Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Newspapers were published weekly throughout this period. The first semi-weekly to appear was the Times & Hartford advertiser in 1825. Daily newspaper publication began in 1832 with the Daily herald (New Haven, Conn.: 1832) and the New England daily review began publication in Hartford the following year. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Connecticut had eight dailies, twenty-eight weeklies, and four semi- weekly or other frequencies. As the country's centennial approached in 1875, 78 newspapers were being published in the state, including 17 dailies and 51 weeklies.
The first recorded ethnic newspaper published in the state was a German paper called the Hartforder Zeitung (1858). In all, 29 German newspapers were published during the last half of the 19th century; however, by 1900, only eight were still in operation. Just as many Italian newspapers have been published in Connecticut, but most started production after 1900 and ceased publication by the end of World War II. The Hartford herald (1918) is the earliest African American newspaper recorded, but no issues have been found. Newspapers for African Americans proliferated in the 1970s and this continues to the present. Other ethnic groups contributed to the rich history of newspaper publishing in Connecticut.
Newspaper publishing reached its peak around the turn of the century when 102 different titles were being produced. In 1900, the larger cities had three or four dailies each; New Haven had three morning and three evening papers. During the 20th century, the number of daily newspapers published dwindled from 42 dailies in 1900 to the 18 that exist today. Now only one daily newspaper is published in each of Connecticut's largest cities.
In contrast, the number of weekly (and other frequency) publications fluctuated from 60 in 1900, dipping briefly during the World War II era, and rising to 134 by 1997. A major difference is that conglomerates now publish many of Connecticut's newspapers. Sixteen companies within the state publish a combined total of 69 newspapers; the Journal Register Co. owns five of these companies and publishes 28 newspapers. Often these titles share managerial and advertising staff and publish a combined section of ads and regional news, as well as a section of local news.
Highlight: Interesting And Unique Information In Newspapers
Notes from one issue of the Norwich bulletin illustrate the interest and importance of our old newspapers. The March 12, 1901 issue contains not only international, national and statewide news, but also such local items as: a severe storm washed out the streets and the railway tracks in Norwich, schools in Putnam were closed due to the storm, the new bridge opened for traffic in Fitchville, a turkey supper at the Methodist Episcopal church at Uncasville raised $39, shortstop "Hobe" Ferris is leaving Norwich for the American League team in Boston, Dr. G.R. Harris will sue the town of Preston because of an accident that occurred due to poor roads, and the Rock Nook Children's Home acknowledges donations of groceries, clothing, and books.
For more information on newspaper publishing in Connecticut, the following sources can be consulted: "Newspapers and Periodicals of Connecticut" by Charles Hopkins Clark and Everett G. Hill, published in History of Connecticut in monographic form (New York: States History Co., 1925), and Connecticut newspapers in the Eighteenth Century by Jarvis Means Morse (New Haven, Published for the Tercentenary Commission by Yale University Press, 1935)
Cataloging And Union Listing Phase
GOALS (from plan of work, July 1991-June 1994)
Goal 1: Catalog and union list up to 5,000 titles and 8,3145 holdings.
Goal 2: Create and distribute paper union list of newspaper holdings.
Goal 3: Publicize project through brochures, list of missing titles, press releases, and exhibits at the library association conference.
GOALS (from plan of work, July 1994-June 1996)
Goal 1: Complete the cataloging and inventory fieldwork by August 1994 (12 sites with 536 holdings).
Goal 2: Catalog and inventory at Yale University (2,710 titles) from September 1994-June 1996.
Goal 3: Contact organizations that did not respond to the original survey with a special emphasis on ethnic organizations. Catalog and inventory their collections.
Goal 4: Develop procedures, establish a multi-vendor contract, hire and train staff, gather, prepare and film 60,000 pages of newspapers. Inspect the completed film.
All of the goals of the cataloging phase were completed. Only one goal was completed without a truly satisfactory outcome. To meet Goal 3 a database of names and addresses of 148 ethnic and minority organizations was created. To publicize the project in communities that might otherwise be missed, a survey and letter urged that collections held by the organization be reported and asked for information leading to other organizations or individuals that held ethnic or minority newspapers. Although several who responded reported known collections, disappointingly, no new collections were reported.
To prepare for the Cataloging and Union Listing Phase, the Planning Phase of the Connecticut Newspaper Project was conducted from July 1988-November 1989. A survey drew responses from 216 repositories with 1,678 Connecticut titles and 3,147 out-of-state titles. It was expected that 8,139 holdings statements would be created. Based on this information the cataloging phase was planned to run from October 1991-June 1994.
The holdings of the State Library were the first to be cataloged and inventoried, followed by the collections of the Connecticut Historical Society. These represent the two largest collections of Connecticut titles. Then 118 other institutions were visited and the remaining institutions were called to confirm their holdings. Institutions that warranted visits included those with more than 25 newspaper holdings and with holdings of the earliest issues of Connecticut titles. Since Connecticut is a relatively small state most fieldwork was conducted as day trips using a State vehicle.
But many institutions had not reported all their holdings and more time was needed to complete the work. Even with a thorough survey of the State Library holdings during the Planning Phase, 22% more titles were discovered during the cataloging and inventorying. Work at other institutions resulted in an average 108% increase in the number of holdings. This was due to several factors: current subscriptions were not included in the original database, institutions had added to their holdings since the survey was conducted, and some institutions had only reported their long runs or frequently used newspapers despite the planning survey's specific request to include newspapers held in local history collections or similar special collections. The cataloging phase was continued to June 1996.The total number of repositories rose to 279, cataloged Connecticut titles numbered 1,851, out-of-state titles grew to 5,300 and holdings increased to 14,876.
It makes sense to catalog all parts of a newspaper family together. Not only do newspapers often change their names but they also have related editions with a similar or the same title. Often these editions are interfiled or confused with other titles in the same family. One of the catalogers was a genealogist and from her we were inspired to chart the relationships between newspapers, rather like a family tree. This graphical representation of the relationships was especially helpful during our fieldwork. It made it easier to see which was the correct bibliographic record for an issue and allowed the inventory process to move faster. The charts were included in the printed Newspapers in Connecticut Institutions and a sample is in the appendices.
Highlight: Long And Complex History Of Newspapers
The Norwich bulletin has served Norwich and surrounding communities for over a century. The Norwich morning bulletin was first published on Dec. 15, 1858. The Bulletin merged with its rival, the Norwich courier, in 1860 and readers were served by the daily Bulletin and weekly Courier until Oct. 31, 1930. At that time the weekly was discontinued. Simultaneously the publisher had been issuing another daily newspaper, the Norwich evening record. The two daily newspapers were issued through out the first half of the 20th century, and subscribers of both newspapers received the same Sunday newspaper. The daily Record was discontinued in 1950, but the Sunday issue of the Bulletin was called the Norwich Sunday record until 1957 and the Norwich bulletin record until 1981.
The goals listed in earlier plans of work for the microfilming phase differ, for the most part, only in the details of the number of pages to be filmed. The plan of work for 1996-1998 mentioned a multi-vendor contract for the microfilming but this was abandoned as too difficult to accomplish within the state purchasing procedures. A contract went out to bid and was signed with a single vendor for each round of the microfilming phase.
All the work described in goal 1 (gather, prepare, film and inspect) has been completed. To accomplish this, CNP borrowed newspapers from 92 institutions in 11 states, thus also meeting goal 2 (cooperate with others). In addition, the State Library loaned its newspapers and shared microfilm specifications with other institutions to ensure filming of still more Connecticut newspapers. Articles in the State Library and Connecticut Library Association (CLA) newsletters and local newspapers, attendance at the CLA annual conference and information on the project internet site and State Library History and Genealogy Unit site combined to meet goal 3 (publicity). Examples are given in the appendices. Local institutions were counseled about the storage conditions for their master negatives, meeting goal 4, and three (Guilford Free Library, North Haven Memorial Library and Windsor Locks Historical Society), deposited their masters in the State Library vault, which meets the national standards for storage of master negative microfilm.
Goal 5 is not quite complete at this time. Some original holdings statements were deleted as holdings were transferred to other institutions and many were added to show the acquisition of the new microfilm. Updates to OCLC and the project database are still needed for the last group of newspapers to be microfilmed. State Library staff will complete this work in the next month. It is estimated that records in OCLC will rise to 16,267 holdings for 7,161 titles.