Connecticut State Library Announces Newspaper Titles to be Digitized

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The Connecticut State Library is pleased to announce that it has chosen two newspaper titles to be digitized as a result of an award for $274,034 from the National Endowment for the Humanities of a two-year National Digital Newspaper Program grant to digitize historically significant Connecticut newspapers.

The Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project Advisory Board selected the Bridgeport Evening Farmer and its successor publication, the Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer, as well as the Norwich Bulletin for the time period of 1910-1922. The two cities whose papers we are covering were centers for many of the major early 20th century historical changes affecting Connecticut: industrialization, immigration, urbanization, the labor movement, defense production, the red scare, prohibition and women’s suffrage. As the centennial of WWI is approaching, these papers will also provide news about the effects of WWI in Connecticut. The digital images will be included in the Library of Congress’ newspaper site: Chronicling America http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.

“Newspapers really are the “first draft of history,” noted State Historian and UConn professor Walter Woodward. “Having access to daily papers from two major Connecticut industrial centers for the pivotal years surrounding World War I will be a great asset to everyone interested in our state’s past.”

The newspapers will also be of interest to students of local and family history. The Bulletin includes a treasure trove of information about social life, births, marriages, divorces, illnesses, the return of veterans, accidents, and deaths. The two Bridgeport newspapers cover the activity of the tens of thousands of immigrant and native-born workers organizing unions and other political organizations, interviewing both leaders and members of the rank and file.

State Librarian Kendall Wiggin said that “as the major repository of Connecticut Newspapers, the State Library is committed to broadening access to these important resources.” He added that “with this announcement, the State Library is taking a giant step toward unlocking our newspaper collection for anyone with access to the Internet.”

The State Library has already worked with digitizing newspapers, with our project called Newspapers of Connecticut http://is.gd/Oy4T68. This has short runs of 86 titles from 1821-1929, for a total of 3,301 issues from 31 towns.