The West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia and Regional History Center has�received a $155,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue digitizing�historic�newspapers published in West Virginia from 1836 to 1922.�

“This new grant�will enable us to increase our digital newspaper database to over 300,000 pages and extend our reach to communities across the state,”�WVRHC Curator John Cuthbert said.�

The�award�is the�Libraries’�third�grant from the endowment as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program.�This�collaborative effort�between the endowment and the Library of Congress enlists�libraries and institutions from around the country to provide enhanced access to historical United States newspapers.�As part of this project, the NEH awarded the West Virginia and Regional History Center a $266,000 grant�in 2011 and a $135,000 grant in 2013.�

The extensive�digital newspaper�database is available�on the�Chronicling America�website hosted by the Library of Congress.�

Now, instead of painstakingly poring over page after page to find�mention of a desired topic, users can use a�few keystrokes�to�quickly�search�decades of newspapers.�

“This database�is�a�revolutionary tool for anyone looking for newspaper content in any field. Type in a word or name, and one gets instant results that might�formerly have taken years to compile,” Cuthbert said.�

“One�of our goals has been to uncover specialty or�unique�subject specific papers that document important moments in West Virginia history, says Stewart Plein, managing director of the�National Digital Newspaper Program project.�”Among these are Civil War camp newspapers, labor papers�with a focus�on coal, the�first African-American newspaper�in the state, and the state’s only Italian-language newspaper.”

So far, the WVRHC�has�made available�a�total of�15 historic West Virginia newspapers. Readers and researchers, historians and genealogists will have full access to these historic newspapers on the Library of Congress site, Chronicling America.�The following newspapers are currently available on Chronicling America:�

  • Cooper’s Clarksburg Register, Clarksburg (1851-1861);�
  • Spirit of Jefferson, Charles Town (1844-1899);�
  • Star of the Kanawha Valley, Buffalo (1855-1856), later renamed�Kanawha Valley Star, Charleston (1856-1861);�
  • Monongalia Mirror�(1849-1855) and�American Union�(1855-1859), both Morgantown;�
  • The Weekly Register, Point Pleasant (1862-1909);�
  • The Democrat�(1868-1874) and�the Weston Democrat�(1875-1902), both Weston.�
  • American Union�1863 (Union) Martinsburg�
  • Labor Argus�1906 May – April 1913 (Socialist party)�Charleston�
  • Fairmont West Virginian�1904 Apr – 1922 (Republican) Fairmont�
  • Daily Intelligencer, Nov. 12, 1859-June 24, 1865; Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, August 24, 1852-Nov. 11, 1859; and the The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, June 26, 1865-Dec. 31, 1898.

    The following five newspapers will be added to Chronicling America this year:�
  • Clarksburg Telegram�1892 – 1912 (Republican) Clarksburg�
  • Daily Telegram�1902 – 1922 Clarksburg�
  • Socialist and Labor Star�1913 May – 1915 Jan (Socialist)�Huntington�
  • Pioneer Press�1884/1888 – 1911/1917 (African American) Martinsburg�
  • La Sentinella del West Virginia�1911 Feb – 1912 May�Thomas�(Italian language)�

WVU’s�300,000-page contribution�to the national newspaper project presents�both sides of the Civil War conflict. Although most of western Virginia remained loyal to the Union,�Cooper’s Clarksburg Register�and the�Kanawha Valley Star�opposed abolition�and the separation of Virginia’s�western counties to form a new state.�

Researchers�also�have immediate�access to reporting on the growing antebellum conflict between eastern and western Virginia, John Brown’s Raid, West Virginia’s statehood movement and establishment, West Virginia’s�Constitution of 1872, Reconstruction, and the United States’ Centennial.



CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator, WVU Libraries

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