The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the West Virginia University Libraries with a $266,000 grant to help digitize West Virginia newspapers written between 1836 and 1922.
“This grant both continues and rewards the leading role that the WVU Libraries have historically played in preserving West Virginia newspapers of the 18th through 20th centuries,” said John Cuthbert, director and curator of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection of the WVU Libraries.
“A problem with using old newspapers is that they do not have an index; finding every reference made would take perhaps years of looking. If the papers were available in a digital searchable database, one could find references instantly,” Cuthbert said.
One of the main focuses in digitizing the newspapers from West Virginia is the differing perspective of the North and South during the Civil War.
Since West Virginia was a part of Virginia until 1863, and the grant calls for papers from 1836 to 1922 to be digitized, the WVU Libraries have begun collaborating with the Library of Virginia in Richmond.
In addition, NEH is interested in highlighting the development of the coal industry and associated labor movements in West Virginia.
NEH has also urged the WVU libraries to pay special attention to minority and foreign language newspapers released in West Virginia during this time period to gain the perspective of a minority.
See Also: Direct to Chronicling America (Searchable Newspaper Database via Library of Congress)