Finding that Needle in the Haystack: The Power of Full Text Searching in Chronicling America

Imagine scrolling through the microfilm reels, at your local library, hoping to uncover that one small mention on your research topic: a name, an event, a place. Perhaps, discovering that one piece of information takes hours, days, or more…Now, imagine, going to your home computer, visiting Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, and plugging your search term and Bam! there are dozens if not hundreds of articles on the topic with which you are interested. Chronicling America can save hours of research time, with the help of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software which scans the digitized newspapers and makes those millions of words on historical newspaper pages leap forth with full text searching capability.

Here are a few searches with which our friends and colleagues have asked us for help, lately. I thought I’d share them with you, as they are all great examples that demonstrate the power of full text searching in Chronicling America.

 Searching for Information for an Archaeological Site Find

We found lots of information on a bottle which was found in an archaeological context in Louisiana

An archaeologist I know recently sent me a text message with an attached photo he had taken in the field. He wrote: “Here’s a challenge for your newspaper project. I found this bottle today while surveying in Louisiana and want to find out more about it. It says ‘Pa-poose Root Beer Extract. Made in New Orleans.‘ Do you think you can find anything about it for me in Chronicling America?”

I tried a simple search in Chronicling America for the brand name of the bottle he provided. I tried searching All States and entered “Papoose Root Beer” into the search box on the home page. Eureka! I came up with 141 results between 1906 and 1922 (remember 1922 is our cut off date).

Here’s the earliest advertisement of this product that I found, in the Palestine daily herald. (Palestine, Tex. 1902-1949), April 20, 1906.

And the latest…The herald. (New Orleans, La. 1905-1953), September 28, 1922.                                                                                          

Papoose Root Beer Extract advertisement, published in The herald (New Orleans, L.A.) circa 1922.

 These ads tell a great deal about this artifact: the inventor’s name, the general dates of manufacture (1889 until at least 1922), where it was manufactured and places it was bottled, its intended purpose as “a delicious beverage and Blood Purifier” and much more.  The 1922 advertisement even provides an image of the product packaging, a detail not often found in an archeological context. My archaeologist friend replied “Thanks! This is totally awesome! I was even able to download the pictures to my phone so I can share this with others.” As you can see, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers will be a powerful research tool for historical archaeologists who wish to conduct research on artifacts that they uncover!

Sifting Through Search Results to Find that Needle in a Haystack

The circa 1951 replica of the SC Sword of State

A colleague at one of the special collections libraries here at the University of South Carolina recently asked us at SCDNP for assistance in using Chronicling America. A SC state government employee had contacted him seeking information on the physical description of the Sword of the State, a ceremonial sword carried into Statehouse Senate Chambers by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, which is laid at the rostrum while the Senate is in session. The original sword, crafted in the early 18th century in Charleston, S.C., was stolen in 1941 from the State House and remains at large to this day. Britain graciously gifted a replica in the 1950s which is used today.

This search wasn’t quite so easy as the bottle query. I tried searching “Sword of the State” limiting the search to “South Carolina” with few results. I kept playing around with the search terms, entering them into the various search boxes available in Advanced Search. You can perform Advanced Searches using the With Any of These Words, With All These Words, With the Phrase, and the Within 5 Words of Each Other (or 10, 50, etc.) search boxes. I retrieved the best results searching “sword of state” within 5 words of each other and limiting the search to South Carolina newspapers only.

Circa 1902 article in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.) mentions the original sword of state scabbard was monogrammed with a "W.M."

After sifting through many articles that were retrieved but which were not relevant to the task at hand, I found a mention in an article noting a physical characteristic of the sword of state. This article, published in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), notes that the Sword of State was on display at an Exposition in 1902 and had an accompanying scabbard with a curiously monogrammed “W.M.” on it! Another article mentioned that the sword of state was double edged. Perhaps one day small clues like these will aid in the identification and return of South Carolina’s original Sword of State!

                                                                                                                                           Finding historical primary source materials on African-Americans

South Carolinian, Kelly Miller, was the first African-American student admitted to John Hopkins University and later became the Dean of Mathematics at Howard University

On another occasion, a colleague here at the University of South Carolina remarked that he was having little luck searching for information in traditional resources on Kelly Miller. Kelly Miller, a native South Carolinian,  was the first African-American student admitted to Johns Hopkins University and who later became the Dean of Mathematics at Howard University. So, I thought this might be another opportunity to flex Chronicling America’s searching muscles and see if we could find good results. Again, remarkably, there was a tremendous list of primary source historical newspaper articles to be read in Chronicling America! I performed a simple search for “Kelly Miller” and searched All States. While it appears that neither white nor African-American historical SC newspapers reported on Dr. Miller, he was a leading figure in America in the early 20th century on issues of race and African-American advancement. A contemporary of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois, Dr. Miller was covered in hundreds of articles in newspapers digitized in Chronicling America.

Got a research question? Maybe we can help you find what you are looking for in Chronicling America. Comment here and let us know!

To learn more about the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, visit us at

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South Carolina State House Under Construction:1854-1907

The South Carolina State House, as it looks today

Did you know that it took 53 years (1854- 1907) and six different architects to complete the construction of the South Carolina State House? That originally a square tower, rather than a dome, was to top the statehouse? Or, that granite was quarried from the nearby Congaree River to build it? All these details and more can be found by searching “South Carolina State House” in Chronicling America and historical South Carolina newspapers.

Architect John R. Niernsee's design of the State House, circa 1862. Note the square tower rather than the dome that tops the statehouse today.

In 1854, Governor John L. Manning and the South Carolina General Assembly advanced plans to construct a grand new state house adjacent to the older ca. 1790 state capitol, under the guidance of John R. Niernsee, an Austrian-born architect well known for his work as chief engineer on the B & O Railroad. Niernsee’s original design planned to have a square tower ornamenting the state house, as you can see in this circa 1862 illustration above. Although an 1857 article in The Vermont Phoenix stated that it would be made of “pure white marble,” much of the structure was built with locally quarried granite, including the 43 foot tall and 37 ton monolithic (cut from a single piece of stone) Corinthian columns on the south and north porticoes. From 1854 until 1860, great progress in the construction of the new statehouse took place. One article notes that “in anticipation of the approaching great conflict the work was feverishly pushed until the war stopped it.” During the war, Niernsee served in the Confederate Army and was away from Columbia. By 1861, it was claimed that two million dollars had been expended thus far on the unfinished structure with no roof.

SC State House as it looked in 1865

In February 1865, Sherman and the Union Army occupied Columbia. The unfinished state house “presented a very conspicuous mark to the enemy’s cannon on Lexing heights” from their position across the river. Several shells entered the bare window openings and five struck the building.” Cannon fire damaged sills, walls, and columns on the west and north facades and, rather than be repaired, they were marked with bronze stars that can be viewed today.

Read this article in the Columbia Phoenix, April 11, 1865.

An April 1865 article in the Columbia Phoenix describes the damage further wrought to the state house by occupying soldiers, such as defacing the walls with their signatures, regiments, and “appropriately foul comments.” Curiously, the bronze statue of George Washington, which stands at the front steps of the capitol today, was the target of rocks, brick bats and sharp shooters. Washington’s cane remains broken to this day. The state library, Niernsee’s personal archive of 25 years work, and $700,000 worth of raw marble and granite were destroyed when the state house was set ablaze. Bells from St. Michael’s Church brought up from Charleston, for safe keeping at the capitol, were also damaged. You can read more about the mayhem that ensued in the city in a series of articles titled “The Capture, Sack, and Destruction of the City of Columbia” published in the Columbia Phoenix.

Circa 1867 article in The Charleston Daily News described the condition of the State House.

In 1865, a mine was prepared underneath the state house by Sherman’s men intended to destroy it completely! As they passed out of the city, Sherman ordered the blasting powder to be removed declaring it “a useless waste of ammunition” and that he, Sherman, “would leave the people [of South Carolina] so d—d poor that they would never complete it.” An 1867 article in The Charleston Daily News describes the status of the state house two years later. “It will be many long years before the Treasury of the State can afford to appropriate enough money to complete it in the style originally intended. All the wrath of Sherman’s burners was inflicted on the unoffending pile.”

A circa 1895 image of the State House before the dome and steps were added.

Governor Wade Hampton III had a temporary roof added to the state house in 1876 and funded work to landscape the grounds of the capitol. In 1888, Niernsee was rehired to finish his work on the State House but, unfortunately, he passed away just six months later. His business partner James C. Nielson continued Niernsee’s work from 1885-1888, and was later replaced by Niernsee’s son, Frank M. Niernsee, from 1888-1891. Plumbing and electricity were installed during Frank Niernsee’s work phase, as well as fireproof features such as cast iron railing, marble floors, and pressed metal ceilings. Niernsee did not complete the state house due to the small amount of appropriations set aside in 1891. From 1900 to 1903, Frank P. Milburn resumed work on the statehouse, replacing the roof, adding the dome, and finishing the immense stair cases on the north and south porticoes. Charles C. Wilson completed the interior from 1903-1907. Later, concerns over misappropriation of funding during construction sparked debate.

Read this circa 1897 article in The Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.).

In 1897, a visitor to Columbia was told to “be sure and visit the State House” and she found it to be the “most imposing building and most interesting archive of history [which] like all people, bears its scars and hides its skeleton.”

Read this circa 1902 article in The Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson, S.C.)

When it was finally completed in 1907, the state of South Carolina had expended upwards of 3.5 million dollars in state funds. Fire, cannons, corruption, nor a dearth of funding did not deter South Carolina legislators from seeing to completion this imposing edifice that has witnessed and, indeed, endured so much of South Carolina’s history and its capitol city’s rich history.

To search for articles on South Carolina and the SC State House yourself, try these search terms: South Carolina state house, state house, statehouse, capitol, General Assembly, or by the various architects in charge of constructing the state house: P. H. Hammarskold (1851-1854), John R. Niernsee (1854-1865, 1883-1885), James C. Nielson (1885-1888), Frank M. Niernsee (1888-1891), Frank P. Milburn (1900-1903), and Charles C. Wilson (1903-1907).

To learn more about the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, visit our website at


1. The South Carolina State House as it Looks Today photograph, courtesy of

2. Architect John R. Niernsee’s design of the State House, circa 1862, courtesy of the South Carolina Digital Library and the SC State Museum Digital Collection.

3. SC State House as it looked in 1865, University Libraries, University of South Carolina Digital Collections, South Caroliniana Library, SC and the Civil War Collection.

4. The Columbia phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), April 11, 1865, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

5. The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, S.C.), January 7, 1867, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

6. A circa 1895 image of the State House before the dome and steps were added, courtesy of the South Carolina Digital Library and the SC State Museum Digital Collection.

7. The State’s Capitol One of the Most Historic Buildings in the South, The Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.)., August 4, 1897, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

8. Capitol of South Carolina: Facts About Building Now Nearing Completion, The Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson, S.C.), January 1, 1902, courtesy of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

9. South Carolina State House History, courtesy of website.

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Celebrating Hanukkah in Historical S.C. Newspapers

Illustration of Judas of Maccabee, one of the key figures in the Hanukkah story, in The Tacoma times (Tacoma, Washington).

There are several interesting articles in historical S.C. newspapers that describe the significance, and interesting history, of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. As you might know, S.C. has a long and proud Jewish heritage. Its first Jewish settlers immigrated to Charleston in the 1690s!

The Hebrew Feast of Lights, in The daily phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), December 9, 1874

To Celebrate Hanukkah, in The Laurens advertiser (Laurens, S.C.), December 27, 1905


The Feast of Lights in The Keowee courier (Walhalla, S.C.), December 21, 1921


How the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah are similar, in The daily phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), January 4, 1873

To search for yourself, try searching variations of the spelling of Hanukkah, like Hanukah or Chanukkah. Also try related items such as Feast of Lights or menorah. I limited my searches to historical S.C. newspapers, but you could try searching these terms by All States. To find more Jewish-related articles in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, try searching terms like  Jewish or Hebrew. Also, you may browse two historical Jewish newspapers digitized in Chronicling America, The Jewish South (Richmond, V.A.) and The Jewish Herald (Houston, T.X.). Happy Hanukkah One and All!

To learn more about the SC Digital Newspaper Project, visit us at

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This Kid’s Going Places! Strom Thurmond’s Childhood in Historical S.C. Newspapers

Senator Strom Thurmond. Courtesy of the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.

Strom Thurmond, the iconic South Carolina politician who lived to 100 years old and who died in 2003 shortly after retiring as United States Senator, was born 109 years ago today. A lot is known about Thurmond’s 75 years in S.C. politics and the head-line making details of his personal life but what is known about Strom Thurmond’s childhood in rural Edgefield County, S.C.? Content found about Strom Thurmond in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers has revealed some interesting insights into the makings of a politician.

A circa 1903 baby photograph of Strom Thurmond. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries.

While searching unsuccessfully for Strom Thurmond’s birth announcement in historical S.C. newspapers, I came across a preponderance of material on Strom Thurmond’s early life, beginning with his parent’s 1899 marriage and ending with his college days at Clemson College in 1922.  (Chronicling America does not digitize post-1922 materials due to copyright). Remarkably, Strom Thurmond’s life, which spanned the entire 20th century, was documented in newspapers from a very young age until his death at age 100 in 2003.

Strom's 7th Birthday Party in The Edgefield Advertiser, December 9, 1909

Strom’s entrance into public life began in a brief article in his hometown newspaper, The Edgefield Advertiser, which ran a short bit on his 7th birthday festivities. Being the son of a local solicitor and prominent Edgefield family, the Advertiser naturally reported on this social occasion, a “very gay and merry scene [of 50] light hearted little folks enjoying their halcyon days” and who joined in to help Strom celebrate in “very becoming style.”

Strom decided at the age of 10 that he would run for governor one day. In a 1978 interview, he said his two favorite things to do growing up were attending court sessions after school and attending campaign stump meetings with his father. The 1912 gubernatorial race, between incumbent Governor Cole Blease and Judge Ira B. Jones, made an indelible impression on young Strom. He recalled that “when Jones and Blease ran and I saw Blease castigate Jones unnecessarily without reason and degrade him, I made up my mind then I was going to run for governor some day” (Documenting the American South, 1978 oral history interview). This 1912 State Campaign meeting article in The Keowee courier gives one an idea of the tenor of the campaign between Blease and Jones.

Perhaps with these aspirations in mind, Strom was quite active in civic and church activities from an early age. At age 10, he participated in a local parade dressed as Little Boy Blue, and at 15, dressed as Uncle Sam he accompanied Lady Liberty in a parade to raise money for the Red Cross during World War I.

Strom portrayed Uncle Sam to raise money for the Red Cross during WWI

 During the Christmas of 1912, Strom and fellow children donated Christmas gifts to orphanage children rather than receive presents, as part of a Christmas tableau at the Baptist Church on the true meaning of Christmas. A couple of months later, in 1913, Strom was baptized with 30 other young people at a Baptist Revival, in an article titled a “Very Successful Revival.” At 14, he participated as a cast member in a Cantata on Prohibition at the local Opera House, in which the young people acted out a patriotic campaign against drinking. In 1919, Strom donated 5.00 dollars  to the Victory Boys and Girls Club to Aid in the war efforts of World War I.

Strom read an essay on The Dollar, The Edgefield Advertiser, February 16, 1916.

Even at a young age, Strom knew the value of hard work and a dollar. When he was 4 years old, his father moved the family to a farm in the country so that the Thurmond children could learn the value of hard work by being raised on a farm. Even though he received no allowance, Strom helped with chores like milking the cows and gathering the chickens on their self-sufficient farm. He also earned a little money by raising his own livestock. In a 1978 interview, Strom recalled when he was only 14, he and his brother purchased a small cotton crop from a neighbor who was leaving to fight in WWI. Realizing his brother was not likely to put a lot of sweat equity into the crop, Strom bought his brother out, too, and raised the cotton crop on his own, hoping to set some money aside.  He also worked in town clerking at stores and at a garage in the summers, and had several hundred hard-earned dollars saved when he left for college (Documenting the American South, 1978 oral history interview). With these experiences, he was well equipped to  read “a splendid selection entitled ‘The Dollar'” at the McDuffie Literary Society when he was only 13 years old.

Cadet Strom Thurmond at Clemson College, 1922. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries.

Throughout his education, Strom excelled with good grades and was involved in numerous school activities. He made the 4th Grade Honor Roll for Edgefield Graded Schools, at age 10, and continued to make the Honor Roll throughout his education. In 1916, Strom won the high school prize at a Spelling Bee sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Later that year, Strom sharpened his oratorical skills on the subject that a “man’s intellect is greater than woman’s” in a debate exercise at the McDuffie Literary Society, in which he nimbly argued in the negative.

After completing the 10th grade, Strom entered college at Clemson in 1919 and was placed on the Edgefield County Club Honor Roll at Clemson.

Strom named 1st Lieutenant of Senior Class at Clemson College in 1922

The last item in The Edgefield Advertiser that praises Strom Thurmond is a small piece during his senior year when he was “bestowed the honor of being commissioned a first lieutenant of the cadet corps” at Clemson.

As an adult, Thurmond gained his first elected position as Edgefield County Superintendent of Education in 1929 at the age of 27. He became a teacher, an attorney, a judge, fought in WWII, served as Governor of SC (1947-1951), ran unsuccessfully for President as a Dixiecrat (1948), and was one of the longest serving United States Senators in American history (1954-2003). One wonders if Strom Thurmond was born to be a politician given his heavy involvement in his community during his youth or whether Edgefield, known for producing an unusually high number of South Carolina’s governors and statesmen, fostered his desire to serve his community and, later, his state.

There are many more articles about Strom, his father William Thurmond, and his mother’s family the Stroms, in Chronicling America. To find more, search Strom Thurmond, Thurmond, or Strom narrowing your search to South Carolina papers only in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. As always, if you find a real gem of an article, we’d love to hear about it.

To learn more about the SC Digital Newspaper Project, visit us at


1. Senator Strom Thurmond. Photo courtesy of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress,

2. A circa 1903 baby photograph of Strom Thurmond. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries,

3. “Charming Little Host,” The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), December 9, 1909.

4. Strom portrayed Uncle Sam to raise money fro the Red Cross during WWI, The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), November 11, 1917.

5. “News Letter from Edgefield Schools,” The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), February 16, 1916.

6. Interview with Strom Thurmond, July 20, 1978. Interview A-0334. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Documenting the American South,

7. Cadet Strom Thurmond at Clemson College, 1922. Courtesy of Special Collections, Clemson University Libraries,

8. Strom named 1st Lieutenant of Senior Class at Clemson College in 1922, The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S.C.), September 13, 1922.

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5 Tips for Researching African-American History in Chronicling America

The types of newspaper articles found in historical African-American Newspapers in Chronicling America

Interested in researching African-American history in historical S.C. newspapers, and in other states, in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers? Within these newspapers, you can find primary source records of African-American lives, African-American owned businesses (owned by both men and women), education, achievements, social organizations, literary societies, religion, evidence of historical trends such as the Great Migration, and much more. These newspapers record historical issues on enslavement, prejudice, disenfranchisement, and crimes perpetrated against African-Americans, as well. Here are 5 tips that will assist you in uncovering the rich and varied details of African-American history waiting to be found in Chronicling America.


 1. Search with historically used terminology

Terminology referring to African-Americans has changed overtime. Try terms more common in the 19th c. and early 20th c. such as “negro,” “colored,” or “Afro-American.” If you are searching for pre-1865 materials, you might also try “slave,” “enslaved,” or “free persons of color” in your search.


2.Browse historical African-American Newspapers published in S.C.

SCDNP has digitized 10 historical African-American newspapers published in S.C. between 1860 and 1922, comprising about 100 separate newspaper issues. This list is a great place to start your research. You can browse and read newspapers in chronological order, as well as view descriptive details about each newspaper. You can access these newspapers by selecting this link, List of Historical African-American S.C. Newspapers in Chronicling America, or by clicking on the image below.

List of Historical African-American South Carolina Newspapers in Chronicling America


3. Browse historical African-American Newspapers published across America.

To date, 30 historical African-American newspapers from several states have been digitized and added to Chronicling America. There are more than 10,000 newspaper issues available in this list of African-American newspapers. States that have digitized African-American newspapers for this project are: Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. You can view the entire list by clicking on this List of All African-American Newspapers in Chronicling America (All States) or on the image below.

Click here to View the Complete List of Historical African-American Newspapers in Chronicling America


4. Get a perspective on South Carolina events by researching S.C. topics in African-American newspapers published outside South Carolina.

By searching South Carolina-related topics in African-American newspapers published outside of South Carolina, you can learn about how Americans perceived these issues differently than within the state of South Carolina. For instance, I performed an Advanced Search and selected to search an African-American newspaper, The broad ax (Salt Lake City, Utah), and searched the phrase “South Carolina.”

I performed an Advanced Search, selecting The broad ax (Salt Lake City, Utah) and searched "South Carolina."

I retrieved some very interesting results! This circa 1907 article depicts Senator Benjamin R. Tillman in a light that one would certainly see less frequently in South Carolina newspapers of that time.

Alternate view of South Carolina politician Ben Tillman in The broad ax (Salt Lake City, Utah)


5. Use the African-Americans in SC Topics page on our SCDNP LibGuide.

The SC Digital Newspaper Project has developed a subject guide, aka LibGuide, on historical S.C. newspapers to assist researchers in beginning their own research and to create interesting points of entry into the newspapers. You can visit the SCDNP LibGuide homepage here.

We also created S. C. History Topics pages, including topics on African-Americans, Education, Civil War, and Reconstruction, all of which have African-American related history to help you in your research. Below is a screen capture of part of the African-American Topics page.

Click on any of the Suggested Search Terms to view imbedded search results. You can also click on the Images, located along the right page, to read its related article.

View of African-American Topics Page in SC Digital Newspaper Program LibGuide


For more help on using Chronicling America, see one of our older posts on Helpful Tips on Researching Chronicling America. Best of luck in your research!

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Things that Go Bump in the Night: Ghost Tales Found in Historical S.C. Newspapers

Just had fun searching Halloween-related terms in our newspapers and came up with some fun ghost stories. Have a look.

Spectres, Disembodied Spirits, Apparitions, and Ghosts will be found in this compilation of Old World ghost tales, in The daily phoenix, January 13, 1869…

Click here to read this story "Ghosts Old and New" in The daily phoenix, January 13, 1869


An interesting Welsh ghost tale in the Keowee courier, May 21, 1869…

Click here to read the rest of this story in the Keowee courier, May 21, 1869


This fearsome ghost met his match in an English country parson, in the Keowee courier, September 10, 1913…

Click here to read the rest of this story "Ghost Laid Low by Rector" in the Keowee courier, September 10, 1913


Something a little closer to home. This story is about a young girl living near Iva and Starr in Anderson County, S.C. who conversed with a ghost visiting from Georgia, in The intelligencer, May 17, 1916…

Click here to read the rest of this story, in The intelligencer, May 17, 1916.

There are so many stories like these in our historical newspapers, I recommend that you try searching for yourself. I tried terms like “ghosts,” “ghost story,” “haunted house,” “spiritualism,” “seance,” “evil spirits,” “Halloween,” and “All Hallow’s Eve.”  I limited my searches to historical South Carolina newspapers, but a little searching in historical newspapers searched across All States in Chronicling America turned up these two frightening tales. See below…

Click here to read this story "Yolo County Ranchers Claim Evil Spirits Inhabit Girl's Body" in The San Francisco call, September 9, 1901


Click here to read "San Rafael's House of Mystery" in The San Francisco call, October 14, 1900

Let us know if you find a really scary one while doing searches on your own. We want to read ’em!

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Drum Roll, Please! All 103,352 historical S.C. newspaper pages now online!

All 103,352 newspaper images, and 19 historical S.C. newspapers have been approved and uploaded by the Library of Congress and are now available online in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers!

For the past two years, we here at the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program and University of South Carolina Libraries, have been diligently working to digitize several selected historical S.C. newspapers. This first grant phase is now complete with the ingestion of these last 30,000 images into the Library of Congress’ historical newspaper database, Chronicling America.

To see a list of the newspapers now available, visit our SCDNP LibGuide List of Newspapers page. You can view the list of newspapers by county, browse the earliest and latest newspaper issues for each paper, read More Info about each newspaper, and begin searching from this guide.

This subject guide is also a great way to see the types of cool things we have found in S.C. newspapers and can give you an idea of the types of interesting items you might find while doing your own searching. We have created several S.C. History Topics Guides, and a cool historical timeline/flipbook of great articles we have found for you in our newspapers.

Some new content that was added in the last ingest, includes 10 African-American historical newspapers published in South Carolina. These were:

The Afro-American citizen.
Charleston, S.C., 1899-1902

The Charleston advocate.
Charleston, S.C., 1867-1868

The free press.
Charleston, S.C., 1868-186?

Missionary record.
Charleston, S.C., 1868-1879

The South Carolina leader.
Charleston, S.C., 1865-18??

The Georgetown planet.
Georgetown, S.C., 1873-1875

The free citizen.
Orangeburg, S.C., 1874-1876

The people’s recorder.
Columbia, S.C., 1893-1925

The Southern indicator.
Columbia, S.C., 1903-1925

The Rock Hill messenger.
Rock Hill, S.C., 1896-1921

Also, new titles were added in this last ingest, including:

The Laurens advertiser.
Laurens, S.C., 1885-1973

The Marlboro democrat.
Bennettsville, S.C., 1882-1908

The Edgefield advertiser.
Edgefield, S.C., 1836-current

and more content was added for the:

Keowee courier.
Pickens Court House, S.C., 1849-current

In addition to S.C. newspapers available in Chronicling America, there are also an astonishing 4.1 million searchable historical newspaper images, from 581 newspaper titles across 25 states and the District of Columbia. So, remember that you can search historic newspaper content from states other than South Carolina.

We have just begun our second grant phase which will allow us to digitize 100,000 additional historical S.C. newspaper pages to this phenomenal program. To see the newspaper titles selected for the 2011-2013 phase, visit our SCDNP website. Stay tuned for more Program Updates to come!

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Breaking News! Historical South Carolina Newspapers Libguide Now Online

Hello South Carolina History Lovers!

We at SCDNP have created an Historical South Carolina Newspapers Libguide and it is now available online. This subject guide will help you find primary sources in the 103,000 pages of historical S.C. newspapers that we have digitized since 2009, and will help you get the most out of searching South Carolina newspapers in Chronicling America.

To visit the SCDNP LibGuide, click on the image below, or visit

A View of the SCDNP LibGuide Homepage

Be sure to check out the Historical Newspapers timeline (Powered by Dipity Open Source Software) in which you can view dozens of great images and article headlines and dive right into reading fascinating historical newspaper content.

You can view the historical timeline with the Flipbook (my favorite), by Timeline, by List, or by Map View. When viewing the Flipbook, you can move back and forth through the articles by clicking on the arrows on the left and right sides of the page. Read Details, to learn more about each article, and click on an Image or its Details link to access a Link to that article in Chronicling America.

An Historical S.C. Newspapers Timeline Powered by Dipity

Selecting to View in Dipity, allows you to send cool articles you see in the timeline to friends via several types of social media like Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg, and MySpace.

Select the S.C. History Topics tab to access several Topics Guides we have created to help you discover the types of great articles, images, and other content on a variety of South Carolina-related topics. We will continue to add topics to the Topics Guide. So far, there are topics guides on:

  • African-Americans
  • Civil War
  • Commerce & Industry
  • Education
  • Entertainment & Leisure
  • Reconstruction
  • Sumter County Community History

A View of the Commerce & Industry Topics Guide in the SCDNP LibGuide

You can also access an updated List of the Historical S.C. Newspaper Titles we have digitized as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program and Chronicling America, and Get Some Helpful Tips for Successful Searching Chronicling America.

There are plenty of Comment Buttons throughout the LibGuide. Please give us some feedback and let us know what you think! For more information on the project, visit our recently redesigned SCDNP website.

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Mama Don’t Dance and Your Daddy Don’t Rock N’ Roll

I happened across several amusing articles in Chronicling America, on the sins of dancing, in 19th century historical South Carolina newspapers. Interestingly, each of these articles was published in the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.), in upstate South Carolina over a 20 year span of time. These articles, many of which were written by clergymen who argue so adamantly against dancing, are indicative of the increasingly strict moral codes that took hold during the Victorian period. Take a look!

Click here to read this article in the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.), August 11, 1898

“Young people begin with what is least objectionable, and they go on, step by step, following the fashion, until modesty is shamed and virtue exposed…It is a shame, so I have heard, to speak of the things done in the more fashionable forms of the dance.” Reverend R. G. Porter in 1898

Click here to read this article in the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.), May 27, 1880

An 1880 article states “the mere act of dancing is nothing; there may be little or no harm in the old fashioned cotillion in a private house with reasonable hours; what [we] condemn is ‘lascivious dancing.'”

Click here to read this article in the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.), July 12, 1877

A Reverend W.W. Sanders lectured one evening in 1877 on the subject. He expounds that “the enjoyment of the dance grows out of the fact that the parties are male and female and there lies the danger…wicked thoughts and passions which have been aroused, though concealed, burn in the heart like a smothered fire.”

In response to Reverend Sanders’ evening lecture on the arguments against the practice of dancing (the above article), cooler heads prevail in an article published on the next page of that issue (the article below).

Click here to read this article in the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.), July 12, 1877

“There is during dancing a flow of soul and enjoyment which drives away impure thoughts…We do not say it is right, but we do not believe it is wrong.”

Click here to read this article in the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.), May 15, 1879

 A religious debate on dancing between a Dr. Adger and a Dr. Dabney takes place in this 1879 article. One feverishly remonstrates the reader with a lengthy list of sinful indulgences as “theatre going, card playing, novel reading…dinner parties, big suppers, fashionable dress and equipage, and the wearing of a gold watch, or diamond ring.” He continues, “no one systematically reads the average novelette of the day and keeps either integrity or virtue, and there are a million men and women in the United States reading themselves into hell.” But, he digresses…

Click here to read this article in the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.), September 7, 1882

Professor J.P. Welch, a dancing instructor, spoke earnestly on the subject in 1882. “I have no hesitation that I attribute much of the vice and immorality now prevailing to the insidious influence of the waltz. In the old time a gentleman merely touched a lady’s waist…now he throws his arm clear around her form, pulls her closely to him, as though fearful of losing her…and in a word hugs her. I have [even] seen kisses exchanged amid the whirl of the maddening waltz.”

I performed a search for dancing in our own South Carolina newspapers, and did not try to search the term “dancing” in “All States” in the Historic American Newspapers in Chronicling America. Try it yourself. It would be interesting to note where these strict codes of morality on dancing sprung up around the country during the Victorian period. Let us know if you find anything good!

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The colorful history of Glenn Springs, South Carolina, 19th century healing springs and summer resort

A circa 1895 ad for the Glenn Springs Hotel, The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.)

Passing through the hamlet of Glenn Springs in rural Spartanburg, S.C., today, few would suppose that this remote crossroads was once a thriving hotspot of the summer season in 19th century South Carolina. From 1825 when John B. Glenn opened an “inn for the traveling public” beside the healing sulphur springs, until the early decades of the 20th century, Glenn Springs was a popular and bustling summer playground for generations of affluent South Carolinians. In its heyday, clientele also came from as far afield as Maryland, Texas, Michigan, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

In 1838, the Glenn Springs Stock Company built a grand new hotel and spa, described as the “ideal spot for health or pleasure seekers.” Sparing no expense, the hotel was extravagantly decorated with the finest furnishings from New York and Philadelphia, landscaped gardens, a ballroom, the best chefs, and tables supplied with the best of everything!

A circa 1894 ad for Glenn Springs Hotel and Glenn Springs Mineral Water, in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), June 27, 1894

Many people came to Glenn Springs to partake of the healing spring waters. Glenn Springs Water claimed to cure an impressive list of maladies, such as “general debility, torpor of the liver, dyspepsia, liver complaints, female complaints, malarial diseases, jaundice, hemorroids, and rheumatism.”

Survivors of the Mexican War, “heroes of Monterey and Resaca de la Palma,” came in 1847 to recover from wounds and the hardships of war. During their stay, the soldiers were doted on by female visitors and “any civilian was thrown over mercilessly to give a dance to one of the Mexican Volunteers.”

In 1870, the Glenn Springs Hotel boasted private summer cottages, a bowling alley, a billiard saloon, croquet grounds, and a fancy ballroom. Stagecoaches ran from Spartanburg daily. An ad in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.) touted that “this delightful Watering Place is unsurpassed by any in the South.” Many visitors spent entire summers there. A visitor from Columbia’s The daily phoenix newspaper described his stay in 1874: “a warm reception, a cool drink of water, a good cup of tea, and pleasant chats with old friends prepared me for me couch, and I slept like a top.” He noted that the hotel had changed little since his last visit in 1861, and the hotel’s success was measured “by those solid comforts and varied attractions, which are as equally necessary as the superb water itself, to make it a summer resort.”

In addition to taking in the mineral springs in the morning and evening, guests could partake in a variety of amusements, such as a ten pin alley, cards, strolls along the grounds, and dances. Calico balls were held in summer; one in 1874 sponsored by the Ladies’ Monumental Association raised 125 dollars for a Civil War monument to honor veterans of the recent war.

In the 1890s, the entrepreneurs at Glenn Springs built a bottling house and shipped Glenn Springs Water all over the country. By the end of the 19th century, they were also selling ginger ale made from Glenn Springs Water.

“By 1896, hotel keepers proudly advertised piazzas that stretched 580 feet across the front of the immense hotel, an Italian band, and two daily trains running from nearby Spartanburg. A store, post office, a male academy, and Episcopal and Presbyterian churches, grew up around the resort.

A 1901 article, “Doings at Glenn Springs” promised that this season would “be one of the largest attended and most enjoyable for years.” A visitor described the weekly dance as the “crowning feature of the week’s gaities.” One evening, “couples formed outside of the ballroom and marched in to the stirring strains of the Chinese Wedding March, rendered by the excellent Italian band of Washington, D.C.” At one dance that year, a merry party of revelers returned from a dance at 2 a.m. in the morning, cheering

“Glenn Springs! Glenn Springs!

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Water Soakers! Water Soakers!

Siss! Boom! Bah!”

Hotel keepers kept up with the times in Glenn Springs. In 1902, electric lights and electricity were installed.  One ad notes that “at the request of any guests, electric fans would be put in bedrooms.” A 1914 Glenn Springs Hotel ad pointed out that “our Automobile Passenger Bus with Pneumatic Tires meets trains at Spartanburg.”

Click here to read this article, "Glenn Springs, Its History from its Discovery, with Personal Sketches of its Habitues," published May 7, 1890 in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.)

A full page article titled “Glenn Springs: Its History from its Discovery, with Personal Sketches of its Habitues,” published May 7, 1890, in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), presents many more details in an interesting portrait of Glenn Springs.

Around World War One, it seems that the hotel’s popularity began to wane. The advent of the automobile and improved roads are plausible factors leading to the demise of the hotel. The main hotel burned to the ground in 1941, after slipping into disrepair over many years.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Glenn Springs, as it looks today. The first Episcopal Church was built in 1850. The current church was rebuilt in 1897.

Today, Glenn Springs is a small unincorporated community of about 20 extant structures and structural ruins. In 1982, it was designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. Far off the beaten path, Glenn Springs has maintained its historic integrity, has restored several of its historic residences and two churches, and has no discernible modern development.

Circa 1900 Glenn Springs Post Office, as it looks today.


Circa 1885, Cates' Store, as it looks today.

Several buildings and ruins lie in overgrown woods. Visitors can take a great hike through these woods on the newly developed 7 mile Glenn Springs Passage of the Palmetto Trail, and see some of the ruins of this once “queen of the southern summer resorts.”

Glenn Springs appears in historic South Carolina newspapers repeatedly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many additional details and events about Glenn Springs were not included here. Search for “Glenn Springs” or “Glenn Springs Hotel” yourself in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, and see what you turn up!

1. A circa 1895 ad for the Glenn Springs Hotel, The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), July 31, 1895,
2. A circa 1894 ad for Glenn Springs Hotel and Glenn Springs Mineral Water, in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), June 27, 1894,
3. New Cottage on North Side of Hotel, illustration from “Glenn Springs: Its History from its Discovery, with Personal Sketches of its Habitues,” published May 7, 1890, in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.),
4. Episcopal Church of Glenn Spring, illustration from “Glenn Springs: Its History from its Discovery, with Personal Sketches of its Habitues,” published May 7, 1890, in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.),
5. “Glenn Springs: Its History from its Discovery, with Personal Sketches of its Habitues,” published May 7, 1890, in The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.),
6. Calvary Episcopal Church in Glenn Springs, as it looks today. Photo taken by the author.
7. Circa 1900 Glenn Springs Post Office, as it looks today. Photo taken by the author.
8. Circa 1885, Cates’ Store, as it looks today. Photo taken by the author.
Other Sources
1. Glenn Springs advertisement, The daily phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), June 30, 1870,
2. “Correspondence of the Phoenix, at Glenn Springs,” The daily phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), August 16, 1874,
3. “Doings at Glenn Springs,” The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), July 24, 1901, .
4. Glenn Springs Ginger Ale advertisement, The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.), January 28, 1903,
5. Glenn Springs Hotel advertisement, The Anderson daily intelligencer (Anderson, S.C.), September 16, 1914, .
6. Glenn Springs Historic District, National Register Properties in South Carolina, South Carolina Dept. of Archives and History,
7. Glenn Springs Historic District National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, October 5, 1982,
8. Glenn Springs Passage of the Palmetto Trail brochure, The Palmetto Conservation,
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Helpful Tips for Researching in Chronicling America

A view of the Chronicling America homepage

The Library of Congress recently launched a new Chronicling America home page, with several improvements and new features. With this great new site redesign, I thought it might be helpful to point out some features that will improve your searching experience in Chronicling America.

Searching Chronicling America

A view of the simple search on the Chronicling America homepage

Did you know that you can now perform a simple search right from the homepage? You can still search by All States or one state only, choose the years you wish to search and enter your search terms in a simple search box. This facilitates quick and easy searching.

A view of the Advanced Search box

You can perform more Advanced Searching by clicking the Advanced Search tab on the homepage. Refine your search by specifying criteria such as State, Newspaper Title, Year or Date Range, and enter search terms in one of four different search boxes, to retrieve good results. The two search strategies in which I have found the most success are the With the Phrase…, and With Words…within (5 or 10 words) Proximity of One Another.

Search newspaper pages to retrieve article level information on:

  • particular people, proper names, family names, and businesses
  • particular cities, towns, and communities
  • specific historical events and general news of the time
  • illustrations, advertisements, cartoons, and photos
  • and a vast array of topics like social issues, war, crime, technology and progress, education, labor, fashion, material culture, community history, etc.

When selecting search terms remember to:

  • use historically used terms rather than the modern terms used today, such as the Great War instead of World War One as it is called today
  • try variations on spelling
  • enter words in order they are most likely to occur

For more help on Searching, visit General Searching in Chronicling America.


Viewing Search Results

A view of a Search Results page

When you perform a search, the search results page will open and display the newspaper images along with a link below the image which provides info about the newspaper. Your search terms will be high-lighted in pink as a guide to where you should look for your content on the page when you open it. You have the option to re-sort your results with the Sort By: Relevance, State, Title, and Date.

Viewing a newspaper page in Search Results

Click on either newspaper image, or its link below, in order to open and read that newspaper page. When viewing a newspaper page, there is a lot of information at your fingertips. The About link provides more information about that newspaper title. You can navigate forward and backward between PAGES and ISSUES with the blue arrows. You can zoom in and out of the page with the plus (+) and minus (-) signs located in the black viewing box left of the image.

Toggle icon

My favorite new feature is the toggle full page button which increases the viewing space on your computer screen. This makes the newspaper image easier to read and is conducive to easier newspaper browsing. With the full screen option, you can use your mouse to left click and dial to zoom in and out of the page very easily. You can stay in toggle view to move back and forth between pages and issues.

PDF link

The easiest way to download an image is to select the PDF link. Under File, select Save Page As, name file, and save as an Adobe Acrobat document. You may have to get the free download Adobe Reader to read these files on your computer, PDFs provide good quality copies, are easy to read, and are easy to zoom in and out for better viewing.

Click Image icon

The Clip Image feature is also a useful tool. If you want to print or download part of a page, zoom in to that area of the page, and select Clip Image. You then have the option to Print or Download this image. If you don’t zoom in, the whole page will be printed or downloaded.

Reset View icon

The Reset View icon allows you to reset the page view to its original setting, if you have been zooming in and out of a page and want to return to the way it originally appeared in the viewing box. It is located in the row of icons for Zoom In, Zoom Out, Reset View, and Toggle Full Page View, in the black area of the page viewer.

Using the Persistent Link, provided below every newspaper image, will always take you back to that page. Saving this link in a Word document is a very good idea if you wish to return to content you’ve found in Chronicling America. This link should be used if a citation is necessary.

You can now see the current number of newspaper pages available in Chronicling America with the Pages Available ticker in the upper left of the home page. As of today, there are 3,999,267 Pages Available. This number will continue to grow as more content is added to the site.


Exploring Newspapers in Chronicling America

List of Historic South Carolina Newspapers in Chronicling America

The All Digitized Newspaper 1860-1922 tab links to lists of newspaper titles currently available by State in Chronicling America. You can also choose to Show All Digitized Papers 1860-1922 which will list content from all states participating in Chronicling America.

Choose the State in which you are interested. For example, select South Carolina from the drop down list of States, and a list will be displayed of historic South Carolina newspapers in Chronicling America. Keep in mind that this list will be continually updated, as Library of Congress adds more content to Chronicling America. This is a great place to begin browsing newspapers. You can view the Browse Issues calendar, look at the Earliest Issue to Latest Issues, and view a wealth of information about the newspaper title with the More Info link.

A view of 100 Years Ago Today

The centerpiece of the new home page, 100 Years Ago Today, displays century-old newspapers from across the U.S. Use the arrows on either side of the window to scroll back and forth and view issues. To read a newspaper, click on a newspaper image or its link below.

Click Here to see Historic Newspaper Images in Flickr

Historic Newspapers on Flickr shares 400 cool illustrations excerpted from the pages of Chronicling America newspapers, which is another fun way to browse Chronicling America content. Clicking on the image will open up the newspaper page in which it was found.

The Library of Congress staff continues to collect articles for your reading pleasure in Recommended Topics. There are now over 85 topics to browse which are a great way to delve into newspaper content and discover the amazing  history to be found in Chronicling America. Some fantastic new topics are the Ballet Russes (1910-1916), Bloomer Girls Women’s baseball (1897-1909), Chicago Black Sox Baseball Scandal (1919-1921) and Houdini (1906-1919).

As always, we are interested in hearing from you. Let us know what features you have found most useful when searching in Chronicling America! What interesting articles have you discovered? Have you found what you are looking for in Chronicling America? Have you had success or need a little help? Have any suggestions? Until next time, Happy Newspaper Searching.

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Professor Lowe’s 1861 Balloon Voyage to Union, S.C.

The Enterprise Balloon that Thaddeus Lowe flew from Cincinnati to Union, S.C. on April 20, 1861

Eight days after the first shots of the Civil War were fired, Professor Thaddeus Lowe, a self taught scientist conducting ground breaking work in the field of aeronautics, embarked on a 500 mile hot air balloon voyage from Cincinnati, Ohio. His original plan was to reach Washington, D.C. to test the balloon’s ability for overland flight, and to eventually attempt flight across the Atlantic Ocean, but air currents altered his course and he landed on a plantation outside Union, South Carolina. Lowe’s journey, 150 years ago, through the night above the Ohio River Valley, the Cumberlands, the Alleghenies and across the southern wilderness of the Blue Ridge mountains seems lifted from the fantastical pages of a Jules Verne novel. Below is a contemporary article on Lowe’s flight, found in a historic South Carolina newspaper recently digitized and made available in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Keowee courier, May 25, 1861 issue.

Lowe wrote an account of his adventure on his balloon, the Enterprise, shared in newspapers across the country. The Keowee courier, a newspaper published in a town about 75 miles distant from Union, printed this colorful and detailed description, on May 25, 1861, of Lowe’s voyage. Having waited for over a month for optimal flying conditions, Lowe commenced preparing his balloon on April 19, 1861. Lowe left Cincinnati before dawn, at about 4 a.m., to great fanfare from the people of that city. With him were freshly printed newspapers, still wet with ink, discussing information about the very trip on which he was taking. Professor Lowe describes the ethereal beauty of his experience floating through the midnight air as the “moon and stars shone brightly.” He exclaimed that “the beauty of the scene baffles description; the moon had set, and the city of 170,000 sleepers, with its thousands of gas-lights glittering through the pitchy darkness was indescribably beautiful.” After 5 a.m. “the sun showed a golden rim above the horizon and soon sent a golden shower over the globe overhead.” The balloon continued to climb higher in the troposphere to an altitude of 11,000 feet, eventually ascending to estimated heights of 22,000 feet. That’s more than 4 miles above the earth! “Below and for miles around, was a barren wilderness, but at some distance I could see an occasional farmhouse.” He descended and sang out to men working in a field, asking “What state is this?” The Virginians never thought to look up from whence the mysterious voice came, certainly the idea of a voice originating from above their heads being inconceivable during this early period in aeronautical experimentation. Lowe continued on to parts of western South Carolina, where he attempted to land his balloon, but local inhabitants insisted that he continue with his “hellish contrivance” and land elsewhere.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Keowee courier, May 25, 1861 issue.

Deciding that he must land soon, he neared the plantation of Kelton in rural Union County, South Carolina. “I heard many discharges of muskets. Not knowing, but being apprehensive that the globe was the object of firing, I prepared for making signals, when I should again near the earth.” Professor Lowe, dressed in his finest evening wear, descended to the ground with hat in hand and valve rope in the other. The Enterprise struck terror in the earthlings. Old folks prayed, people scattered in all directions, and cowered behind a log hut nearby. A 6 foot tall young woman assisted Professor Lowe in securing the balloon. “Men arrived with muskets, threatening destruction to the ‘devil’ that could travel through the air…but the tall woman assured [him] there was no danger, for all the men then in the neighborhood were cowards, the brave ones having gone to the wars.” Lowe was taken into town by wagon where a hotel keeper recognized him as a distinguished scientist whom he had seen the year previous on his travels north. The local newspaper editor corroborated the far-fetched story, avowing that the damp recently printed newspapers Lowe had brought with him were real. Amid cries of “tar and feather the Yankee,” Lowe was taken on to Columbia where professors at the University of South Carolina attested to the verity of his tale, being familiar with the various scientific instruments he brought along on his flight. Treated as a celebrity, save for a few scowls and threats by newly minted Confederates, he was graciously sent north on the train with all of his equipment and a passport granted by Columbia’s mayor to see Lowe safely through the Confederate States.

Lowe's Telegram to President Lincoln from his Balloon, June 16, 1861

When Lowe arrived in Washington, D.C., he decided to offer his services to the U.S. Government, persuading them that the use of his balloons for reconnaissance during the recent conflict would be beneficial to the Union Army. Lowe sent a telegram (left) to President Lincoln, from 500 feet in the air in the Enterprise, during a demonstration on the grounds of what is now the National Mall in D.C. Lincoln was duly impressed and created the U.S. Army Civilian Balloon Corps in June 1861. Thaddeus Lowe conducted reconnaissance at the Battles of Bull Run, Seven Pines, Chancellorsville, Gaines Mill, Fredericksburg and other battles during the war. His aeronautical work serving the Union Army in the 1860s laid the foundations of the modern Air Force. The Balloon Corps served the Union for two years from 1861 to 1863, when Lowe resigned his post.

The national republican, June 21, 1861 Click here to read the article in Chronicling America

There is more content to be found in Chronicling America relating to Thaddeus Lowe (1832-1913) including experiments prior to 1861, his reconnaissance work serving the Union Army (example to the right), renting his balloon out for weddings in the sky after the Civil War, and his later projects such as developing the Pasadena railway in California. If you would like to search for yourself, go to the Search Pages and try searching variations such as Professor Lowe, Thaddeus Lowe, spelling the name Low without an e, and T. S. C. Lowe, balloon, Balloon Corps, etc. You can try searching by the names of his Balloons as well: Enterprise, Intrepid, City of New York, Eagle, Washington, Great Western, and the Constitution. Also, try searching All States and All Dates to see coverage by newspapers across the United States. Lowe’s life work falls neatly within the date parameters of Chronicling America (1860-1922).

This week, the National Air and Space Museum is commemorating Lowe’s June 18, 1861 balloon exhibition on what is now the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Check out the video, in which Curator Tom Crouch describes Lowe’s contribution to aeronautics and its use in military operations, Also, the Air & Space Museum will be showing a film at their IMAX theater June 17, 2011, which will be available online as a live webcast at 7:00 p.m,



1. The Enterprise Balloon that Thaddeus Lowe flew from Cincinnati to Union, S.C. on April 19, 1861, courtesy of!/Union_Army_Balloon_Corps.

2. Keowee Courier, May 25, 1861, from Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

3. Keowee Courier, May 25, 1861, from Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

4. Lowe’s Telegram to President Lincoln from his Balloon, June 16, 1861. courtesy of American Memory at the Library of Congress,

5. The national republican, June 21, 1861, from Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Further reading: Block, E. B. (1966). Above the Civil War: the Story of Thaddeus Lowe, Balloonist, Inventor, Railway Builder. Howell-North Books, Berkeley, California.

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But wait, there’s more! More historic S.C. newspapers added to Chronicling America!

This week, the Library of Congress added three more historic South Carolina newspaper titles, and 30,000 newspaper pages, into Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. These are the Keowee courier (Pickens, S.C.) (1861-1900 now available), the Orangeburg news, (Orangeburg, S.C.) and its five succeeding titles (1867-1911 now available), and The intelligencer (Anderson, S.C.) (1915-1916 now available). Also, more content has been added to the Anderson intelligencer (Anderson, S.C.) (1860-1906 now available) and The watchman and southron (Sumter, S.C.) (1881-1922 now available). To see the list of S.C. newspapers that are now available in Chronicling America, click on the image below.

List of S.C. Newspapers Now Available in Chronicling America. Click here to view the list.

To date, 64,000 S.C. newspaper images, digitized by the University of South Carolina, have been approved and uploaded by the Library of Congress into Chronicling America. 39,000 newspaper pages of the grant project are still in the production pipeline. In the last few months, we have sent 28,000 images to the Library of Congress, who is in the process of approving and ingesting these images in the next several months. We will send one last batch, of 11,000 images, to the Library of Congress at the end of May. By September, we anticipate that a total of 103,000 newspaper pages will be available in Chronicling America.

Chronicling America has now ingested an astonishing 3.7 million searchable historic newspaper images, from more than 500 newspaper titles across 22 states and the District of Columbia. So, don’t forget that you can search historic newspaper content from states other than South Carolina.

We’d love to get your feedback on how you have been using Chronicling America, any success in your searching for historic articles, and any suggestions you may have to improve your experience with Chronicling America! You can leave comments here on the blog or email us at We appreciate your input!

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Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette!

This fun cigarette advertising campaign for Sovereign Cigarettes, which personified a cigarette as a southern child of good breeding and manners, appeared in the Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S.C.) newspaper in January and February 1917. He’s a darling little fellow, with matchsticks for arms and legs and a flame capping his crown, who is proud to point out that his mother was from Virginia and his father an aristocrat from the Carolinas. He appears first as a baby being washed by his nurse, then playing with tumbling blocks, learning to spell, and lastly, being carried by his friends on their shoulders who clearly seem to be singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow!” You can click on each image to see the ads as they appear in Chronicling America.

“My folks down South keep telling me: ‘Be sweet, clean, and pure.'”

“My isn’t there a lot to learn? And the Governor keeps saying you can’t get it all out of books.”

“So a clean sweet wholesome cigarette makes heaps of friends down South.”

“I’ve never lied to my friends, nor cheated them, nor double-crossed them…They know me by right name-Sovereign! A true gentleman of the South, born and bred.”

Here are some more fun ones…

I, a Southern Gentleman am Named

A Scholar and A Gentleman

A Southern Gentleman Makes a New Friend

Merit Wins Folks, Merit Wins Every Time

The American Tobacco Company was founded in Durham, N.C. by J.B. Duke in 1879, which consolidated in 1890 and was known as the “Tobacco Trust.” Subject to the Sherman Antitrust Law of 1890, the American Tobacco Company was indicted in 1907 and in 1911, was ordered to break its monopoly on the cigarette industry and to dissolve into several companies, the same day as the Standard Oil Company was forced to do the same. These Sovereign Cigarettes ads emerged a few years after the break-up of this giant tobacco monopoly.

There are several more Sovereign Cigarette ads in Chronicling America. To find them, go to and search “sovereign cigarettes.”


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The 1903 Tillman-Gonzales Affair: South Carolina’s “Crime of the Century”

Monument to N. G. Gonzales

In the shadow of the South Carolina State House stands a monument. Most that pass it each day on this busy street corner in Columbia are perhaps unaware for whom the monument was erected more than a century ago or that this monument is the final chapter to a long running feud between two men fueled by their polarizing political ideologies and personalities. Narciso Gener Gonzales, S.C.’s most celebrated newspaper editor at the turn of the 20th century, was shot  in broad daylight and killed by Lt. Governor James H. Tillman on the afternoon of January 15, 1903. Deemed the “Crime of the Century” in S.C., the trial received national news coverage, and is one of the most interesting episodes in Columbia, South Carolina history.

The two men, Gonzales and Tillman, represented two political camps that had wrestled for power for almost three decades in S.C. The son of the Cuban Revolutionary and Confederate officer Ambrosio Gonzales and Harriet Rutledge Elliott, a member of S.C.’s planter class, Gonzales identified politically and socially with the Bourbons, elites who had ruled S.C. prior to the Civil War. When Reconstruction ended with the election of the Bourbon party’s General Wade Hampton III in 1876 as governor and U.S. Senator in 1879, a new political party arose when middle class white voters sought a previously unattainable seat at the political table. This new party, called the Farmer’s movement or Agrarian revolt, elected Benjamin “Pitchfork” Tillman governor in 189­0 and U.S. Senator in 1895. James H. Tillman, a news reporter and later a politician himself, was Ben Tillman’s nephew.

N. G. Gonzales

N.G. Gonzales, with his two brothers, founded The State newspaper in Columbia in 1891, after having worked many years as a correspondent to the Charleston News and Courier and other S.C. papers. The State quickly gained recognition as a quality news source and was one of the largest newspapers in S.C. by the turn of the 20th century. Gonzales was known for his acerbic wit and brilliant rhetoric, but he also gained a reputation for an overly earnest self-righteousness in his writings. His infamous editorials were often characterized as bombastic and scathing indictments of South Carolina politicians serving in Congress and at the State House. A long running political badinage occurred for years between Ben Tillman and N. G. Gonzales over major issues of the day. Ben Tillman described The State as “that rattlesnake down on Main Street” and claimed that “Gonzales has dished out more malice and hatred than any other man in the State except [of course] myself.”[1] He also magnanimously replied once that “he had always given Gonzales credit for being honest and straightforward and a man with backbone and principle, though he is my enemy.”[2] Gonzales published a recurring biblical themed column which satirized Tillman’s governance in the Old Testament prosaic character of Benjamin the Tillmanite. He repeatedly described Tillman with unkind adjectives like “blackguard, blatherskite, buffoon, and an intemperate demagogic accident” and often blithely added that “those who lived by the pitchfork would fall under the harrow.”[3]

James H. Tillman

When Jim Tillman came on the political scene, Gonzales was equally ungenerous with the nephew of his political rival, Ben Tillman. Jim Tillman referred to Gonzales as “that Spaniard” and “the Cuban pony” and Gonzales in turn labeled him as “Tillman the Little” and lambasted Tillman for his reputation as a “liar, defaulter, gambler, and drunkard.”[4] Years of acrimony between the two culminated around 1902. After a brawl on the floor of the U.S. Senate between Uncle Ben Tillman and fellow S.C. Senator John McLaurin, President Teddy Roosevelt slighted Ben Tillman and in turn nephew Jim Tillman withdrew an official invitation to President Roosevelt on a planned visit to the state, later smoothed over by Gonzales’ younger brother Willie.  This same year, Lt. Gov. Tillman while presiding over the Senate, overruled a motion in the Senate as non-debatable. Some requested he seek a higher opinion from Congressional leaders who advised that he rescind his decision. Tillman, instead, lied and reported that the higher opinion had sustained his original ruling. Outraged, Gonzales castigated Tillman in The State pointing to this incident as yet another example of Tillman’s low character when he ran for governor that year. Jim Tillman lost the gubernatorial race, handily, in the fall of 1902.

On a brisk January 15, 1903, Gonzales strode up Main Street from his office heading home for lunch. As he approached the corner of Main and Gervais Streets, across the street from the SC State House, he happened to encounter his political rival, James H. Tillman who was serving his last few days in office as Lieutenant Governor of S.C. The Lt. Governor and a few of his colleagues in the General Assembly were also going to lunch while the Senate recessed. As Gonzales passed the three men, without apparent provocation from eyewitnesses, Tillman withdrew a Luger pistol and shot Gonzales once in the belly. Gonzales fell to the ground and retorted “Shoot me again, you coward.” Gonzales perished from effects of the gunshot wound four days later.

Read the entire article here from the Watchman and Southron, September 30, 1903

Because Gonzales was so admired in Columbia, Tillman sympathizers claimed he wouldn’t get a fair trial in Columbia and  pulled strings to get the trial moved across the river to Lexington County. The trial took place in September and October of 1903. William Thurmond, whose son would become the future S.C. governor and one of the longest serving U.S. Senators in history, served as the state solicitor for the prosecution. Papers all over the country covered the Tillman trial in 1903, partly because Gonzales was so well-known but also because many journalists and editors were great admirers of Gonzales. The trial also raised an issue about freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, inferring that an acquittal in this case might portend open season on journalists.

Read the article in the Watchman and Southron, September 30, 1903

The proceedings of the case were followed closely by several national papers, as well as local papers like Sumter’s Watchman and Southron, a newspaper with clear sympathies for Gonzales. In the article to the left, the reporter printed an impassioned preamble to the trial written by John  Marshall of the News and Courier, which raised broader issues of the state of lawlessness and justice in S.C. at the time. “There are not found wanting who declare that verdicts in murder trials in South Carolina are a by-word and a laughing stock. It would be futile to  deny these things…it is their notorious verity that makes the present emergency so momentous. It is because they are true that the eyes of men are so riveted so keenly upon this Court, this jury, these lawyers, this trial. Therefore, is James H. Tillman guilty or not guilty? What say you?”

Read this article from the Watchman and Southron, October 7, 1903

The proceedings of the trial are outlined in this article, with descriptions of the examination and cross-examination of witnesses for the prosecution including Ambrose Gonzales, N.G.’s brother and business partner, two young boys who identified Tillman on the street the day of the shooting, members of legislature, the doctors who treated the dying Gonzales, James Hoyt who was Gonzales assistant editor and friend, and W.F. Steiglitz, a gunsmith who repaired the weapon used in the killing the day prior to the incident. Ambrose Gonzales was asked to read five months of editorials written by N.G. Gonzales during 1902 to show the “white-hot” nature of Gonzales’ editorials toward the defendant. The reporter concluded that “Traditions are to be reckoned with…the men who are to determine whether James H. Tillman is a murderer are Southern men [with] Southern mental processes. Their estimation of provocation is such as their neighbors hold now [and] their fathers before them. They have been taught that there are words more stinging than blows-that a man has to take good heed of his facts before he is justified in calling another a cur, or a coward, or a thief, or liar.” He added then “that it was essential for the State’s estimation that the men who are to pass in judgment upon Mr. Tillman’s deed should not be left under the impression that there was no more in the language applied to him by Mr. Gonzales than the words that blistered and burned.” In other words, that there was truth in Gonzales’ claims against Tillman.

Read this article from the Watchman and Southron, October 7, 1903

The trial at this point became heated. Testimony given by witnesses stated Gonzales was himself unarmed on the fateful day. Two witnesses friendly to Tillman, testified to the premeditated nature of the killing, in which Tillman had stated to a Mr. Terrell editor of the Johnston Monitor that he intended to be a candidate for Governor and that he was going “to go down to Columbia and kill Mr. Gonzales.” When Terrell returned that he should fight him rather than kill him, Tillman stated that “he would shoot him down like a mad dog without giving him a show.” Dr. Adams testified that he witnessed an occasion when Tillman sat and listened as someone read one of Gonzales’ fiery editorials speaking of Tillman’s conduct as “mock theatricals,” Tillman retorted that “Mr. Gonzales might call it what he wished but he [Tillman] would make it the God d–dest tragedy that ever happened in S.C.”

Read the article here in the Watchman and Southron, October 14, 1903

At this point, the State had rested and the Defense began its case. Jim Tillman took the stand and electrified the court room. “The nerves and brain of every man in sound or sight sprang to attention [when] the prisoner at the bar rose slowly to his great height, a little darker glow coming to his face, a little more set expression coming to his rugged features…striding forward deliberately to the clerk’s desk he took the oath and ascended the stand.” Tillman proceeded to give the history of his and Gonzales’ bitter relationship, beginning with his own forays into journalism, how he had been blackballed from admission to the prestigious South Carolina Club, how he had invited Gonzales to a dual over on one of the islands in the Savannah River to avoid the anti-dueling law in S.C., and various other grievances over the years.

Read this article here from the Watchman and Southron October 21, 1903

Outrageously, James H. Tillman was acquitted of the murder of N.G. Gonzales by the 12 man jury in Lexington County. The defense’s case that Gonzales’ ferocious indictments on Tillman’s character was just cause for the shooting seemed to resonate with many citizens. One can imagine the public outcry at the verdict by many of S.C.’s citizens who disagreed with such a verdict. Two such articles appeared in the October 21, 1903 issue of the Watchman and Southron, one an indignant letter to the editor by one W. McPheeters, and another titled “Out, damned spot!” by Dr. C. C. Brown. Dr. Brown sums the whole affair with these words. “And yet to go free, after all, is not much now! Ah, whither shall I free from hell. Myself am hell! The genius of history sits with his quill in a nerveless hand, and will write a true record at last and he will put the story down so that no man can challenge it.”

Gonzales’ funeral that year was the largest ever, second only to the recent burial of Wade Hampton the year prior, and the outpouring of his colleagues and friends resulted in the monument to his memory in 1905. In granite, the words are etched, “A great editor, an eminent citizen, an honest man….the measure of success is not what we get out of life but what we leave after it.” It has been rumored that the monument, which stands at Senate and Sumter Streets, stands not at the site where Gonzales was murdered, but was placed in the path James H. Tillman normally took on his walk home from the State House, so that he would have to see Gonzales’ monument as a constant reminder of his misdeeds. Tillman died eight years later in Asheville, N.C. in 1911, it seems much diminished socially, politically, and personally after this affair.

[1] Jones, L. P. (1973).  Stormy Petrel: N. G. Gonzales and His State. Columbia, S.C.: USC Press, Tri-centennial Studies, No. 8, p. 223.

[2] Jones, L. P. (1973).  Stormy Petrel: N. G. Gonzales and His State. Columbia, S.C.: USC Press, Tri-centennial Studies, No. 8, p. 229.

[3] Jones, L. P. (1973).  Stormy Petrel: N. G. Gonzales and His State. Columbia, S.C.: USC Press, Tri-centennial Studies, No. 8, p. 230.

[4] (2006). James H. Tillman. In Walter Edgar. Editor. South Carolina Encyclopedia (p.962-963). Columbia, S.C.: USC Press.


Gonzales monument. Photo taken by the author.

N.G. Gonzales. Courtesy of Google images,

Jim Tillman. Courtesy of Google images,

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A guide to navigating the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers website

A View of the Chronicling America homepage

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers is chock full of useful information to users wishing to search for newspapers and to learn more about the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). In fact, I thought a proper explanation of how to navigate the site might be in order. In this post, I will provide an overview of the Chronicling America website, focusing on three main areas: the See All Available Newspapers page, the Search Newspaper Pages page, and the Search Newspaper Directory page.

The Library of Congress staff continues to work hard to improve the design and usability of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Right now, researchers have the ability to search within the current version of which I will provide an overview here, and a beta version which is a  site redesign the Library of Congress staff is currently testing.

There are several links in the upper left corner of the current homepage, where one may find basic information about the program (About Chronicling America), which states are participating in Chronicling America (Awardees), and technical aspects of the program (Technical and API). Users can learn more about NEH, the funding body who, with the Library of Congress, has made this monumental program possible. The Working with Chronicling America box, at the bottom of the page, provides great links to:

See All Available Newspapers

A View of the See All Available Newspapers page

The See All Available Newspapers tab links to a page which provides the number of newspaper pages currently available on Chronicling America. As of now, there are 3,308,613 images available. The number of images continues to grow, as more newspapers are added or “ingested” into the newspaper database, so keep checking in on this page if you are interested to know how much has been added to the overall NDNP program.

The 23 states (of the 25 participating states) listed on this page display which of the newspapers from state programs are now available in Chronicling America. One can select the live link to each State at the top of the page, which will skip down to the table, to that State’s newspaper listings and what is currently available for newspaper titles by State. I find this page to be the easiest path to begin my search when I wish to browse a particular newspaper title. It provides live links to:

  • Newspaper titles, organized alphabetically with other papers in a State
  • to view the MARC catalog record for each newspaper by selecting its newspaper title  link from this table
  • the ability to Browse Issues and begin researching newspapers from this list
  • view the Earliest Issue and Latest Issue currently available for a newspaper
  • the More Info link which opens a page to an essay providing an overview and interesting information about each newspaper.

Keep in mind, this table is a work in progress and will be continually updated as more newspaper content is added.

To see the historic South Carolina newspaper titles selected for this grant cycle, go to All of the titles on this list will be ingested into Chronicling America and appear on the See All Available Newspapers page. We anticipate, and hope, that all will be ingested by the end of this summer.

Search Newspaper Pages

A View of the Search Newspapers Pages page

The Search Newspaper Pages tab in the upper left corner of the homepage and the View Newspapers box (in the center of the homepage) will open the same Search Newspapers page.

This search page allows users to refine their search by State, Newspaper Title, Year, Date Range, and Search Terms.

In the box on the upper left, one can choose to search All States, or select one state or more at a time from the drop down box. On the upper right, one can select All Newspapers or opt to select one Newspaper Title at a time per search without having to select the State in this search.

Under the Select a Year or Date Range, the user can do just that by either selecting a particular Year from a dropdown box, or by specifying a Date Range. By clicking within the date range boxes, a calendar opens in which one may select month and year from a dropdown box, and select the day by clicking on the day on the calendar. This will input that date into the appropriate date range box.

Users can search newspaper pages to retrieve article level information on:

  • particular people, proper names, family names, and businesses
  • particular cities, towns, and communities
  • specific historical events
  • general news of the time
  • unique passages of text
  • illustrations, advertisements, cartoons, and photos
  • and a vast array of topics like fashion, commercial products, patent medicines, transportation, legislation, crime and punishment, fraternal organizations, industry, technology, disease, etc.

The Enter Search boxes, where one enters the search terms of interest, provide four different ways to retrieve good results: With Any of the Words…, With All of the Words…, With the Phrase…, and With Words …within (5, 10, 50, or 100 words) Proximity of One Another. If one uses the latter search box, choosing the 5 or 10 words in proximity of one another will yield the best results.

When selecting search terms remember to:

  • try and use the historically used terms rather than the modern terms used today, such as the Great War instead of World War One as it is called today .
  • try variations on spelling, i.e. Freedmen’s Bureau and Freedman’s Bureau will retrieve very different results.
  • disregard case letters, the same results will be retrieved whether it is capitalized or not.
  • disregard articles such as a, an, and the.
  • place quotation marks around a phrase to get better results
  • enter words in order they are most likely to occur.

The Help tab, in the upper left of the homepage, offers in-depth searching tips to help in retrieving optimal results when searching the newspaper database, so I encourage you to visit that page.

Page Search Results

A View of the Page Results page

Once a search has been instituted, the retrieved results will open in a new page. The Page Search Results page will provide the number of retrieved results in the upper right corner, and will also display newspaper pages in Thumbnail View (default). One may also select to view results by List View, and sort results by State, Title, and Date. Keep in mind that the retrieved results will first be displayed with the most relevant results at the top of the results. One has the ability to go back and forward in the Results pages by selecting the Previous and Next buttons or going to any results page by entering a number in the Jump to Page box. The search terms that match the search will be highlighted in Pink on the Results Page Images.

To view a newspaper page, left click on the page image or select the issue information link below the newspaper image.

A View of the Image View in Page Results

In the new page, the Newspaper Title, Place of Publication, Date Range of the Newspaper Title, the Issue Date, and the Image Number appear in both the black banner and white banner above the Image View. Also, the Persistent Link which can be saved, and will always take you back to this page, is present. This link should be used if a citation is necessary.

All of the commands such as Zoom, Draw Zoom Box, Reset, move to Previous and Next Pages and Previous and Next Issues links are located above the newspaper image. One great feature is the Draw Zoom Box, which one selects then draws a box around the text one wishes to read, and that box zooms in to make that passage readable. The Reset button allows one to revert back to the original view size showing the whole newspaper page. One can also Zoom In and Zoom Out by selecting the + and – signs for zooming in and out. My favorite feature is a nifty Pan toggle button which one can select and drag the newspaper page around to enable reading content on the newspaper page. LC recently improved the view image page by placing the Zoom In and Out, Zoom Draw box, and Reset buttons at the top and the bottom of the View Page.

A View of the Browse Issues page

The View button allows one to see the OCR text, which is not perfect but can provide useful information. One can view the newspaper page as a PDF document which provides a clear image of that page, with the ability to zoom in and out easily, and save the Page in several formats.

The Browse Issues link is great. One can select this to see a calendar view of issues available by day of the month and by selecting Year from the Issues For dropdown box. The days of the month that have live links show the issues available for viewing. This page also provides the ability to Browse First Pages Only, Browse Issues, read the essay about the newspaper in More About This Newspaper, visit the Search Newspaper Directory information by choosing the About This Newspaper link. Those who want to view the MARC record, mostly librarians, can view that here as well.

Search Newspaper Directory

A View of the Find Information About Newspapers Box

The Chronicling America Newspaper Directory is an extensive directory that allows researchers to find out about particular historic newspapers and to learn whether a newspaper title is included in Chronicling America. This directory contains almost 140,000 separate historic American newspapers titles that were published dating from 1690 to the present. It also contains the most complete catalog information about each newspaper, including dates of publication, places of publication, associated newspaper titles such as those previous newspapers that preceded and those newspaper titles that continued a particular newspaper.

A View of Browse Newspaper Titles by Alphabet

The Search Newspaper Directory tab in the upper left corner of the homepage and the Find Information about Newspapers from 1690 to Today box (in the center right of the homepage) will open the same Search Newspaper Directory page. One can Browse the Directory by Newspaper Title by selecting a letter of the alphabet, as shown in the illustration above, then choosing the live link to the newspaper title of interest. This will open the directory page with the catalog record of that newspaper.

A View of the Search Newspaper Directory page


Selecting the Search Directory link, one can begin searching in the Newspaper Directory. Researchers have the ability to search by State, County, City, Date Range, Keywords, Frequency, Language, Ethnicity of the Publication, Labor Press, LCCN, and Material Type. The first four search criteria, State, County, City, Date Range, and Keywords will probably be used in this type of searching more often than the other criteria.

When a newspaper title search is performed, a new box will open showing a list of results of newspapers that meet the criteria searched. These newspaper titles have live links to open the catalog records for each newspaper, called the About this Newspaper Page.



A View of an About this Newspaper record

This page provides the following info:

  • Title
  • Place of Publication
  • Date Range
  • Geographic Coverage (i.e. City, County, State)
  • Publisher Name
  • Dates of Publication
  • Description
  • Frequency of Publication (i.e.Weekly)
  • Language
  • Subjects
  • Notes
  • LCCN (Library of Congress identification number for each paper)
  • OCLC (another id number assigned to each paper)
  • Holdings (live link to a list of libraries and other institutions who possess original copies and microfilm holdings of a title)

This information should be plenty to get you started on your newspaper searching. I hope that some of you find it to be helpful! Happy searching!

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“Chronicles of the Electric City” A brief history of the Anderson Intelligencer

Craig Keeney, Published Materials Cataloger at the South Caroliniana Library here at USC and one of our Principal Investigators of the SCDNP, has composed fascinating essays about each of the South Carolina newspapers digitized in Chronicling America.

These essays or “scope notes” may be accessed by a link titled More about this Newspaper, for each newspaper in Chronicling America.

The following is an essay Craig wrote for the history of The Anderson Intelligencer…

The Anderson Intelligencer (1860-1917), a weekly newspaper “devoted to politics, literature, news, morals, agriculture, science, and art,” reported on local, national, and statewide events for the residents of rural Anderson County, in the Upstate region of South Carolina, for over fifty years. The first issue appeared on Tuesday, August 14, 1860. In it, editors and publishers James A. Hoyt and John C.C. Featherstone declared that “in our prospectus we announced that we would conduct our paper independent of all parties, factions, or cliques…we are strictly states rights in our constructions of the Constitution,” at once a contradiction in terms and telling evidence of the ideological and political divisions between Northerners and Southerners in the tense years leading up to the Civil War.

Throughout its existence, the Anderson Intelligencer reflected on the economic and political forces transforming Anderson County. Articles titled “Grand ovation to Gov. Hampton!” (April 5, 1877) and “Our political deliverance” (April 12, 1877), both references to former Confederate Army General Wade Hampton, convey the triumphant mood of many white Carolinians with the return of the so-called Bourbons, or antebellum leaders, to political power in 1877. The later decades of the 19th century saw the citizens of Anderson County invest in and develop their energy infrastructure with such vigor as to earn the town of Anderson the approbation “Electric City.”

Several persons responsible for producing the newspaper played significant roles in the history of the Upstate region. James A. Hoyt, who edited the Anderson Intelligencer in 1860-77, served as chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Committee, president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and a trustee of Furman University (a Baptist-affiliated college in Greenville, South Carolina). Hoyt’s successor, Edward Bobo Murray, served as chair of the Anderson Democratic Party (1878-90), president of the Western Carolina and North Georgia Railroad (1891-94), South Carolina Representative (1878-83), and as South Carolina Senator (1886-89). The Anderson Intelligencer adhered closely to the conservative political and social views of its editors. The paper staunchly supported the South Carolina Democratic Party, criticized the state’s dispensary system of liquor sales, and promoted temperance. Through several decades, it also regularly featured the humorous letters and reminiscences of a backwoodsman named Bill Arp, who in reality was Charles Henry Smith, a journalist for the Atlanta Constitution.

The Anderson Intelligencer changed titles and publication frequencies several times in the course of its existence. The publishers only suspended publication once, during the Civil War (Hoyt and Featherstone both served in the Confederate army). In January 1914, the publishers turned it into a daily newspaper called the Anderson Daily Intelligencer. They also issued a semiweekly edition for several years, beginning in March 1914. In May 1915, the titled was changed to the Intelligencer. In 1917, the paper had a circulation of 2,860, smaller than that of another weekly Anderson newspaper, the Daily Mail. The Intelligencer ceased publication sometime that year, for reasons unknown. The last available issue is from June 30, 1916.

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Breaking news! The Sumter Watchman and the Watchman and Southron are now available in Chronicling America

Breaking News! Two more newspaper titles, the Sumter watchman and the Watchman and southron, are now available online in Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Also, more Charleston daily news content is now online.

So far, 39,024 digitized S.C. newspaper images have been approved and uploaded by the Library of Congress into Chronicling America. We plan on reaching 100,000 total newspaper pages during this grant cycle. To browse these two new titles and to learn more about these newspapers, you may select the links below.

Sumter watchman. (Sumterville, S.C.) 1855-1881

The watchman and southron. (Sumter, S.C.) 1881-1930

The Charleston daily news. (Charleston, S.C.) 1865-1873

At this time, the following newspaper titles are now freely available in Chronicling America:

Newspaper Title Date Range of Title Dates Now Available in Chronicling America
The Anderson intelligencer. 1860-1914 1860-08-14 to 1896-01-29
The Charleston daily news. 1865-1873 1865-09-08 to 1873-04-05 (ALL)
The Columbia phoenix 1865 1865-03-21 to 1865-04-08 (ALL)
The Columbia phoenix 1865 1865-04-10 to 1865-05-13 (ALL)
The Columbia daily phoenix. 1865 1865-05-15 to 1865-07-29 (ALL)
The daily phoenix. 1865-1877 1865-07-13 to 1877-10-02 (ALL)
Tri-weekly phoenix. 1871-1875 1871-12-09 to 1875-05-18 (ALL)
The Sumter watchman. 1855-1881 1870-01-05 to 1872-12-25
The watchman and southron. 1881-1930 1881-08-02 to 1907-08-28

We will be sure to keep you posted on our progress as we continue to add new content to Chronicling America. Happy reading!

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One Hundred Years Hence: 1911’s futuristic vision of the year 2011

Here’s a fun futuristic article published in 1911, titled One Hundred Years Hence, imagining what life might be like in the year 2011.

The future is set on February 1, 2011, today’s date! You can click here to read the article in the March 2, 1911 issue of The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.) in Chronicling America:Historic American Newspapers, or read it in its entirety below.

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Acting Bears, Sacred Bulls, Performing Dogs… the Big Top is Arriving Soon.

Here in 21st century Columbia, the circus will be passing through town soon.

Some of the earliest pictorial advertisements in post-bellum South Carolina newspapers are advertisements for the circus. Below are examples of fanciful circus advertisements printed in the Columbia Phoenix and Anderson Intelligencer in the 1860s and 1870s. I found these while searching “Circus” in South Carolina newspapers.

Chronicling America is a rich resource for those interested in American Circus history. Just a bit of background research produced some very interesting details about the people affiliated with these circus acts, which you can read below some of the images further down the page.

The advertisements included here, Mike Lipman’s Great Combination Show, Colonel C. T. Ames’ New Orleans  Circus and Menagerie, Lent’s Railroad Leviathon, and Dan Castello’s Great Show (all ads found in SC newspapers in Chronicling America) are but a few of the scores of independent troupes that passed through SC and performed in various towns in the 1860s and later.

You can search for circus ads yourself by visiting the Search Newspaper Pages page on Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. You have the ability to limit your search to SC papers only,  to search within one newspaper title, or to search in newspapers across the entire US. Don’t forget that you can limit your search by date as well.

The Daily Phoenix, circa 1867, ad for Mike Lipman’s Great Combination Show

The Daily Phoenix, circa 1873, circus ad for Lent’s Railroad Leviathon

Lewis B. Lent (1813-1887) who grew up with his father’s traveling menagerie is described as “an all around circus man and was considered to be the best general agent and router of his day” ( In the 1830s, Lent traveled up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers by steamboat, and later  in 1843 was the first American circus act to perform in England. Lent’s Railroad Leviathon included acts such as the Hippozoonomadom which included a hippopatamus, Equescurriculum, the Seven Wonders of the World in a gas-lit city of tents, an army of horses, a cantonment of canvas, [in short] the globe in captivity” (

The Anderson Intelligencer, circa 1869, ad for Col. C.T. Ames New Orleans Circus and Menagerie

Colonel Clark T. Ames (d. 1870) organized the Ames’ Southern Menagerie in 1866, and his New Orleans Circus and Menagerie in 1867. His show, described as “A Colossal Aggregation of Olympian Sports and Nature’s Wonders” boasted “a score of beautiful ladies, a legion of male artists, a duo of lion tamers, a most extensive menagerie of rare wild beasts of nearly every known species and of every geographical range from the frigid to the the torrid, a herd of trained horses, and clowns, musicians and comedians.” His wife, Eugenia De Lorme Ames, was part of the act, too, as a lion tamer. Sadly, one month after her July 1869 performance in Anderson, S.C. as advertised here, she was mauled  but not killed by one of her lions in a performance in Sunbury, Pennsylvania  ( Colonel Ames died a year later, in 1870, in Dawson, Georgia from a gun shot wound inflicted by drunk patrons trying to get into a show (

Anderson Intelligencer, circa 1866, ad for Dan Castello’s Great Show

Dan Castello (1834-1909) “showman, clown, leaper, and vaulter” joined the circus life in his youth around 1849. On one of his European tours, Charles Dickens watched his performance at the Alhambra in London and wrote that [Castello] “did not jump but flew” through the air, in reference to Castello’s ability as a vaulter. Castello was known for his “Batteau Leaps” described as “specialties of the show” in his advertisment. His best vault was over 16 horses, described as “leaving the batteau, he would shoot into the air to a height of about 20 feet as straight as an arrow, then by a very quick turn of the neck and bending of the knees he would turn a somersault in a twinkling and strike on his feet in an erect position” ( With his own show, Castello chartered a steamboat and traveled up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, even following the Union Army down south during the late years of the Civil War. Shortly afterward, he passed through Anderson, S.C. in 1866, as evidenced by the advertisement above. He later completed the first coast to coast circus tour made by any American circus troupe in a single season.  Dan Castello was such a successful entrepeneur that the famous P.T. Barnum once said ” Give me Dan Castello and money enough to reach the first stop and I’ll come home with a fortune at end of the season [and] I don’t care if it rains every day.”

For a short history of the circus, read this Circopedia entry provided by the Circus Historical Socety,

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