Early Progress Archives Go Online

The Daily Progress’ earliest archives have been made available online, the newspaper reports, in an effort spearheaded by Jefferson Madison Regional Library and facilitated by the University of Virginia library. Eight people collaborated to scan in and catalog most every issue from 1892–1923, with the resulting scans hosted on UVA’s website. They’re just images scanned from microfilm at this point—the text itself isn’t searchable, and it can be tough to read at times—but it’s a great start. The project was funded jointly by JMRL and a private foundation.

So far I’ve just been opening up random issues and browsing around, and it’s just fascinating. Local history buffs are going to disappear into these archives and not be seen for weeks. For example, to pick one out of a hat, the front page of of the December 4, 1894 issue informs us that “metal is now being placed on Park Street”; “pheasants, judging from the number seen at the restaurants, are quite plentiful”; “the first car was placed on the electric street car line”; and “Mr. Thomas A. Marshall, while engaged in cutting feed for stock yesterday at ‘Clairmont’ Farm, had the misfortune to sever the index finger of his left hand between the first and second joints.”

News is enormously valuable the day that it’s published. Its value drops precipitously thereafter but, given enough time, it begins to rise again. Apparently after 121 years, it’s nearly as good as today’s news.

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