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Let's Get Serial

“Taft Takes Oath as President in Senate,” reads a headline from the March 4, 1909, issue of the Washington Times.

“Mary [Walsh] is Tired of Hubby,” proclaims the April 29, 1894 issue of the St. Paul Daily Globe.

“Pretty Clothes Do Not Make a Pretty Bird and the Gazette Will Act on the Maxim that Pretty is as Pretty Does,” announces another headline from the Dec. 14, 1888, issue of the Fort Worth Weekly Gazette.

Front Page of the Fort Worth Weekly Gazette. Dec. 14, 1888 Newspapers and Current Periodicals Reading Room, Library of Congress

In June, the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities marked a major milestone in their partnership to digitize historic U.S. newspapers and make them widely available to the public on the Internet. The Chronicling America website —a free, national, searchable database of historic American newspaper pages published between 1880 and 1922—posted its millionth page.

Although it’s hard to speculate what that 1 millionth page actually was, the partners picked 11 ceremonial “1 millionth pages” [PDF], each with an interesting story to tell.

This online resource will eventually contain 20 million pages of historic American newspapers from 1836 to 1922, and in addition to the digitized pages, Chronicling America offers educational essays on every title represented and a directory of all newspapers published in the United States from 1690 to the present.

More information about the milestone can be found in this June blog post.

Also make sure to sign up for the Chronicling America RSS Feed for regular updates on new content and more.

The Library’s Serial and Government Publication Division maintains one of the largest and most comprehensive newspaper collections in the world, comprised not only of the major titles published in all 50 states and territories of the United States, but also of titles from most independent countries and many dependent states that have existed during the past three centuries. In addition, the division holds some 70,000 current foreign and domestic, unbound serial titles, and offers current U.S. federal, state, municipal, and foreign and international serial documents in Western European languages.

As early as January 1830, then-Librarian of Congress John Silva Meehan had been instructed to place the latest numbers of periodicals received by the Library on a special table "for the convenience of readers." In 1867 a small, separate periodicals reading room was established for members of Congress. When the Library Committee increased the Library's annual newspaper appropriation that year it observed that "The wants of Congress for all leading journals, magazines & reviews covering the departments of law, commerce, finance, & literature require the Librarian to subscribe annually for an increased number." The importance of newspapers and periodicals to scholars was recognized when the Library established a separate newspaper-periodical room on January 22, 1900.

A. Front Page of the Fort Worth Weekly Gazette. Dec. 14, 1888. Serial and Government Publications Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available.

B. Newspapers and Current Periodicals Reading Room, Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-88126 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: LOT 12562 [item] [P&P]