Masthead image of the Daily Ranchero from Brownsville

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

Masthead for an issue of Revista del Valle


We are pleased to announce the completion of a grant whose goal was to build newspaper content for counties that previously had little or no newspaper content in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program. As a result of this award, we have digitized 25,300 newspaper pages from 13 border and near-border counties, including titles published in Spanish and French as well as English.  The bulk of the newspaper collection spans from 1860-1869, with the decades from 1900-1920 prominently featured, as well.

The largest number of issues are represented by The Daily Ranchero from Brownsville, started by Henry Maltby in 1859 as the Corpus Christi Daily Ranchero. The Ranchero publishing office moved through a variety of South Texas and border cities during the Civil War, after which it settled in Brownsville.

Arguably one of the most unique titles, “The Oklasodak was the official newspaper of Bullard’s Brigade on the Mexican Border” (Ramsay, p. 314, 1920) and the issues from this title are from 1916-1917.  Bullard’s Brigade was the South Dakota Infantry Regiment, which served along the Rio Grande from June of 1916 to March of 1917 (South Dakota National Guard Museum).

South Texas can boast nationally-famous products that had their beginnings in the early 20th-century.  From Falfurrias, Texas, we have added early issues of the Falfurrias Facts, a newspaper title representing the city that has also given the world Falfurrias Butter.  If you have ever eaten Falfurrias Butter, you should know that butter production in May 1913 for Falfurrias was 800lbs per day.

From Uvalde, the Uvalde News of November 17, 1898, provides an account of the recent history of area elections from Uvalde County to its neighboring border county of Maverick, with the argument that never before have elections been as hotly contested as they were in 1898 between the Democratic Party and the Independent Party.  This history touches on past elections of similar acrimony, and the people discussed as running for office are citizens who helped build and settle the area, after whom various area cities, landmarks, and neighboring counties have been named.

A few hours researching this collection will lead you to many more treasures, and the Texas Digital Newspaper Program is proud to be able to host these issues and more in the Texas Borderlands Newspaper Collection.  Teachers, students, and researchers of all ages can use these newspapers to better understand how Texas became the state it is now by researching the voices and viewpoints of people who built the counties represented by this collection.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to the State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.



Posted by & filed under Featured, General.

The Portal to Texas History has recently announced the call for submissions for its most recent round of the Rescuing Texas History program. Rescuing Texas History 2017 is the tenth year of the program, which has brought to light over 45,000 items from 225 partnerships. Since the beginning of the program there have been over 6 million uses of materials hosted on the Portal to Texas History that were received in response to past call for submissions.

Now it is your turn.

Each project selected will be provided with up to $1,000 of digitization services to libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other groups (including individuals) that house historical materials. All materials accepted will be scanned at UNT Libraries and hosted on The Portal to Texas History. Deadline for receipt of applications is August 1, 2017.

For more information and to download the application: Rescuing Texas History Mini-Grant

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 »

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.