Newspapers in History, Making History

Newspapers in History, Making History

Alligator StaffThe University of Florida supports the Florida Digital Newspaper Library and the Caribbean Newspaper Imaging Project. By preserving and digitizing the news of the past, these projects make the news new again.

The Caribbean Newspaper Imaging Project includes papers like Haiti’s Le Nouvelliste, with issues from 1899 – 1902 now online. While the early issues online are imperfect (because of materials and processing with newspaper paper, microfilming, and then digitizing from microfilm) the pages are easily readable. If I could read Haitian Creole, or at least enough French to understand with savvy use of Google’s translator, I’d be able to read the December 30, 1899 Le Nouvelliste and learn how Port-au-Prince was handling the shift into 1900, or perhaps the December 31, 1900 issue would be more interesting because its news would be that of Haiti poised for the start of the Twentieth Century.

The news of the past show has history is made. On a much more localized scale, so too do the photographs of the news in the making. Many issues of the University of Florida’s Florida Alligator newspaper, which later became the Independent Florida Alligator, is included in the Florida Digital Newspaper Library, as are photographs from its early days.

One of the Florida Alligator issues online is from September 21, 1945 and it seems surprisingly mundane when scanned quickly. However, the first page includes two articles on the first page, one on General Van Fleet explaining that the human element he gained at the University of Florida was pivotal for his successes in World War II and the second on the University officially going co-ed, after “Legislature broke down and played ‘Lady Bountiful’ by saying veterans’ wives could come, provided their husbands were here first.” Bits of history are told in these pages, just as they are in photograph above. The University of Florida Digital Newspaper Library has digitized issues from 1945 – 1948, and others await along with additional titles and issues intended for the Florida Digital Newspaper Library and the Caribbean Newspaper Imaging Project.