The State Historical Society of Missouri received the Excellence in Genealogy & Local History Award at the Missouri Library Association Annual Conference held Oct. 4-6 in Columbia. The award recognizes the State Historical Society’s efforts to provide free public access to more than 9.5 million pages of digitized online Missouri newspapers.
“The Missouri Digital Newspaper Project allows patrons to search online rather than doing more tedious research on microfilm. It saves a great deal of time,” according to Patsy Luebbert, who manages the project for the State Historical Society. Luebbert said the collection helps researchers learn more about the day-to-day lives of Missourians and the political, cultural, and economic events that have influenced Missouri small towns and its largest cities.
Missouri was one of the first states to begin digitizing historic newspapers through Chronicling America, a joint project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. Since 2008, SHSMO has been digitizing newspapers from every Missouri county, and the Society continues to make millions of additional pages available online.
The State Historical Society of Missouri provides the public with access to the largest collection of Missouri newspapers. The collection and preservation of Missouri newspapers has been one of the State Historical Society’s primary missions since its founding in 1898. Today SHSMO is nearing 60,000 reels of microfilmed newspapers, and its collection ranges from the first newspaper printed west of the Mississippi in 1808 to over 240 active titles.
Support from the Missouri State Library’s LSTA grants and other donations to the project allowed SHSMO to continue to build a word searchable online resource. Due to increased demand for additional titles, SHSMO entered into an agreement with Newspapers.com to digitize eligible newspapers and improve access for researchers, whether they are working on genealogy, local history, or scholarly material.