Newspaper Collection

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Electric Farming

Agriculture is—and always has been—a major part of Missouri life while electricity has become essential to Missouri homes and farms. But have modern farmers ever wondered if zapping their crops with electric volts would improve their harvest? Some early Missouri farmers did, and their curiosity led to a practice known as "Electric Farming."

While not as common today, "Electric Farming" appeared to be gaining steam in the early twentieth century. According to an article written by Robert H. Moulton of the Kansas City Sun, an increasing number of farmers were discovering the benefit of applying electrical charges to their fields, which they believed would produce a better yield of vegetables as well as help stabilize drinking water for livestock. In describing how future farmers would also have to be electrical engineers, Moulton wrote that they "will have to not only know the use of violet rays in drinking water, but will also have to know whether ground wires are better for beets, ruby lights for radishes, mercury vapor for tobacco, and electric sprinkling for something else."

This same style of agriculture was also mentioned in the November 3, 1912, edition of the New York Sun ("Electric Farming: The Next Great Advance") and the September 15, 1904, edition
of the Mexico Missouri Message ("Electric Aids in Farming"). In the latter, the author states, "…like an engine driver, regulating the supply of energy in the form of electric current according to certain determined rules, the agriculturist will take his place with the other large users of electricity under modern conditions."

Issues of the Kansas City Sun from 1914-1920 and the Mexico Missouri Message from 1899-1918 are available online through the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project.

posted @ 6:37 AM

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Friday, November 30, 2012

EXTRA! EXTRA! NHD and Chronicling America

National History Day (NHD) is pleased to announce a new Special Prize, the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers Prize! Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), this prize will be awarded at the national contest to an outstanding entry in any NHD category—both junior and senior divisions—that utilizes Chronicling America. NEH will award one cash prize of $1,000 in each of the two divisions. Additionally, every entry using Chronicling America will receive acknowledgement. Learn more about National History Day and this special prize.

The digitized newspapers in Chronicling America are keyword searchable and freely available to the public. Produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a long-term partnership between NEH and the Library of Congress, Chronicling America currently offers over 5 million pages—published between 1836 and 1922—in its growing collection.

posted @ 6:02 AM

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chronicling America Posts 5 Millionth Page

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress have announced a new milestone for Chronicling America: posting its 5 millionth page!

According to the press release, the site now includes more than 800 newspapers from 25 states.

Explore Chronicling America today!

posted @ 8:30 AM

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Mark Twain, newspaper man

One of Missouri's most famous writers—Mark Twain—is well-known for his novels and short stories, but this celebrated author, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, actually started work as a newspaper man.

In 1851, he became a typesetter and editorial assistant at the Hannibal Western Union, his brother Orion's newspaper, where he published his first known sketch, "A Gallant Fireman." Clemens continued to punctuate the paper (and its succeeding titles) with his pieces, including:

"A Family Muss"
Hannibal Journal, September 9, 1852


"Connubial Bliss"
Hannibal Journal, November 4, 1852
Read more about this Historic Missourian's experience as a journalist and as a riverboat pilot during the years he was becoming Mark Twain.

Twain's most famous work—which can be found both in classrooms and the banned book list—is, of course, Huckleberry Finn.

Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, March 17, 1885

From its initial publication, the novel inspired both admiration and controversy, and Huck is still found on the Top Ten Censored Books list while Twain continues to generate lively conversation.

posted @ 10:36 AM

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SHSMO receives $200,000 for third NDNP award

The State Historical Society of Missouri has been awarded a third National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant! The NDNP is a joint program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

With this continuing award (2012-2014), the Society will receive $200,000 to digitize an additional 100,000 pages of historic Missouri newspapers published 1836-1922. Title selection will focus on the Ozark and Upper Plains geographic regions which will complement previous projects’ focus on the development and history of Missouri in the metropolitan and river regions.

The Society is also planning to consider German-language newspapers which can now be supported by the program.

The digitized newspapers—freely available and keyword-searchable—will be online in 2014 through the Society’s growing Missouri Digital Newspaper Project which was launched in February 2012 and currently provides access to 300,000 newspaper pages. Researchers can explore the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project holdings by title or county map.

The newspapers digitized through this grant will also be available via Chronicling America which currently hosts over 4 million newspaper pages from NDNP projects in its expanding collection.

The Society’s Assistant Director, Gerald Hirsch, will again serve as project director for Missouri’s NDNP, and Patricia Luebbert will return as grant administrator.

posted @ 7:23 AM

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Deeper than the Skin: 1902 and 2012

With the summer season upon us, the usual pressure is on to look youthful, be healthier, and achieve a fitter form. However, some people may not be reaching for the usual toners, serums, and creams to achieve their summer glow.

On December 14, 2011, the New York Times featured an article about "a new beauty product that you don't massage, smooth or brush onto your face. You eat it."

Many new bars, chews, drinks, etc. have hit the market, and Skin Deep: Beauty by the Bite explores these products—and the public reaction to them. Although some people are shaking their heads about these new trends, "consumers seeking sophisticated ways to turn back the clock" is nothing new.

Dive into the August 24, 1902 issue of the St. Louis Republic to read tips and trends from over 100 years ago!

St. Louis Republic, August 24, 1902

The Republic invites ladies to "rub out the wrinkles, exercise a little, have the hair groomed, take a simple nightcap, and sink into a repose from which you wake up prettier than you were the day before."

From drinking hot milk or apple tea, to engaging in neck-twisting exercises, to drawing a rose vinegar bath, the article proclaims that "Beauty may be only skin deep, but you have to go deeper than the skin to preserve it."

posted @ 6:31 AM

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Destruction of Presses

While the French—and Francophiles round the globe—will be celebrating Bastille Day on July 14 with toasts and fireworks and the military parade on the Champs-Elysées, we are also remembering le quatorze juillet as a day of conflict in California, Missouri.

Seventy-two years after the Bastille, it was a press—not a prison—that was stormed.

In the July 20, 1861 issue of the Weekly California News, editor C.P. Anderson chronicled the "Destruction of our Office by a Mob." He reported that on July 14, 1861, "some 200 United States troops...threw our office into a complete wreck, scattering our type in masses all over the floor...and finally took off with them several important parts of the machinery of our press."

Weekly California News, July 20, 1861

However, Anderson's press was only one of many casualties during the Civil War. Many presses were suppressed or destroyed.

As noted the following year, in the July 18, 1862 issue of the Charleston Courier, editor George Whitcomb wrote that the "paper was suspended last winter, in consequence of the occupation of this place by Government troops. The office was broken into and much of the type and material destroyed or carried away."

Charleston Courier, July 18, 1862

posted @ 12:17 PM

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Friday, June 15, 2012

State Historical Society of Missouri awarded Civil War newspapers digitization grant

The State Historical Society of Missouri has been awarded a Digital Imaging grant to digitize several Civil War era (1854-1876) Missouri newspapers. The forthcoming digital collections will complement over thirty previously digitized titles, including urban St. Louis and Kansas City newspapers, from the Civil War period.

Through this Missouri Civil War Newspaper Digitization Project, the SHSMO will expand its services for learning and research. Digitization will allow the newspapers to be viewed online and will serve a much larger user community through easily accessed media. The grant period begins July 16, 2012, and the newspapers will be available electronically in 2013.

All newspapers digitized through the grant will be freely available and keyword-searchable within the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project and highlighted on the SHSMO American Civil War in Missouri website which currently features over 120,000 newspaper pages and 10,000 manuscript pages.

This project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Civil War Workshop!

The State Historical Society of Missouri presents:

Columnist Rudi Keller will speak about the resources he turns to time and again for accurate information in a hurry.

Dr. Joan Stack will share with you how to draw important conclusions from historical records such as patriotic envelopes, printed currency, and illustrated newspapers.

Reference Specialist Amy Waters will show you how to use government records to determine the part your ancestors played in this national conflict.

Saturday, June 16, 2012
9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia Research Center
Reserve your spot by June 14 at 573-882-7083
$15 members/$25 nonmembers

posted @ 7:43 AM

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012


During the Civil War sesquicentennial, scholars and students have brought a renewed interest to the activities of those who were under-represented in early war histories, especially African Americans and women.

Women held both open and covert positions during the war, serving as nurses, soldiers, and spies.

Our fascination for these spies was evident in 1867:

Missouri Weekly Patriot, September 12, 1867

...and has not diminished.

On May 9, 2011, Smithsonian featured an article on Women Spies of the Civil War which highlights six women "who risked their lives in daring and unexpected ways."

Read the remainder of "Female Federal Spies," and explore the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project to find additional newspaper accounts of undercover agents.

posted @ 7:13 AM

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