The three hundred and sixty-fourth volume of the Archives of Maryland is
The Guide to Maryland Newspapers (external link).
Newspapers provide a contemporary record of daily life in Maryland. Famous newspaper historian and bibliographer, Clarence Brigham wrote in his Bibliography and History of American Newspapers, 1690-1820 "If all the printed sources of history for a certain century or decade had to be destroyed to save one, that which could be chosen with the greatest value to posterity would be a file of an important newspaper." (Brigham xvii)
The deterioration of these valuable historical documents is a serious conservation issue. Newspapers printed in the 18th and early 19th centuries are often in fairly good condition because they were printed on rag paper. Newspapers from about 1865 onwards were printed on cheap machine made wood-pulp paper which is very acidic. High acidity of paper makes it discolor and deteriorate faster than more pH neutral paper. Unlike books or manuscripts, newspapers were never meant to last lifetimes, they were meant to be read quickly and thrown away.
As a result of the fragility of historic newspapers, the Archives restricts all newspapers volumes and boxes. Any researcher wishing to view a physical newspaper, must make an appointment with a Special Collections Archivist. Some newspapers will only circulate under supervision and some newspapers won’t circulate at all. However, many newspapers are available on microfilm and can be viewed safely at the Archives. Scanning and microfilming original issues are the most effective and cost-efficient means of preserving the information in newspapers.
Since 1979, the Maryland State Archives has cooperated with concerned individuals, historical agencies, libraries, and newspaper publishers on the Maryland Newspaper Program. While collaborating with the Library of Congress and other institutions on the United States Newspaper Program, 1982-2011, around 1900 distinct Maryland newspaper titles were cataloged and entered into the Guide to Maryland Newspapers, which is hosted and maintained at the Maryland State Archives. The Maryland State Archives owns almost 1000 distinct Maryland newspaper title collections. Of those newspaper titles, over 600 have been completely or partially microfilmed.
The Archives sees preservation and access to newspapers as part of its vital mission to serve the public. There have been numerous efforts to digitize Maryland newspapers in the past, but they have been scattered and inconsistent. Starting in 2013 the Maryland State Archives began working with the University of Maryland on the National Digital Newspaper Program, a national effort, with the financial support of the Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Humanities. Maryland Newspapers are now being digitized, as part of the Program, and put online at the Chronicling America website.
Questions concerning newspapers or the program should be directed to:
Director, Maryland Newspaper Project
350 Rowe Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 21401