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!

TexTreasures Grant Award

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

The UNT Libraries’ Digital Newspaper Unit has another very exciting announcement about a new grant award to add more titles to the Texas Digital Newspaper Program. The “Texas Borderland Newspaper Digitization Project” is funded through a September 2016-August 2017 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), as part of TSLAC’s TexTreasures competitive grants program. Through this $25,000 award, the Newspaper Unit will digitize newspapers from eighteen counties near the Texas border, comprising at least 23,000 pages and beginning in 1887.  At present, these counties either have few or no newspapers freely available on The Portal to Texas History or elsewhere. These counties stretch along southeastern Texas, near the Mexican border, and include the counties of Jim Hogg, Zapata, and Brooks, and span through border counties, including Maverick and Terrell, up to Reeves County in western Texas.  At present, the materials representing these counties on the Portal are primarily maps, with a small scattering of other, non-newspaper items. This project will allow voices to be heard from these areas that have otherwise not been represented in the context of the Portal or other freely available online newspaper resources.

It is difficult to overestimate the role a newspaper plays in representing a community’s identity. The newspapers digitized through this project span urban and rural populations who originated from many different cultural backgrounds in Mexico and Europe. Many of these newspapers will highlight the Mexican Revolution, which so many of the border communities saw first-hand and discussed within their newspapers. New inventions for settling the frontier are highlighted in the German newspapers, foreshadowing for their descendants a long-term agrarian existence in the Texas Hill Country. All of these newspapers educated early Texas settlers about how to survive in the new frontier, how the political system worked, and how the society functioned and survived. The theme within this project is to open digital access to new voices from early Texas history, and we look forward to what we may learn from them.

TexTreasures is an annual competitive grant program designed to help member libraries make their special collections more accessible to researchers across Texas and beyond.


Texas State Library and Archives Commission Logo Institute of Museum and Library Services Logo Texas Digital Newspaper Program Collection Logo


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

UNT Libraries are pleased to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress have selected us for a fourth, two-year cycle of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), to digitize Texas newspapers on the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America.

This award is for $200,000 and will build access to an additional 100,000 pages of Texas newspapers on Chronicling America, to spotlight community identity in Texas. This time, the news is even more exciting because these additional newspapers will be in Spanish and German.  Access to these additional issues and languages in a national context will represent and support the large populations in Texas whose ancestors settled here in the 19th-century and documented their experiences in these very newspapers.  In addition to adding the newspapers to Chronicling America, where Texas identity can be preserved alongside other state awardees’ newspapers, we will include these newspapers in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program (TDNP).  These will serve as a jewel in the TDNP collection because they serve the descendants of Spanish- and German-speaking Texas pioneers as they explored what was then a mysterious frontier.  These descendants comprise a large percentage of the Texas population, and we are proud to be able to represent them in NDNP.  All of the newspapers available in Chronicling America and visible in the TDNP collection are freely accessible for research and education.  As a result, we try continually to inform teachers and students about the importance of newspapers in understanding history.


Newspapers illustrate cultural mergings in many ways, from the very languages in which they were written, to the different groups of people who lived in and settled the areas where the issues were disseminated, to the governments that oversaw settlement of those areas.  At present, a search for Texas newspapers, and even into early Texas History, brings up a wealth of primary source information about Texas after it entered the United States and about Texas in the Civil War, most of which is available in English-language newspapers.  We are very excited about the opportunity to expand the representation of Texas cultures in Chronicling America with the addition of Spanish- and German-language titles.

For more information about the National Digital Newspaper Program, you can visit the NEH NDNP page.

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