The Labor Dispatch, from Galveston, Texas

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

In 2021, the Rosenberg Library of Galveston partnered with UNT Libraries to digitize historic labor newspapers from their holdings, which will serve to seed the Texas Labor Newspaper Collection. Titles in this collection, currently focused in Galveston, chronicle international labor reform and organization efforts to improve labor conditions and pay. When the US entered the First World War, national concerns about the war effort affected how labor organizers balanced the importance of worker rights against threats to national security. This is directly reflected in titles such as The Labor Dispatch, which emphasizes the importance of serving national, war interests before worker interests. This focus on serving national interests first not only highlights the threat of the war to the American public, but also the importance of economic production to sustaining a war. Labor activists who subscribed to the ideals of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), such as founder and then President Samuel Gompers, put their reform work on pause in order to serve the war effort, even if this meant grueling, dangerous conditions.


Labor Dispatch, February 2, 1918

While this is the major perspective currently represented in this collection, it was not the only reaction to the stresses of war. More militant and radical organizations, such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) continued their labor reform efforts and strikes despite the war, though any action that was considered a threat to the war effort was made illegal with the Espionage Act of 1917, including strikes and invasive labor demonstrations. Despite these complexities and differences between major labor organizations, the legacy of WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution on new and continuing labor reform helped to reinforce the AFL’s anti-socialism stance and tempered radicalism in a major sect of the movement. Though we hope to soon expand this collection to include more labor newspaper titles, our current holdings from the city of Galveston reflect some of the important steps toward securing fair wages and safe work environments through collective bargaining. This work was made possible through a partnership between the Rosenberg Library of Galveston and UNT’s Digital Newspaper Unit.

Union Review, April 16, 1920

Brooke Edsall is the Imaging Lead at the Digital Newspaper Unit and oversees the digitization of physical newspaper pages for The Portal to Texas History. She is also a masters student with the University of North Texas History Department. 

Posted by & filed under General, Quick Tips.

We are starting this quick tip series to help you with quick-navigation questions you may have about the UNT Digital Collections. We will talk about two collections in these tips: The Texas Digital Newspaper Program and the UNT Scholarly Works Collection. However, all of the tips we give you will work with any other collection on The Portal to Texas History, the UNT Digital Library, or the Gateway to Oklahoma History.

Texas Digital Newspaper Program

Collection filters menuDid you know you can browse the Texas Digital Newspaper Collection (and any collection on The Portal to Texas History, The Gateway to Oklahoma History, or the UNT Digital Library!) by year?

In the left-hand navigation column, different links let you choose different ways to sort collection information, and one is “Dates.”

Challenge: Can you guess why we’d have the 1813 issues of a newspaper published in Washington, D.C., in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program? (Search TDNP for “St. Antonio” to learn more!)

Scholarly Works

For the Scholarly Works quick tips, we welcome Whitney Johnson-Freeman, the UNT Libraries’ Repository Librarian for Scholarly Works. Since graduating with her MLS in 2018, she has found her passion in Open Access and digital preservation. If you ever have questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to her via email: .

Once you’ve contributed to UNT Scholarly Works, you should share your work! You can link to it in your resume/CV or even in a grant application, or you can embed it in your personal website or ePortfolio. There are no restrictions on sharing our records, so you could also add them to course materials or LibGuides. Our links are also permanent which means you won’t have to worry about errors or dead links in the future.

An easily shareable link and code for embedding an interactive version of the item can be found in the Linking & Embedding option of the Citations, Rights, Re-Use menu on the left side of each record’s page.


And as an added bonus, this all applies to all items in The Portal to Texas History and The Gateway to Oklahoma History too. Our URLs have 2 key components: the base URL, which notes which website you’re in, and the Archival Resource Key (ARK) which is the record’s unique identifier in our system.

If you have any questions about sharing Digital Library records, feel free to email us at



Featured Image NDNP

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

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

For Texas, participation in NDNP has offered an unprecedented opportunity to represent the state on a national level, through its newspaper publishing history. 

This award is for $208,888 and will build access to an additional 100,000 pages of Texas newspapers on Chronicling America, to spotlight community identity in Texas.  For this round, we are looking to digitize further years of El Paso and San Antonio titles, with the goal of expanding their availability up to and beyond 1925, depending on the choices of the Texas advisory board. Both El Paso and San Antonio saw significant changes in the civil rights conversation, even while the U.S. underwent recovery from WWI, experienced the Great Depression, and fought in WWII. These cities were significant population centers where voices of diverse groups amplified to navigate an increasingly globalized world. 

In addition to adding the newspapers to Chronicling America, where Texas identity can be preserved in the context of other state newspapers, we will also add these newspapers to  the Texas Digital Newspaper Program (TDNP), on The Portal to Texas History. All of the newspapers available in Chronicling America and TDNP are freely accessible and can be used broadly for activities including research and education. As a result, we try continually to inform teachers and students about the importance of newspapers as windows into history.

Chronicling America is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress in an effort to build a nationwide, open-access repository of digitized historic newspapers.

To learn more about Chronicling America, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, visit their social media sites! 




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

As we digitize more newspapers, we can read across time for viewpoints represented across multiple newspaper titles.  Access to the digitized versions of historic newspapers ensures that we will not forget and cannot hide history.  In this blog post, we offer editorials and stories from three titles, discussing the Tulsa race massacre: The Dallas Express, The Houston Informer, both from June 1921, and the San Antonio Register, from February 2000.

From June 11, 1921, The Dallas Express published, “The following comments

on the Tulsa tragedy . . . worthy of note for the different sentiments expressed by their authors.”  This presents editorial commentary from The Tulsa Daily World, The Dallas News, and The Dallas Times Herald, printed side-by-side, to show how different editors absorbed and discussed the events.  The Express also expands upon the rape story that had sparked the riot, with the caption, “Whole Truth Not Told.”  

The Houston Informer, from June 11, 1921, asks, “Where is the Old Law, Anyhow?” Delving into the dangers and consequences of ignoring law, order, and the constitution to castigate the “reign of lawlessness in this country [that] is wholly and solely responsible for the inter-racial
conflict . . .” and advocating for “respect for law and order to put an end to ruthless mob violence.”  

Bernice Powell Jackson, in the February 3, 2000, issue of The San Antonio Register, explores attempts to cover up the entire history of the massacre. “The story of the Tulsa race massacre was almost lost as whites intentionally hid the truth–even that scandalous newspaper front page calling for a lynching was removed from all files and as African Americans were fearful of telling what had happened, afraid that history might repeat itself.”  Jackson’s article celebrates the formation of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission and discusses the commission’s goals for supporting survivors and their descendants after this traumatic and tragic event.  

Contemporaneous newspaper stories about the massacre compare it to the German invasion of Belgium during the First World War.  Learning from these voices is why we preserve, digitize, and build access to newspaper histories.

The Gonzales Inquirer terms for advertising.

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

The UNT Libraries’ Digital Newspaper Unit has digitized historic issues of The Gonzales Inquirer for Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’s repository of historic American newspapers. The UNT Libraries have received National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to contribute Texas Newspapers to Chronicling America. The 2016-2018 award cycle focused on non-English newspaper content and newspapers published in Texas before the Civil War. The Gonzales Inquirer is also available on The Portal to Texas History as part of the Texas Digital Newspaper Program.
Sarah Lynn Fisher, UNT Libraries’ Project Coordinator for the NDNP-Texas grant, prepared this essay, which was edited by Leah Arroyo, Program Analyst at the NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access.

The Gonzales Inquirer was the first newspaper in Gonzales, Texas, and remains one of the oldest continuously operating newspapers in the state. S.W. Smith, previously a newspaperman in Alexandria, Louisiana, and D.H.S. Darst, an original member of the DeWitt Colony, a settlement in Mexican Texas, published the first issue on June 4, 1853. It states their reasons for publishing: only one other town along the Guadalupe River had a press at the time, and the two men saw a great need for “speculation on affairs of State,” as well as for advertising the “immense importations” of goods to a “large populous, wealthy county” — in 1853 the population stood at nearly 1,000 people, up from roughly 400 the previous year — “unsurpassed for beauty of scenery, fertility of soil and salubrity of climate in the State of Texas.” Noting the appetite of the region’s wealthy farmers for imported goods, advertisers from New York and New Orleans purchased space in the paper.

In their first editorial, Smith and Darst also detailed the great trouble they encountered bringing the press to Gonzales, in what was then a newly established frontier state. The type had to be “hauled over a hundred miles of very bad road … immediately after the fall of very heavy rains.” When it arrived, it included a box of the wrong front, and additionally, “several letters of the alphabet were missing.” Once the mistake was rectified, the publishers were able to print their first issue: a six-column, four-page broadsheet measuring 24 by 36 inches that came out on Saturdays. The masthead proclaimed the publication to be “Open To All Parties—Controlled By None.” The publishers set the subscription price at $3.00 per year.

The Inquirer continued with these specifications for many years. Although initially asserting to be independent in politics, by 1869 the paper had declared itself to be Democratic. After a short time, Darst sold his interest in the paper to Smith, who remained the editor and publisher for 25 years. Editor Carey J. Pilgrim increased the paper’s prominence in the state at the end of the 19th century: around 1870 the paper had approximately 700 subscribers; circulation rose to 1,000 by the turn of the century. By 1884, Pilgrim was the owner of the Inquirer and ushered in a new era by offering a junior partnership to an apprentice, Henry Reese, Jr. In 1887, D. L. Beach bought a half-interest in the paper from Pilgrim and continued as a partner with Reese, Jr., until Beach’s death in 1906.

The Reese family owned the paper for nearly 100 years and were involved with many economic activities in the town of Gonzales. Several members of the Reese family served as editors and publishers, including Reese, Jr.’s, half-sister Anne Reese; his wife Otelia Reese, who took over as publisher following his death in 1923; and their sons, Henry Reese, III, and Edward Reese. In 1991 the paper was bought by the Guadalupe Valley Publishing Company.
The Gonzales Inquirer has continued publication under the same name, except for a brief time around 1876 when it merged with the South-Western Index [LCCN: sn85033351] to become the Inquirer-Index. By 1877, however, the paper resumed as a separate publication. A daily edition [LCCN: sn83004780] published by Reese, Jr., and Beach, began on June 1, 1897, as a four-page, five-column paper. It eventually expanded to eight columns and six to ten pages and included a daily wire service.

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

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Gonzales County Historical Commission. (1986). The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Curtis Media Corporation
Hardin, S. L. (2010, June 15). GONZALES, TX. In HANDBOOK OF TEXAS ONLINE. Retrieved from
Smith, S. W. & Darst, D. H. S. (1853, June 4). Salutatory. The Gonzales Inquirer, 2.