The Ohio History Connection is pleased to announce that more historic Ohio newspapers have been added to Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’s free digital newspaper database. Issues from the following newspapers are now online and keyword-searchable:
- From Lower Sandusky/Fremont (Sandusky County)
- From Napoleon (Henry County)
- From Plymouth (Huron & Richland Counties)
In addition to printing news of local, state, national and even global significance, these papers often included poems and serialized fiction. These types of items were important for readers because newspapers were not only intended to keep them informed by including information on events, people and places, but to entertain them during a time when the radio, television and Internet were nonexistent and owning books was a luxury.
Many 19th century Ohio newspapers included at least one poem in each issue, and they were often found on the front page. They addressed topics ranging from the triumphs, trials and tedium of daily life to controversial political issues, such as the Fugitive Slave Law (“What Do I Think?”, Fremont Weekly Freeman, November 23, 1850 Page 1, col. 3). Some poems were written by people as famous as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (“The Union”, Freeman, January 5, 1850, Page 1, col. 2), some were reprinted from other newspapers and still others were composed by local residents. The poem to the right was written by a woman named Annie, a resident of Plymouth, Ohio, specifically for her hometown newspaper, the Advertiser.
Serialized fiction first appeared in British newspapers in the 1830s, but soon crossed the Atlantic and was included in American newspapers as well. In the latter half of the 19th century, it was not uncommon to find works of serialized fiction, written by both domestic and foreign authors, published in larger newspapers. The Democratic Northwest, later known as the Democratic Northwest and Henry County News, often included serials in the last pages of each issue. In January 1890, for example, Major James Franklin Fitts started his serial titled “Tried for His Life; or Within the Shadow of the Scaffold”. A few years later, starting on October 25, 1894 and concluding on January 10, 1895, the story of “Teresa” was published. It was written by U.S. Army Captain C.A Curtis and was billed as “a soldier’s love story, written by a soldier.”
Take a peek around the newest papers on Chronicling America, and see what you can discover about what our ancestors found entertaining over one hundred years ago. There are over 280,000 pages dating from 1836 to 1922 from all over the state to explore! These titles (over 58 in all!) comprise only a small part of the over 7.8 million pages from all over the nation that are currently available on the Library of Congress website.
Chronicling America is brought to you by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities, Library of Congress and state projects to provide enhanced access to United States newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. National Endowment for the Humanities awards support state projects to select and digitize historically significant titles that are aggregated and permanently maintained by the Library of Congress at Chronicling America. As part of the project, the Ohio History Connection contributed over 200,000 newspaper pages to the project between July 2008 and August 2012 and will contribute an additional 100,000 pages by the end of August 2014. For more information about this project and resources for searching Chronicling America, please visit the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio Project Wiki or Ohio Digital Newspaper Program Website.
Jenni Salamon, Project Coordinator, NDNP-OH