Since the New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project began in 2016, over 100,000 pages of historical newspapers have been scanned and digitized from microfilm originally held by the New Jersey State Archives. At present, more than 50,000 pages of the Perth Amboy Evening News (from 1903 to 1918) are available on Chronicling America, where users can browse and search across issues or download high-resolution images of the historical broadsheets. Additional pages from the Perth Amboy Evening News (through 1922), the Jersey City News (from 1889 to 1906) and the West-Jersey Pioneer (later the Bridgeton Pioneer, from 1851 to 1917) have also been submitted to the Library of Congress and are under review before going live online.
“This latest grant will allow us to digitize additional papers beyond those that were included in the initial round of funding,” explains project director Caryn Radick, a digital archivist for Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “We have a few titles currently in mind, but will need to vet them further before we make our final decision. We’ll be looking for papers that are broadly representative in terms of both geography and content.”The project’s advisory board—which is comprised of archivists, librarians, museum directors, historians, journalists, and educators from across the state—is in the process of finalizing its shortlist of titles, which will be reviewed by the Library of Congress before the intensive work of digitization can begin. “We’re looking forward to getting the new titles online over the next two years,” Radick says.
Originally supported by a $186,204 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in August 2016, the latest grant represents a major boon to the project, which has already greatly expanded access to resources that were previously only accessible through an onsite microfilm reader at the State Archives.
“From the first American brewery, which opened in Hoboken in 1642, to Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb in Menlo Park in 1879, New Jersey is truly a state of many firsts,” adds Deborah Mercer, New Jersey collections librarian for the New Jersey State Library. “Making the historical record of our state available online creates a digital treasure trove for students and scholars, genealogists, or anyone with an interest in the history of New Jersey.”