AZSOS and UA receive grant to continue digitizing Arizona’s newspapers

For Immediate Release
September 13, 2017

For More Information Contact:

Matt Roberts, Director of Communications 
Phone: (602) 542-2228
[email protected]

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records (LAPR), in partnership with the University of Arizona, has received a $279,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue digitizing historic newspaper collections.

This is the 4th such grant received by LAPR.  Since 2008, LAPR digitized approximately 380,000 pages and made them available on both the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” site and on the Arizona Digital Historic Newspapers platform.  This new grant adds another 100,000 pages, bringing the total online newspaper collection to nearly half a million pages.

“We are honored and extremely excited to continue the Digital Newspaper Project,” said Secretary Reagan.  “The addition of these papers to the online collections will nurture a fuller appreciation for and understanding of the diverse forces which have combined to create our unique Arizona identity.”

Over the first three cycles of the grant, LAPR digitized 68 historical titles, all published between 1859 and 1922.  These titles chronicle the Arizona Territory on its journey to statehood, and document the development and early identity of Arizona as a frontier, when it would sometimes take weeks or months for outside news to reach the territory.

Of notable interest, UA hopes to digitize non-English language newspapers including El Tucsonense (1915-1959), one of the longest-running Spanish-language Mexican American newspapers in the state.

University of Arizona Libraries is excited to partner with LAPR to preserve early territorial newspapers that provide a broad range of perspectives,” said Shan Sutton, Dean of UA Libraries.  “As we continue to recognize the importance of diversity in our state’s heritage, it is critical to provide online access to vital voices that include publications by Mexican Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Japanese relocation camps and migrant labor groups.”

Before Arizona received statehood in 1912, more than 200 newspaper titles were published in 60 towns.  In 1991, LAPR began the Arizona Newspaper Program, which sought to preserve these early newspapers on microfilm.  Microfilm remains the industry standard for long-term preservation and can last up to 500 years.  To date, LAPR has microfilmed over 1.5 million pages of newsprint and are available for research at the Polly Rosenbaum State Archives and History Building.

Mary Feeney, the Librarian from UA Research and Learning Department said, “Newspapers are important documents for researchers in many disciplines and for the broader community. This collaboration is an excellent opportunity to expand access to these rich sources of historical information.”