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History / Media

All 760k pages of historic Brooklyn Daily Eagle now digitized

A partnership with Newspapers.com has given Internet users worldwide access to the complete archive of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Brooklyn Public Library completes one bridge to the past. Original caption: "Verrazano Bridge under construction" from the BPL photo collection. Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection. NOTE Irving I. Herzberg.

According to Ivy Marvel, an archivist in the Brooklyn Public Library‘s Brooklyn Collection, their archive of the complete run of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, gets used heavily every day in its microfilm form. As we previously reported, the library had succeeded in digitizing the paper from its launch until 1902, but that left a half century undigitized. Patrons were clamoring for the rest, Marvel told us.

Now, thanks to a partnership with Newspapers.com, the library has digitized the full run and made it available to the world wide web for free. We got a look at the new digital collections and features Friday morning in a presentation at the library, led by Marvel. There’s another one coming up at 7pm on May 6th at the Main Library on Grand Army Plaza.

The Eagle is the legendary daily newspaper that was published in the borough from 1841 to 1955 and once featured Walt Whitman as editor. Though tied in spirit, the Brooklyn Eagle of today is a different entity entirely.

The new site is called The Brooklyn Newsstand. Here’s a few of the points Marvel shared about the new resource on Friday morning:

  • While Newspapers.com is a paid site, if you come to the Daily Eagle collection by way of the link above or through links on BPL’s site, you’ll have access to the Brooklyn collection for free. And more papers and publications are coming to the collection (up next, society magazine Brooklyn Life).
  • Users don’t even have to be members of the library to use the site.
  • The full archive has 761,019 pages of newspaper archived, up some 600,000 pages from what they had in the collection up to 1902.
  • Search of the text of the papers is possible based on what the scans found by Optical Character Recognition. To read the papers, users need to zoom in on the image and read the original text. Because so much of the Newspapers.com collection is under copyright, they don’t show plaintext of what their scans find.
  • Browsing over a certain period of time is also possible. Users are shown thumbnails of pages and can then open up specific pages. Once a page is open a filmstrip at the bottom of the page enables more browsing of that issue of the paper.
  • Many of the photos in the paper are available in the BPL’s photo collection at higher quality. The library has about 15,000 of the paper’s 200,000 photos so far, with more coming. If you need a better version of one that isn’t in the digital collection yet, contact the Brooklyn Collection about finding it.
  • Stories can be clipped, printed, saved or shared.
  • Clipping will be especially useful for people doing deeper research. Once you’ve created a free account with Newspapers.com, you can keep track of stories you need for whatever project you are doing, privately.

It’s worth noting that the digitization didn’t cost the library anything. The Daily Eagle collection is something Marvel referred to as “an orphaned work,” turned over to the library in 1957 by the last publisher of the paper, which means its copyrights are a non-issue. Yet, the paper was once the most widely read afternoon paper in America and because so many Americans trace their families back to Brooklyn, it was in Newspapers.com interest to add the papers to their collection. So a project that was priced out at something like $500,000 ended up getting done at no cost to the borough.

The Brooklyn Collection has digitized many other resources, including photo, city directors, civil war materials and ephemera. The best way to search those materials, according to Marvel is by using the classic catalog, here.

Follow the Brooklyn Collection on Tumblr and Twitter.

Companies: Brooklyn Public Library
Series: Brooklyn

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