This past week, I went to the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) Awardee Conference in Washington, D.C., with my colleague Jill Weiss. It was an informative and inspiring conference. The first day, we met at the National Constitution Center and we welcomed by the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Dr. William D. Adams. In his brief remarks, he emphasized the commitment that NEH has to the program and his belief in its importance to the public good. As a public historian, I was motivated by his call to make Chronicling America (the national digital newspaper repository) more accessible to the public. He also shared with us the big news about the program: the date range is expanding! This new date expansion will cover 1690-1963, which means that awardee states can do so much more for Chronicling America.
During the first day, we learned about the specific program needs for Chronicling America, including newspaper essays that explain the history of a title, deliverable products submitted to the Library of Congress, and the ins-and-outs of preparing newspaper titles for microfilm and digital preservation. These talks were especially important to a new program assistant like myself, who needs to know all the important tasks for the NDNP. Additionally, we watched a live-stream of the swearing-in of the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. In her speech, she called for the Library of Congress to make its own history by making materials more easily available to the public. With NDNP, we are doing just that.
In the afternoon of the first day, winners of the NDNP’s Data Challenge Awards presented on the innovative and creative ways they are using digital newspapers through Chronicling America. George Mason University professor Lincoln Mullen shared his research on the use of the Bible in American newspapers and how it showed religious trends during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Andrew Bales, a doctoral student from the University of Cincinnati, created a database for chronicling the horrific history of Lynching in the American South. Ending the first session, Amy Giroux, Marcy Galbreath, and Nathan Giroux from the University of Central Florida explored agricultural trends through their own aggregator of newspapers called Historical Agricultural News.
However, my favorite presentation (and maybe I’m biased since I’m from Indiana) was Chronicling Hoosier, presented by IUPUI’s own Kristi Palmer, Ted Polley, and Caitlyn Pollock. Their research looked into the history and geographical usage of the word “Hoosier.” While they didn’t learn the clear origin of the word (we may never really know), they did learn that its usage extended beyond just Indiana, from Virginia and Kentucky all the way down the Mississippi River to Louisiana. Originally a term of derision, meaning “country bumpkin” or “backwoodsman,” Hoosier became a beloved moniker by the late nineteenth century for those who lived in the State of Indiana. Listening to their presentation brought back memories of fourth grade Indiana History Class and the tall tales my teacher, Mrs. Hall, would share with the class about “Hoosiers.”
History teacher Ray Palin and student Virgile Bissonnette-Blais from Sunapee High School in New Hampshire displayed their project chronicling pivotal events in American history such as Plessy v. Ferguson. Ending the data challenge winner presentations, Professor Claudio Saunt and engineer Trevor Goodyear from Georgia shared with us their winning project, USNewsMap.com, which provides a timeline-based “heat map” on newspapers based on search queries. For those interested, it does work on proper nouns as well as regular search terms (I asked).
The second day mostly focused on working with bilingual and multilingual newspapers, copyright issues, and the production aspects of NDNP. The main session that day for me was the production session, where awardees that are new to the program learn the basics of microfilm and digital preservation. We learned how to organize film, correct technical specifications for digital files, and preparing those files for the Library of Congress and Chronicling America. While it was a lot to take in for a two-hour session, the production talks were vital to my understanding of all the tasks necessary for working on the NDNP.
Our last day involved a nice, open ended morning session for brainstorming marketing and outreach. We learned different marketing strategies for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets, as well as other fun ways to get people to Chronicling America. My Hoosier State Chronicles colleague, Jill Weiss, asked questions about how we could get a podcast off the ground (something we’re working on for the future). The ground shared some of their favorite podcasts to check out for ideas and seemed very receptive to our idea. Like with the Data Challenge winners, I loved learning about all the creative ways that we can use NDNP content to reach users.
Overall, this was a very fun and informative conference and I look forward to applying much of what I learned to my tasks on this program. Stay tuned for more, and as always, happy searching!
Historians, genealogists and other curious researchers can now dig into some historic newspapers from Bloomington, Indianapolis, Bedford, Hammond, New Richmond, Sullivan, Smithville, and tiny Orland up in Steuben County. While our available run of Hammond’s Lake County Times currently includes just three years (1920-22), we’ll add issues of that great paper back to its start in 1906 in coming months.
Our newest batch also includes a controversial choice for Hoosier State Chronicles, but one which is of enormous historical value: the Ku Klux Klan’s Fiery Cross. From the early to mid-1920s, the Klan edited and printed its influential Indiana State edition from the Century Building in downtown Indianapolis at a time when the Invisible Empire was largely headquartered in Indy. Although HSC and the Indiana State Library in no way endorse the views of the KKK, we trust you’ll find The Fiery Cross a fascinating read. The paper is an integral part of the history of radical right-wing politics, nativism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, the battle over religion in public schools, and American attitudes toward immigration. Cast a glance at American politics today and what seems like old 1920s news is still hugely relevant.
We expect that some members of the public might be offended by our making The Fiery Cross available on the web, but we stand by its value as a historic document. If you’re looking for a strong anti-Klan perspective, many Hoosier editors took a stand against the group in the 1920s. We recommend several papers available in Hoosier State Chronicles: the African American Indianapolis Recorder, George R. Dale’s ferocious (and humorous) Muncie Post-Democrat, and the great Indianapolis News. The microfilm collections of the Indiana State Library also contain two other notable Indianapolis newspapers that opposed the KKK. These are the Pulitzer Prize-winning Indianapolis Times and the Indiana Catholic & Record, forerunner of the Catholic archdiocese’s current newsletter, The Criterion.
Although the Indiana Klan’s heyday ended in the late 1920s, we would also like to point out that Hoosier State Chronicles makes available the Jewish Post & Opinionfrom the date of its inception in Indianapolis in 1933 all the way up to 2005 — a paper that has fought for many decades to raise awareness of racism in the U.S. and abroad.
Here’s a full list of what’s new on HSC this month:
It’s been a couple months since our last project update. We’ve just uploaded a ton of new titles for you. These include a few major newspapers, like the Indianapolis News; a few “niche” titles from the Indiana Socialist press; and a plethora of small-town journals dating from 1804 up to the 1960s — some with colorful titles, but one of which may have the most boring title of any newspaper in American history. (We hope that makes us famous.) Scroll down to see what it is.
At the end of July, Hoosier State Chronicles had brought 362,926 pages online. Ten weeks later, we now have 541,618 — an increase of 49%. . . with another 100,000+ to be added in a fortnight.
Check out our additions over the last two months. And enjoy.
Hey, readers. Just a quick news flash. Here’s a list of new content added to Hoosier State Chronicles over the last few days.
Check out some colorful titles — like Wabash Scratches— and a hilarious and witty antebellum paper from Indianapolis, The Locomotive. A further decade of this comical weekly, one of the best papers ever published in the Hoosier State, is coming soon.
Additionally, we just added some early titles going back to 1807, when the sun was just rising on printing in Indiana Territory. A huge run of Greencastle’s Daily Banner, digitized at DePauw University, brings us up to 1968. Enjoy!
Attention Clay County chroniclers and Brazil back-story buffs! The first batch of the Brazil Daily Times is now going up on Newspapers.com. (Uploading may take a week or more and will include a run of issues from 1907-1931.) Indiana residents can access this content for FREE via INSPIRE. If you need help accessing the content, read our related blog post.
Here’s a short side note on the history of the Daily Times, ancestor of today’s Brazil Times.
Small-town newspapers often have interesting pedigrees. Brazil’s is no exception. When the Daily Times’ debut came on December 1, 1888, it was under the editorial leadership of a man named Robert Henkel.
Bob Henkel came from one of the original German families of the American South. Their involvement in printing, preaching, and pioneering went back many generations.
Though William Travis wrote up the editor’s genealogy in his 1909 History of Clay County, Travis’ version is full of mistakes. Yet as the chronicler knew, Henkel’s story links Clay County history back to 16th-century Germany.
Bob Henkel’s fascinating family lineage was prestigious, going at least as far back as Johann Henckel, a German Catholic priest at the time of the Protestant Reformation. While Europe’s spiritual foundations were being shaken up by the monk Martin Luther, Johann Henckel, who served as Hofprediger (court preacher) and spiritual guide to some members of the Hapsburg royal family, was exchanging letters with the Dutch reformer, humanist, and priest Erasmus of Rotterdam.
William Travis mistakenly writes that Henckel was Father Confessor to a certain Queen Mary of Norway. Actually, this was Queen Mary of Hungary, sister of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Mary later served as Hapsburg Governor of the Netherlands during the height of the Reformation. Henckel, while friendly to Protestants calling for reform, ultimately swayed Mary away from becoming a follower of Luther.
That couldn’t be said of the rest of the Henckel family, who emigrated to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in the early 18th century. As Appalachian frontier folk, the fervently Lutheran Henckels (later spelled Henkel) also helped settle the “German belt” of North Carolina at a time when English took linguistic third place in the western Piedmont. Until the early 1800s, German and Scottish Gaelic — not to mention Cherokee — were commonly-spoken languages in backcountry Carolina.
Printer’s ink must have been mingled with Bob Henkel’s blood. Around 1807, in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley town of New Market, Virginia, the Indiana editor’s great-grand uncles, Ambrose and Solomon Henkel, set up one of the first German-language presses in the American South. (The Virginia Historical Society has a great webpage showing some of the beautiful work done by these craftsmen.) From 1807 to 1809, Ambrose published Der Virginische Volksberichter und Neumarketer Wochenschrift, a small, short-lived weekly newspaper printed in the heavily German-speaking area around the famous Luray Caverns. The Henkel brothers’ press in New Market is considered the oldest Lutheran printing house in America. The brothers also published educational books, like an 1819 ABC Book in the collections of the College of William and Mary.
Ambrose and Solomon’s father, the Reverend Paul Henkel, was a celebrated Lutheran minister who preached in both German and English. One of the pioneers of Lutheranism in America, the North Carolina-born Paul Henkel sowed the seeds of his church in the trans-Appalachian West during travels out to Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana. William Travis claims that he served as the first president of Ohio State University in Columbus. This is wrong, but Henkel did help establish education in the early Midwest.
Several members of this prominent family of Virginia Germans were drawn into the conflict between North and South. A few trained as doctors at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious medical school before the Civil War. Caspar C. Henkel served as an assistant surgeon in Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s brigade during the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign.
It should come as no surprise that the Lutheran minister Paul Henkel’s great-grandson, Brazil Daily Times editor Bob Henkel, was born in apt-sounding Germantown, Ohio, in 1866, just a year after his Confederate relatives back in the Virginia mountains lost the war. Henkel was raised, however, in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he became a printer’s apprentice at age sixteen. Robert eventually bought the Crawfordsville Daily Journal, briefly moved out to Coldwater, Kansas, where he married Josephine Cole, then back east to Rockville and La Porte, Indiana.
In 1888, Robert established the Brazil Daily Times, ancestor of the town’s current paper. Under the umbrella of the Henkel Publishing Company, he served as its editor until 1912. William Travis claims that the Clay County paper was established with capital investment amounting to just $1.60, “with no type, paper or any other supplies with which to establish the venture.” Within a few years, however, Henkel and his partner “had all modern devices known to the printer’s art.”
At a time when most American newspapers were at least loosely affiliated with a political party, the Daily Times‘ editor kept it independent of partisan politics and was much admired for his honesty and support of the best political candidates, regardless of what party they belonged to.
Bob Henkel moved to Indianapolis in 1912. In 1918, he bought the Indianapolis Daily Live Stock Journal and published it until he died of pneumonia on February 4, 1930. Henkel was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.
Hoosier State Chronicles is about to fix one big gap in our online newspaper archives — the absence of northwestern Indiana, that colorful region of steel mills and dunes beaches and the pulse of Chicago throbbing out there in the distance. In the next few months, we’ll bring you a long run of Hammond’s Lake County Times from 1906 into the early days of Prohibition.
Hammond’s proximity to the Windy City means that its reporters covered plenty of stories from America’s Jazz Age — the heady days of flappers, gangsters, speakeasies, marriage mills, divorce courts, and the rise and fall of Indiana’s powerful Ku Klux Klan. You’ll see how the Roaring Twenties played out in towns like Hammond, Gary, Crown Point, East Chicago, Hobart and Munster. But until we’re done digitizing, we’ll just tantalize you with a story here and there.
Here’s a funny clip about the history of impatience… on both ends of the line. Published in the Lake County Times on February 10, 1923, this story is from Whiting, a Lake Michigan town right on the Illinois state line.
Irish eyes might be smiling. But you’ve been forewarned: never swear at an Irish “hello girl.”