Additions to Chronicling America Highlight the Revolutionary War and More!

This is a repost of a blog entry from the Headlines and Heroes blog from the Library’s Serials and Government Publications Division. It was written by Robin Butterhof, a Digital Conversion Specialist in that division.

Newport Gazette (Newport, RI), March 13, 1777.

Chronicling America added over 1,500,000 newspaper pages in 2020! Included in those new pages is the Newport Gazette (Newport, Rhode Island), which expands the date range of Chronicling America from 1789-1963 to 1777-1963.

The Newport Gazette was published by Loyalist John Howe during the occupation of Newport by the British. In its pages, a portrait of daily life during the Revolutionary War emerges. One announcement asked readers to RSVP for St. Patrick’s Day revels at the bar of the local coffee house: “Such Irish Gentleman of the Navy and Army as chuse to meet and celebrate the Anniversary of St. Patrick . . .

The paper included advertisements for butter being sold by the “firkin” (a small cask) and a wanted ad for a “sober, careful person” to serve as a steward on a British frigate. Advertisements for the sale of enslaved individuals and families were also to be found amidst ads for nutmeg and furniture. While the ad below includes the seller’s name, some ads avoided naming the seller and told interested parties that they should “enquire of the printer.”

Advertisement. Newport Gazette (Newport, RI), June 25, 1778.

Beyond local ads, the newspaper provided national and international news coverage. Although a Loyalist paper, the paper republished letters from George Washington as well as news from the Continental Congress, such as this account mentioning “Mr. Hamilton, one of Gen. Washington’s aid-de-camps.”

News from Continental Congress. Newport Gazette (Newport, RI), November 20, 1777.

In March 1778, news reached Newport of the harsh conditions at Valley Forge, where Gen. Washington’s army encamped for the winter of 1777-1778, in that the Army was “very sickly grown of late . . . [estimating that] near 5000 of them have been sent to their different Hospitals.” In that same month, the newspaper covered rumors of a rag shortage that was preventing the publication of dollar bills as well as information about an exchange of prisoners of war. In 1779, the newspaper folded, and the publisher was evacuated as the British abandoned Newport.

Beyond the Newport Gazette, almost 600 new titles were added to Chronicling America in 2020. Other notable titles added in the last year include:

“PROTEST,” The Advocate (Charleston, WV), February 14, 1907.

The Advocate, a newspaper founded in Charlestown, West Virginia by the first African-American state librarian. Read more about protests against Jim Crow policies in West Virginia.

The Saturday Press, a Minneapolis, Minnesota newspaper whose inflammatory articles led to the US Supreme Court case of Near v. Minnesota, a landmark decision for the freedom of the press.

“THE SHOOTING OF HENRY A. GUILFORD AND SOME TWIN CITY REPORTER HISTORY,” The Saturday Press (Minneapolis, MN), October 1, 1907.

The American Jewish World, another Minneapolis, Minnesota newspaper founded in 1912. It is one of the oldest Jewish newspapers in the United States still in publication. Read how the newspaper responded to president Woodrow Wilson’s surprise nomination of Louis Brandeis, who became the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice.

“EDITORIAL,” The American Jewish World (Minneapolis, MN), February 4, 1916.

Newspapers in Chronicling America are accompanied by an essay about that newspaper’s history. These essays can be an excellent resource for students working with primary sources, providing difficult-to-uncover background information about the newspaper’s authorship and perspective. For more information about the titles listed above, see the following essays: The Advocate, The Saturday Press, and The American Jewish World.

For more information about the Newport Gazette and other new titles from Rhode Island, see The National Endowment for the Humanities’ blog post, “Chronicling America Now Reaches Back to the Revolutionary War.”

* The Chronicling America historic newspapers online collection is a product of the National Digital Newspaper Program and jointly sponsored by the Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

What’s New Online? Recent Additions to the Library of Congress Digital Collections

One of Dr. Carla’s Hayden’s stated goals for her time as Librarian of Congress is to continue to expand access to our primary source collections, and the Library of Congress staff is working hard to achieve this goal. Here is the first post from the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog team highlighting some […]

Exploring America’s Cinematic Heritage through the National Film Registry

On December 16, Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao announced the addition of 25 films to the National Film Registry, showcasing the richness and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. The films selected for the Registry are deemed to be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

Educator Webinar: Tapping the Power of Teaching with Visual Images

On Tuesday, September 23, at 7 PM ET, education experts from the Library will offer a webinar that will engage participants in a model photograph analysis activity, facilitate a discussion about the power of teaching with visual images, and demonstrate how to find visual images from the Library of Congress.

Throughout the year, the Library will be hosting educator webinars every other Tuesday at 7:00 ET focusing on a variety of instructional strategies for using primary sources in instruction. The 2014 schedule and information about joining the webinar is now available from loc.gov/teachers.