’s residents, irrigation for farming, and as well as generating power for mills and mining . The dam provided entertainment for residents as well. The August 13, 1920 “Telegraph Tellings” column notes,
Mrs. Conde Hardeman entertained the Henderson house party last Tuesday afternoon at the dam with supper and bathing and quite an enjoyable time was spent by all.

These brief glimpses into the lives of rural community residents may sometimes only be found in the town’s newspapers, a fact that underscores the importance of TDNP’s newspaper preservation efforts. TDNP will continue to add newspapers to this collection throughout 2017. Upcoming titles include The Daily Ranchero from Brownsville in Cameron County, the southernmost county in Texas.






imls tslac


Posted by & filed under Featured, General.

On March 28, we updated the Portal with a number of incremental changes and improvements based on the feedback of our users and observations of how the site was both performing and being used. Many of the changes are cosmetic, but we’ve introduced a couple of requested features worth noting. Here’s what we did and why:

Read more »

TDNP Reaches 5 Million Pages

Posted by & filed under Events, Featured, Milestones, Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

On February 15, 2017, the Texas Digital Newspaper Program reached five million pages of Texas newspapers. This collection spans from 1829 up to the present, and this work has involved partnerships between University of North Texas Libraries (UNT) and almost 130 partners, including local public libraries, academic libraries, genealogical and historical societies, granting agencies, and in some cases, personal contributors.

Through this digital preservation effort, the role of TDNP in community preservation of newspaper history has grown to reach all corners of Texas, as well as to branch into newspaper preservation for diverse communities, with such titles as El Regidor, The Jewish Post, The Jewish Herald, The Southwest Chinese Journal, Svoboda, Vestnik, and The San Antonio Express.  

Fun Facts

TDNP began with the Ferris Wheel collection in 2005.  As the digital newspaper collection crosses the 5 million page line, I’m excited to offer a few interesting facts and figures to illustrate the program.  

Oldest Issue September 25, 1829 Texas Gazette
Westernmost Title El Paso Morning Times* We also have the El Paso Herald available in TDNP, but based on the historical addresses in a Google Maps search, the Times is the farthest west publication.
Southernmost Title Matamoros Reveille June 24, 1846
Northernmost Title  Lipscomb Limelight
Easternmost Title  Newton County News
Languages 10 English, Chinese, Czech, French, German,  Hebrew, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
Largest Contributing Partner Abilene Library Consortium 44,599 newspapers
Most Unique Name for a Newspaper (Not the Jimplecute, although we do love that title, too.) The Texas Mesquiter
Number of Partner Institutions 128
Number of Newspaper Titles 1102


TDNP also contains a handful of issues from unique titles that enhance the diversity of the collection. These include:

    • The Old Flag, published in Camp Ford during the Civil War, was created by Union POWs who hand-wrote each issue.  UNT’s Special Collections houses lithograph copies created by the original newspaper publisher, of which there are three total, published on February 17, March 1, and March 15, 1864.
    • The Representative began publication in late 1872, according to the volume and issue numbers available in TDNP, and was the first newspaper owned, edited, and published by an African American man, Richard Nelson. This is contrary to what the TSHA Handbook Online states, which says that Nelson’s second title, The Galveston Spectator, was the first title.  Primary source evidence shows that The Representative actually claims this distinction. Twenty-four issues of The Representative are available on the Portal.
    • The Pine Needlecontributed by Lamar University, was a weekly newspaper published in Hardin County between 1964-1968 by attorney Houston Thompson and his silent partner, William Thomas Bean. This paper served as a vehicle to protest what Thompson believed was widespread political corruption in Hardin County. He also utilized the newspaper to promote the establishment of a national park in the Big Thicket, believing that this would increase tourism in the region and lessen what he believed was the economic monopoly of the large lumber companies in the area. The Pine Needle documented the opposition to a national park and the compromises which eventually led to the creation of a national preserve.
    • The El Paso Morning Times was the only Texas title of its period to internationally report on the progress of the Mexican Revolution in both Spanish and English.  Access to this coverage was made possible through a collaborative project with the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Arizona.

As TDNP matures into five million pages, UNT Libraries will host a celebration to thank all of the contributors who have made this collection so expansive and successful.  Exciting new projects are on the horizon, ones intended to further increase the diversity of the collection to support all Texans and to reveal to the world Texas’ well-rounded identity.

What does five million pages mean?  

As a reference number to understand what this 5 million pages means, let’s look at the National Digital Newspaper Program. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Chronicling America hosts newspapers digitized through the National Digital Newspaper Program, which at this time amounts to 11,647,857 pages.  These pages were digitized by 44 participating U.S. states, including Texas contributions from UNT. We are very proud to have participated in the National Digital Newspaper Program because it gave UNT and TDNP many tools for standards-based preservation.  



three images on textured background with text

Posted by & filed under Research Fellowships.

The University of North Texas Libraries invite applications for the 2017 Research Fellowships in UNT Special Collections and The Portal to Texas History. Research in our collections is relevant to studies in a variety of disciplines including history, journalism, political science, geography, fine art, art history, film making, photography, and American studies. We encourage applicants to think creatively about new uses for special collections and digital collections.

The Special Collections Fellows will be required to conduct research in residence at UNT for a minimum of four days and a maximum of three months to receive the award. A total of $4,000 in funding will be awarded to two or more fellowship applicants.

The Portal Fellows will receive a stipend to do research with the Portal. Up to $1,000 in funding will be awarded to two or more fellowship applicants.

Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate the greatest potential for publication and the best use of our UNT Special Collections or The Portal to Texas History.

Applications are due by February 15, 2017. Recipients will be notified by April 1, 2017. For more information on the fellowships and application process, please visit the University of North Texas Libraries Research Fellowships – Special Collections and University of North Texas Libraries Research Fellowships – The Portal to Texas History.

Image of a man and woman in a newspaper office. Image courtesy of the UNT Special Collections.

Posted by & filed under Featured, Grants, Hancher Library Foundation Grants, Tocker Foundation Grants.

We would like to congratulate libraries in Texas who have received Fall 2016 grant awards to digitize their historic newspapers.

The Tocker Foundation supports newspaper digitization for communities with populations below 12,000. This autumn, the Tocker Foundation has awarded the following public libraries with funding to make their newspapers freely available on The Portal to Texas History.

Bonham Public Library will digitize The Bonham Daily Favorite, The Bonham Herald, and The Bonham News. This will add to The Bonham Area Newspaper Collection previously digitized for the Fannin County Historical Commission through a Rescuing Texas History award.

Comanche Public Library has received a Tocker Foundation award to make available its county-area newspapers, including the Comanche Chief and the DeLeon Free Press.

McGinley Memorial Library in McGregor received a grant to digitize The McGregor Mirror, a title for which digital preservation is especially crucial because some of its earliest issues (1904-1925) were lost in a fire. The McGregor Mirror newspaper office has worked very closely with the McGinely Memorial Library for this very crucial grant.

Stamford Carnegie Library has been awarded a grant to digitize its Stamford American Newspaper. Many community members, including the publisher, local history lovers, and the newspaper editor worked with the library to prepare their grant application.

F.M. Richards Library in Brady will digitize the Brady Standard, from its earliest days onward, through a Tocker Foundation grant award. This award was something both the library and the publishing office were very excited to receive.

Sammy Brown Library in Carthage will digitize The Panola Watchman. This grant represents a collaboration between the Sammy Brown Library and Panola College, who worked jointly to combine their collections for the digitization project.

The Ladd and Katherine Hancher Library Foundation supports newspaper digitization for libraries with populations below 50,000. The Hancher Foundation has awarded multiple grants to local public libraries to add their newspapers to The Portal to Texas History.

The Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne will digitize The Boerne Star, and this grant developed through another significant collaboration between the public library and the local publisher.

The Smithville Public Library has received an award to digitize historic issues of its Smithville Times in Bastrop County.

The Stephenville Public Library has been awarded a Hancher Grant to digitize two titles: The Stephenville Enterprise and The Stephenville Tribune. This grant project also represents a collaboration, between the the Stephenville Public Library and Tarleton State University-Dick Smith Library, and these newspapers will represent early Stephenville history, up to 1923.

The total awards for these libraries amount to nearly $250,000 in support of newspaper digitization and preservation. These grants demonstrate all of the best characteristics of digital preservation: collaboration, community, and support for future generations. We are very proud of all our new partner libraries from across Texas, and we’re very excited to see their newspaper issues accessible for research for future generations. Congratulations to all the new grant recipients!