Get Some Teen Perspective With Digitized High School Newspapers From Brooklyn Public Library

Students at Erasmus High School working on an issue of The Dutchman in 1950. Photo via Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection

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    If you needed another excuse to spend a day in a historic record dive, Brooklyn Collection at Brooklyn Public Library has a new resource ready for you with the digitization of more than 900 high school newspapers.

    Their latest digitization project adds to the growing list of research tools for the Brooklyn history lover. The new resource includes the work of Brooklyn student journalists in 925 issues produced by 55 schools across the borough. The publication dates span 1853 to 1994, although a quick perusal shows the highest concentration of papers is from 1958 to 1964.

    The digital copies are hosted via Internet Archive, a digital library with a treasure trove of materials for researchers, and are available for immediate perusal from the comfort of your own home. While the newspapers have been collected by the library for years, access has been restricted. “Unfortunately many of them were in very poor condition due to how often they were used in the past and we had to limit access,” Natiba Guy-Clement, Manager of Special Collections at Brooklyn Public Library, told Brownstoner. “We were very fortunate to receive funding to digitize the physical issues.”

    With great titles like The Gleaner, Red Owl, The Dutchman and the Lincoln Log there’s lots of very local news to peruse. In addition to articles about dress codes, student elections and sports results there’s also plenty of student perspective on local and national issues. You can read the reaction of East New York students to the assassination of President Kennedy in a 1963 edition of the Thomas Jefferson High School’s Liberty Bell or check out the last copy of the Girls High Record before the historic Bed Stuy school closed in 1964. If you want to find out what Brooklynites like Janet Yellen, Bobby Fischer, Bernie Sanders and Shirley St. Hill (Chisholm) were up to during their school years you can do a text search for any mentions.

    bed stuy girls high school newspaper

    The last edition of the Girls High Record before its closure in 1964. Image via Brooklyn Collection, Brooklyn Public Library

    The Brooklyn Collection started in 1997 as part of the History Division, with a small book collection focused on the borough. It now holds more than 5,000 books and an archive that includes 200,000 photographs, manuscripts, newspapers, sheet music and more.

    Expanding the digitized newspapers available is an important part of increasing accessibility to Brooklyn history. The collection has been upping its digital presence over the last year or so with a revamped main online portal with direct access to maps, postcards, oral histories and other digitized treasures.

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