Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“Havana segars — a few thousand for sale”

Posted in Education, Media by Andy Hall on December 8, 2010

The Portal to Texas History now has copies of the Houston Telegraph and Texas Register available online, with full word-search capabilities. The Telegraph was the first newspaper to gain real prominence in the Texas Republic, and this addition offers researchers a great window into that period, previously available only through microfilm. The online collection for this particular paper covers the period from 1835 to 1846.

The extension of traditional archival materials into publicly-accessible, digital format is tremendously exciting, and makes research possible for many folks who otherwise face obstacles that make conventional research a challenge of both timing and logistics. In my case, looking up something in the Telegraph meant devoting a Saturday to microfilm at the Metropolitan Research Center at the Houston Public Library — often rewarding, but nonetheless a headache. The appearance of easily-accessed, online sources from both non-profits like Portal to Texas History and Open Library commercial vendors like Footnote and NewspaperArchive.com really are changing the face of research.

Great stuff.

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Image: Advertisements from the Telegraph and Texas Register, January 16, 1839.

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5 Responses

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  1. Dick Stanley said, on December 9, 2010 at 4:25 am

    It looks good, the Portal I mean, but it doesn’t highlight the search word.

    I’m looking for a cousin who was a colonist in Matagorda who fought in the Revolution. It gives me the Matagorda paper in 1838 but no highlight or page number. So I still have to read it all and hope to stumble over the surname. Haven’t yet.

    Better than nothing, and certainly easier than driving to an archive, but…

    • Andy Hall said, on December 9, 2010 at 4:50 am

      When you search the name, you should get a list of individual papers with matches. Open one of those, then click the “Search within this Newspaper” button again (upper right) and it should display the individual pages. Then select the page, and you can choose either “all image sizes” or “zoom (full page),” which allows you to zoom in or out with the scroll button. Both options should have the names highlighted. Hope this helps.

  2. Donovan Lambright said, on December 11, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I admit that I have no comment about this specific post. I just wanted to say that I just discovered the blog and am enjoying reading through the back posts. Thanks for putting it all together!

  3. Rob Wick said, on December 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Andy,

    I agree wholeheartedly with you on how exciting it is to do research these days, especially for an independent scholar with no university funding available. I still like spending time in the archives though. I spent this summer working in the papers of Carl Sandburg and I don’t think seeing them on the computer screen would have been as enlightening as seeing them in person, seeing that Sandburg wrote on any scrap of paper available and sometimes even wrote drafts of letters on letters that had been sent to him! Still, it would have been less expensive for me if the papers I needed from the Library of Congress were digitally available. Fun times!

    Best
    Rob


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