A Gateway to Maryland History
University Digitizes Old Newspapers, Chronicling Change and Charmby Liam Farrell | photos courtesy of UMD Archives
Local newspapers are a microcosm of history, both grand and small, and the University of Maryland is helping make them more accessible.
Since 2012, UMD’s Historic Maryland Newspapers Project has been digitizing local papers to make them broadly and freely available to the public. The project, which was recently awarded a third grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has put more than 200,000 pages online, providing a window into 19th and early 20th century life in Maryland.
From poems to national headlines to advertisements showcasing the local economy, newspapers functioned as a clearinghouse of the information that regular people relied on, says Douglas McElrath, UMD director of special collections and university archives.
“You can almost track the social life of a town,” he says. “The great thing about newspapers is they really give you that snapshot.”
Here are some examples of what you can find in the database:
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