Staten Island Historical Newspapers Update
In mid-May of 2016 we began posting Staten Island historical newspapers from old microfilm reels to their new home on the web.
When we launched there were very few digitized Island newspapers available on the web—only a few hundred pages total. We scanned over 9,000 scanned pages of the Richmond County Advance, provided by our partner Historic Richmond Town. The response since then has been gratifying. By the end of October we had 30,000 page views on NYS Historic Newspapers alone. It has been the number one NYC metropolitan area historical newspaper on since launch, outpacing papers with more than 10 times the number of pages scanned. We also included links to the Richmond County Mirror, previously scanned by NYPL, and Island papers like the Staten Island Leader and Staten Island Magazine uploaded by other institutions.
Now we are excited to announce that a new set of Island papers have been scanned and launched. The largest run is the Staten Island World, about 3,000 pages of it, from our partner the Staten Island Museum. It covers the years 1902-1920. We also uploaded the Richmond County Democrat 1890-92 (HRT), The Daily Advance 1920 (HRT & NYPL), and The Staten Island Independent 1894-95 (HRT).
Our SI historical newspaper posts have garnered over 500 facebook likes. We've added new content to the site, like more detailed instructions and teacher activities and a reproducible flier to let everyone know about the newspapers. There's also a new set of Staten Island Metropolitan baseball cards. We developed the cards using old newspaper pictures and articles. The Metropolitans, namesakes of today's NY Mets, played at the old St. George Cricket Grounds for two seasons in 1886 and 1887.
A Staten Island Mets baseball card and a photo from the P.S. 58 "Heroes on Camera" exhibit at Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library.
We've been busy presenting the project at local schools. There's currently a photogoraphy display by P.S. 58 summer camp students at the Todt Hill-Westerleigh branch of NYPL. The students photographed themselves as time-traveling superheroes saving the old Staten Island from the dangers depicted in the Advance articles. The students posed in front of electronic whiteboards displaying NYPL Digital Collections images of Staten Island as their backgrounds. We've had calls from all over the country from people researching their ancestors on Staten Island. One particularly interesting use we know of is a climate change scientist using the newspapers to research historical storm patterns on the Island.
It's been a thrilling start to an important project. We have more historical Staten Island papers in the pipeline for upload soon so keep checking back to discover new stories. We'd love to hear how you use nypl.org/sinewspapers and about the interesting articles you discover. We may feature them in our newspaper blog series: Found Staten Island Stories.
Funding for the digitization of Staten Island newspapers was provided through The New York Public Library's Innovation Project, which is made possible by a generous grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation.