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.
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.
University of North Texas Libraries is excited to announce the completion of a project to digitize and make freely available the Texas Jewish Post. This project was funded primarily through a 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. This project was also funded in part by private donors, which was very helpful due to the breadth of the collection.
The Texas Jewish Post has served the Jewish community in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Texas since Shelden Beren first began publishing it in January 1947. Published primarily in English and secondarily in Hebrew, the Texas Jewish Post changed hands in 1948, to the ownership of Jessard A. “Jimmy” Wisch. Since 1948, many members of the Wisch family have been involved in maintaining the newspaper, and now the title is published by Sharon Wisch-Ray, the daughter of Jimmy Wisch. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing coverage of political, economic, and social developments affecting Jews globally, provides wire reports to the Texas Jewish Post. Correspondents for The Post contribute coverage from Israel and Washington, D.C., making it both a state, local, and national newspaper. Multiple generations of readers have reported to the Wisch family that it is their first source for news in the north Texas area as well as in the Jewish community.
The Wisch family’s legacy lives on through the Texas Jewish Post. Jimmy Wisch passed away on January 26, 2002. Rene Wisch passed away on November 1, 2010. Their lifetime of service to the Jewish community in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex will not be forgotten, especially now that their newspaper is freely accessible on The Portal to Texas History in perpetuity, for generations of researchers to come.
Prior to this grant award, the Texas Jewish Post collection only existed in paper format, with neither a complete digital nor microfilm duplicate. The publisher, Sharon Wisch-Ray, has provided this collection to University of North Texas Libraries to digitally preserve it for long-term research and education access. Open access to this newspaper’s archive, via The Portal to Texas History, will benefit researchers interested in learning about the Jewish experience from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. The materials digitized through this grant represent 59,360 pages in 2,763 issues of newspapers.