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Minutes from Oklahoma, in the corner of the Texas Panhandle, lies the unassuming Lipscomb County, Texas, housing around 3300 people spread across 932 square miles.  The Higgins Public Library in Lipscomb County collaborated with the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum in Lipscomb and UNT Libraries in Denton to apply for a Tocker grant in January of 2013.  They were awarded the Tocker Foundation grant in March 2013 to digitize and preserve over 21,000 pages of their county newspapers, including The Kiowa Valley Independent, The Circle Register, The Follet Times, and The Lipscomb Times, all of which are also represented in the museum’s physical collections.

The town of Lipscomb, unincorporated and with a population of 42 people, hosts the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum, whose mission it is to preserve the heritage of Lipscomb County.  This museum contains extensive exhibits about cattle ranching, fallen Lipscomb County soldiers lost in battle, as well as histories of the individual communities that make up Lipscomb County.  Although Lipscomb County is not largely populated, its history spans almost 140 years, much of which has been documented in the various newspaper titles that will be digitized through the Tocker Foundation grant.  The Wolf Creek Heritage Museum is run entirely by volunteers, but the number of exhibits and the amount of history that it documents clearly represent how much passion these volunteers have for their county.   Dorothy Schoenhals, the museum’s director, said that their goal is to only house historical artifacts that originated in, or tell the story of, Lipscomb County because this county has such a rich history of which to be proud.  

By March 2014, the Lipscomb County Newspaper Collection will be accessible and fully text-searchable via The Portal to Texas History.  Congratulations to both the Higgins Public Library and to the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum on their Tocker grant award!


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Good news from the Digital Newspaper Team! The Tocker Foundation has announced their Spring 2012 newspaper digitization grant recipients, and five Texas libraries were awarded. Through the Tocker Foundation awards, communities from across Texas can build new collections–or add more issues to existing collections–on The Portal to Texas History.

By digitizing on the Portal, these communities will be digitally preserving and creating newspaper access for future generations to enjoy.

  • Baylor County Library in Seymour, Texas, received $32,278 to digitize 56 years of its newspaper, The Baylor County Banner.
  • The Gaines County Library in Seminole, Texas, received $19,083 in funding for its Seminole Sentinel issues, from 1917-1961.
  • The Higgins Public Library in Lipscomb, Texas, was awarded $23,667 to digitize 21,400 pages from multiple newspaper titles representing Lipscomb County.
  • Meridian Public Library in Bosque County received $17,780 to digitize its county newspapers up to 1962, including The People’s Tribune, The Meridian Tribune, and The Clifton Record.
  • The Schulenburg Public Library in Fayette County was awarded $15,270 to add more of its Schulenburg Sticker content, from 1921-1965, to the Portal.

    Congratulations to new Tocker Foundation newspaper digitizaton award recipients for this Spring!

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I am pleased to announce that we will soon be adding more historic issues of the El Paso Herald, from 1898-1901. 

Very soon, you will be able to read the dramatic account of the  joint execution of Antonio Flores and Geronimo Parra, on January 5, 1900.  Each man concealed sharpened daggars within their jail cells, and one was brave enough to try to fight off his guards.  El Paso Herald

As you’re paging through these newly digitized issues, pay close attention to the “Link & Pen” sections, where you can stay abreast of local events from the editor’s perspective.  You can do anything from keeping up on the Texas & Pacific icehouse building progress in Sante Fe to following the complications from coal shortages and smallpox. 

To learn how everything will turn out, keep your eyes peeled for the new issues of the El Paso Herald!  

Digitization of these issues was generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, through the National Digital Newspaper Program.

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The Portal to Texas History hosts an ever-growing collection of digital newspapers published between 1829 and the present day. Here are a few gems I’d like you to know about:

Saturday, December 12, 1835, “Camp Before Bejar,” Telegraph and Texas Register

On December 4, 1835, after a reconnaissance expedition in the southwest, Ben Milam learned that the Texas Army had decided to wait until after winter to attack San Antonio. Recognizing that timing was crucial to Texas independence, he rallied 300 volunteer troops with the cry, “Who will go with old Ben Milam to San Antonio?” and this led to the December 9 surrender of the Mexican army at the Siege of Bexar. Milam himself was killed by a sniper shot to the forehead on December 7. A close friend and neighbor of Collin McKinney and brother-in-law to one of McKinney’s daughters, Milam also had deep ties to the North Texas region.

Friday, December 9, 1910, “Women on a Jury in Divorce Case,” El Paso Herald

In San Francisco, California, for the first time in United States history, twelve women sat on a jury in the superior court. According to the news brief, fourteen women were present, and the two who were not chosen to serve were disappointed. The following year, California adopted an amendment granting women the right to vote. In Texas women were banned by law from serving on juries until 1898, and while suffrage was granted with the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920, women were not granted the right to serve on juries until November 2, 1954.

Friday, December 9, 2005, “2006 forecast: NT professors give insight to new year,” NT Daily

If someone asked you what you thought the next year would bring, how might you respond? The “Holidaily” reporters for the NT Daily did just that on December 9, 2005. Upon reading the professors’ responses, one might be tempted to recommend suitably vague responses so that predictions might prove more accurate.

Each of these newspapers was digitized for a different project. The TexTreasures: Early Texas Newspapers grant funded digitization of the Telegraph and Texas Register; this grant has digitized the oldest titles in the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History microfilm collection. The National Digital Newspaper Program, of which Texas is an awardee state, funded digitization of the El Paso Herald; newspapers digitized through the National Digital Newspaper Program also appear through the Library of Congress web site, Chronicling America. Finally, the NT Daily has been acquired through the UNT Libraries Digital Projects’ born digital newspaper initiative, to preserve and provide access to newspaper PDFs (the print masters).

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By the end of this February, we will have ingested a total of 1,000,000 pages of Texas newspapers to The Portal to Texas History: TDNP Collection

Because a newspaper represents its community, and an entire newspaper run is an ever-growing map of community identity, digital preservation and open access to newspapers is incredibly valuable to communities.  As we prepare to celebrate our one million pages of newspapers digitized, I would like to commemorate a few titles:

  • The Rusk Cherokeean:  As the Texas’ oldest, continuously published weekly, the Rusk Cherokeean represents a significant collection on the Portal. The publication began in 1850, when four years after Texas achieved statehood.  The Portal hosts nearly 100 years’ worth of this newspaper, from the 1920s to present-day PDF print masters, due to the foresight of its publisher, Terrie Gonzalez, about which she constantly discusses the importance of preservation and her worries about what would happen to the historic issues if a fire burned her building down.  Terrie’s belief in digital preservation and access means that the newspaper will always be available to the world.
  • University newspapers, including The Rice Thresher, The Texas Wesleyan Rambler, The University of Dallas News, The NT Daily/Campus Chat, and the Tarleton State J-TAC illustrate the value these universities place on their student newspapers as they seek to preserve and digitize them for open access via the Portal.  
  • The Rio Grande Herald: Through the perserverance and dedication of the Rio Grande City Public LIbrary director, Normal Gomez Fultz, nearly fifty years of the Rio Grande Herald have been digitized, making Rio Grande City’s history is available to the world. 
  • The Southwest Chinese Journal: Digitized in partnership with Rice University, this newspaper was printed in both Chinese and English, and served Houston residents  until 1985, when it ceased publication.

These are only a few newspapers that represent the Texas Digital Newspaper Program.  From across Texas, libraries, publishers, and active historical and genealogy societies have contributed to preserve their community records: their newspapers.  As we approach one million pages, we thank these people.