Archives bring 19th century history into digital age
Decades of 19th century N.S. newspapers have been added to the digital archive
Decades of 19th century Nova Scotia history has been given the online treatment at the Nova Scotia Archives.
History buffs can now access two early newspapers, the Acadian Recorder and the Liverpool Transcript, electronically by the click of a button.
More than 50 years of history, beginning in 1813 are available. The Acadian Recorder from 1813 to 1853 is online, as well as the Liverpool Transcript from 1854 to 1867.
Lauren Oostveen, marketing outreach officer for the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, has been hard at work for the past six months, delicately scanning the frail, yellowed newspaper clippings for access online.
"It really tells you what it was like to live in Nova Scotia in that time, based on the local content as well as really, really cool ads that show different facets of life at that time," Oostveen said.
In recent years, Oostveen said there have been hundreds of thousands of hits on other archived Nova Scotia newspapers posted online. She said digitizing the physical archives has been a priority.
"I believe it's something like 600 gigabytes worth of content that were uploaded with (the Acadian Recorder) newspaper alone," she said, "So that's pretty big."
One of the most significant naval battles of the War of 1812 was reported in the June 12, 1813 issue of the Acadian Recorder. This was the capture of USS Chesapeake by HMS Shannon off Cape Cod on June 1, in a violent encounter at sea that lasted just 11 minutes.
That is just one of the many significant historical events documented. There are also unique advertisements, wedding and birth announcements.
Old newspapers used to print notices of death with a thick, black border around them.
"You get a black border running around because this (article) mentions the death of William IV. So this issue really is announcing the arrival of the Victorian age in England," Oostveen said.
Because of the popularity of the digital collection, Oostveen said you can expect to see more rare collections added in the future.