HomeState NewsAdditional historical Montana newspapers are now available online for free thanks to...

Additional historical Montana newspapers are now available online for free thanks to National Digital Newspaper Program

Helena, Montana – Two initiatives are underway to digitize newspapers in Montana, greatly increasing the public’s ability to view them. These newspapers, often sought after at the Montana Historical Society, will now be more accessible.

Over 100,000 pages of these newspapers, particularly from areas close to Montana’s reservations, are being made available on the internet without charge through the National Digital Newspaper Program.

The Montana Historical Society has been awarded this type of grant for the fifth time. This grant is part of a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, focusing on making old American newspapers easier to access.

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“The project we just completed includes newspapers from Browning, Harlem, Hot Springs, and Poplar, marking the first time that papers from these towns are accessible and searchable online,” noted Library Manager Dan Karalus, who headed the project.

Over 400,000 pages of Montana newspapers from various NDNP projects can be found on the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website at www.loc.gov/collections/chronicling-america/.

Additionally, a collaboration with Newspapers.com has led to the digitization of over 5,000 microfilm reels from more than 200 cities and towns in Montana.

Montana Historical Society now offers a free online Public Access Portal

The Montana Historical Society now offers a free online Public Access Portal. This portal allows users to search through nearly 2.5 million pages of historical Montana newspapers. It includes materials from the former Montana Newspapers website, most of the content from Chronicling America, and some newly digitized public domain newspapers.

This new portal will replace the Montana Newspapers website, which is set to be discontinued in early 2024, resulting in considerable cost savings. To use this portal, visit mths.mt.gov/Research/collections/newspapers/mtnews and click on the Newspapers.com Public Access Portal link.

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Once the Montana Historical Society (MTHS) opens its doors again, visitors to the Library & Archives will get free access to an impressive collection of over 12 million newspaper pages and upwards of 650 different titles. This is possible through the Newspapers.com Onsite Portal, which can be used onsite in the Reference Room. Among the newspapers available are rare finds like the Flaxville Democrat, which only published three issues in 1920, and long-standing publications like The Madisonian from Virginia City, boasting 150 years of digitized content.

Montana Historical Society provides online access to newspapers from every county in Montana

Currently, the MTHS is capable of providing online access to newspapers from every county in Montana.

“This is huge,” Karalus said. “Researchers used to visit us and spend hours scrolling through microfilm. But when we reopen in 2025, they can come here and just do a keyword search.”

Karalus adds that this improves access and preservation, as the microfilm collection will see less use. “We will still have to use microfilm for some more recent papers under copyright, but we probably won’t hear the microfilm readers rewinding as often,” he said.

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Under the agreement between the Montana Historical Society (MTHS) and Newspapers.com, the company handled the digitization in return for the right to access these digital copies for three years. Once this period ends, the digitized newspapers that are in the public domain will move to the Public Access Portal. Then, they will be accessible online from any location.

Individuals with research questions may submit a research request via the MTHS website mhs.mt.gov/Research/ResearchRequests or by e-mail to [email protected].

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