Through the assistance of the Boston Public Library Fund, Boston Public Library (BPL) was recently awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to join the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a long-running effort coordinated by the Library of Congress to build and maintain a free online digital library of historical newspapers from all U.S. states and territories.
Over the next two years, BPL’s Digital Services staff will work with scholars and experts to identify significant newspapers from the Library’s extensive microfilm and print archives for inclusion in this national collection, which will then be digitized and made available via Chronicling America, providing full-text searching and display of over 18 million pages from over 6,000 newspaper titles published from 1777 to 1963. Massachusetts has one of America’s oldest and deepest traditions of newspaper circulation, and the city of Boston can legitimately claim to be the birthplace of American journalism as the home of the country’s first newspaper.
The addition of these historic newspapers to the NDNP program — many of which will become freely accessible online for the first time – will no doubt provide a significant benefit for historians, scholars, students, and the public.
NEH selected BPL’s Program as part of its special initiative, “A More Perfect Union,” to help commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026 by exploring, reflecting on, or telling the stories of creating a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society.