Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant Finalists Named

by Frank Boles and Kai Niezgoda

One of the following five cities will have their chosen newspaper digitized and placed online through the Clarke Historical Library’s Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant Program. The winning city's paper will be available on The Michigan Digital Newspaper Portal at

The finalists are:
  • Cheboygan (Cheboygan Democrat, 1880-1927)
  • Grand Rapids (The Grand Rapids Herald, 1916-18)
  • Lansing (Lansing State Republican, 1859-66)
  • Marquette (Mining Journal, 1868-98)
  • Muskegon (News and Reporter, 1870-99; Muskegon Record & Muskegon Daily Record, 1901-04)

You, the voters, get to decide which community will get their papers digitized and placed online. Cast your vote between April 1 and April 15 at To keep up on the vote tally, follow us on our Facebook and Twitter.

The voting site will include a description written by the paper’s nominator and reasons the nominator believes it should be digitized. Read excerpts from the nomination applications below. To view the full applications, visit on or after April 1.

In total, 31 nominations were received, demonstrating the widespread need to make historic Michigan newspapers available online. Funding for this program is made possible through the Robert and Susan Clarke Endowment, found in Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library. To see our newspapers online, visit

Library Application Highlights

The Cheboygan Area Public Library, who nominated Cheboygan Democrat (March 1880 to December 1927):
For many immigrant groups to this area from places such as Quebec, the Northeast, and places like Sweden, France, Poland, and Germany these newspapers provided a solid link for those for those in the present to connect with their past. Those of Native American heritage will also find valuable information in their pages. What is more, these newspapers provide what is essentially the only reliable source of information about Duncan City, a lumbering community of over 500 people that was once the seat of Cheboygan County. This town had the largest lumber mill north of Bay City; today, there is almost no trace that this community ever existed.

The Grand Rapids Public Library, who nominated The Grand Rapids Herald (1916 to 1918):
The special features or unique aspects of The Grand Rapids Herald are many. First, future Senator Arthur Vandenberg was the Editor in Chief of the Grand Rapids Herald from 1916-1918. Second, the Grand Rapids Herald was one of the two primary newspapers of the city of Grand Rapids. Third, the Grand Rapids Herald was the Society newspaper of Grand Rapids. Fourth, from 1916 to 1918, Grand Rapids saw the emergence of several important political figures who were to figure prominently in city, state and national politics. Finally, during this time period, Grand Rapids was to see its very political structure change. It is these features and aspects that are unique to the Grand Rapids Herald.

The Capital Area District Libraries of Lansing, who nominated the Lansing State Republican (January 1859 to September 1866):
The Lansing State Republican reflected the views of the Republican Party just prior to and during the Civil War. The editors and owners made their views on slavery and the abolition movement very clear in this capital city newspaper and these views were then carried throughout the state.

Marquette’s Peter White Public Library, who nominated the Mining Journal, published in Marquette (November 1868 to circa 1898):
We believe that people have an interest in the industrial age of our country. Iron mining, copper mining, and timber harvesting are a part of this history. There is a resurgence of mining in the north-central Upper Peninsula. As a country, we seem to be keenly interested in regaining some of our lost industrial might. In addition to the human side, and the local history aspect, the stories found in historic Mining Journal issues are an excellent resource to tie the past into our present and future ambitions.

The Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, who nominated the News and Reporter (1870 to 1899) and the Muskegon Record and Muskegon Daily Record (1901 to 1904):
Muskegon County has a unique and rich history in its demographics, labor migration, industrialization, logging, nautical activity and transportation. As the only Michigan deep water port on Lake Michigan and as the largest coastal city, Muskegon was very important in the development of the west side of the slate from the 1850s until after World War II.