I recently read an article about Marie Antoinette’s jewels been auctioned, which got me thinking about how far back our newspaper archives go and I thought try Proquest Historical Newspapers which has The Guardian (1821-2003), The Observer (1791-2003); Irish Times (1859-2010); Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958). So I simply put in “Marie Antoinette” in the search terms to see what I would get, I then re-ordered my search so I got the oldest items first and voilà, there in my search results was the Trial of Marie Antoinette and the Execution of the Queen of France, all from 225 years ago.
Trial of the Queen
The Observer published this article about the trial and execution of Marie Antoinette about 10 days after her execution.
This article includes commentary of the day some transcription from the trial including –
On Tuesday morning at nine o’clock, she was conducted in a private coach by Henroit, Commandant of the National Force of Paris, to the Revolutionary Tribunal. The people lined the streets, through which she passed, and repeatedly exclaimed “Vive la Republique!” …
The Greffier read the Act of Accusation as follows:
Marie Antoinette, widow of Louis Capet, has, since her abode in France, been the scourge and the blood sucker of the French.
Nothing like sorrow or pity for the Queen’s fate was shown by the people, who lined the streets, through which she had to pass. On her arrival at the place de la Revolution, she was helped out of the carriage, and ascended the scaffold with seeming composure. She was accompanied by a Priest, who discharged the office of Confessor, and gave her absolution,before she was ﬁxed to the fatal machine. She was in a half-mourning dress, evidently not adjusted with much attention. Her hands were tied behind her back, she looked around, apparently without much terror; her body being then bent forward by the machine,the axe was let down, and at once separated the head from the body. After the head was displayed by the Executioner, three young woman were observed dipping their handkerchiefs in the streaming blood of the deceased Queen. They were taken into Custody.
The historians and whakapapa researchers among you may already be familiar with Papers Past, an impressive and still-growing online resource from the National library. This site makes digitised versions of Aotearoa newspapers, magazines and journals, letters and diaries, and parliamentary papers available online, for free.
The fascinating newspaper section (believe me, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit-hole of reading old articles and advertisements for hours!) contains a wide range of digitised New Zealand and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries, including an important collection of newspapers/niupepa in Te Reo Māori (or in English for a Māori readership).
Many of these became available in 2015, when the National Library added a collection of historic newspapers. This latest online collection was based on the digital Niupepa Collection developed and made available in 2000 by the New Zealand Digital Library Project, at the Department of Computer Science, University of Waikato. The original source material for this was ‘Niupepa 1842-1933’, a collection of niupepa filmed by the Alexander Turnbull Library in the late 1980s and made available on microfiche in the 1990s.
There were three main types of Māori niupepa published over this period; government sponsored, Māori initiated, and religious. To see the current list of what’s available in this collection, take a look at the list on the Papers Past ‘about’ page.
There can be no denying how popular PressDisplay is. Over 19,000 newspapers were read in June alone and if there is ever a delay from PressDisplay (based in Vancouver) in getting the latest edition of The Press up then the phones here at the library run hot with angst.
Like all things technical upgrades are necessary to keep pace with the environment around them. PressDisplay is no different and in the coming months will shed its old interface like a caterpillar sheds its cocoon to evolve into a butterfly or in this case PressReader. There will still be unlimited access to newspapers and magazines from around the World but PressReader will be much more mobile friendly and provide access to features like instant translation and social sharing.
You can even set up your own account and customize what you want to see when you first open it. Personally I have the local newspaper the Press set up as a favourite as well as the Southland Times and the magazine Healthy Food Guide. You also get to download publications for later reading online or offline so you will never be stuck for quality reading material again.
At the moment when entering PressDisplay you will have the option to either try PressReader or PressDisplay. Feel free to use this time to investigate the changes to come or even set up your own account. The permanent swap over from PressDisplay to PressReader will happen on the 30th of August.
We have a number of these newspaper archives. Our customers like their historical, genealogical, political and social coverage. So why add The Independent? As per per its name, it aims to be a broadly centrist publication. It offers an alternative voice to the centre-right and right-wing views of The Times and the Daily Mail which we also provide access to. With no affiliations to any major political party or corporation it has taken some controversial stands including opposing the 2003 Iraq war and criticising the UK and US governments policies in regards to the War on Terror.
In short, it offers balance to the collection we already have. You can cross search this newspaper with numerous others using Gale NewsVault to help formulate your own balanced opinion or just browse through its issues and contemplate the fashion, gossip and news of the day. If it is news you are after – from today’s headlines or the headlines of 400 years ago we have online newspapers for you!
Wednesday 11 November is Armistice Day, when we remember New Zealanders and others who served in the First World War and other conflicts since. 2015 is 97 years since the agreement that ended fighting in the First World War came into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
While Anzac Day has become the main memorial day in New Zealand and Australia, events still take place on Armistice Day. Using resources such as Papers Past we can find out more about how the day has been celebrated and then commemorated over time.
Never before in the history of the city has such intense enthusiasm been displayed as yesterday, when the news of the signing of the armistice with Germany was received. The people streamed into the town, leaving the suburbs all but deserted. Throughout, the tramwaymen stuck heroically to their tasks, this factor being a large one in the general success of the celebrations.
A year later the Press laments how long it took to move from an armistice to a final peace treaty:
Just as nobody imagined, when the war broke out, that it would last for over four years, so few people, on November 11th last year, supposed that the world would, after twelve months, be as far as it is from a return to normal conditions.
At the British Library, there are over 32 kilometres of shelving that contain bound volumes of newspapers and over 13 kilometres of newspaper microfilm. Until now, the only way to view these newspapers was to visit the British Library and of course it was not possible to search them – until now.
The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership with the British Library to begin digitising this huge collection and make it available to researchers including us here in Christchurch.
What can I search?
News Articles – read about national events, as well as issues of local and regional importance;
Family Notices – search for your family’s birth, marriage and death notices plus related announcements including engagements, anniversaries, birthdays and congratulations;
Letters – read letters to the editor illuminating contemporary debates, aspirations and anxieties;
Advertisements – these include classifieds, shipping notices and appointments;
Illustrations – see photographs, engravings, graphics, maps and editorial cartoons.
So how do I start?
Due to license restrictions you can only access this eResource inside your local library. You will also need to first create your own account using your email address and password once you enter. Once this is done, you can freely access all content and organise all your research with your personal notes and bookmarks. My advice? Explore and be ready to lose track of time!
Before the internet, people had to try and contact others in other ways – including the personals in newspapers. This meant a large array of mysterious private information could be found in every local rag – leading to those outside the circle wondering just what had gone on.
For example in the Daily Mail on 4 May 1896 Bessie’s family were begging for her to contact them, promising no further reproaches. I think a nagging mother worried about her daughter’s boyfriend choices has led to a family divide here. Or am I just reading my own life experiences into it? Well you do, don’t you?
“Multiple Classified Advertising Items.” Daily Mail [London, England] 4 May 1896: . Daily Mail Historical Archive. Web. 20 July 2015.
Then there is Ivy who is drowning in marriage proposals but still thinking of “Oak” who made so many promises at the circus. I would like to say that “Oak” should have been in contact by now or he is just not that into you – a modern solution for a problem now over a hundred years old. This makes me a wee bit sad. I mean I want to know that Ivy and Bessie came out of all this ok?
Then there is Uncle Jim who sounds best left alone despite his niece’s pleas – but then again just what did he pawn? Diplomacy is also evident in the personals with a ‘’gentleman who took away by mistake” being kindly asked to return the trap and pony that had been left outside the Star and Garter. I mean it could have been taken by mistake? A pony and trap does not have its own pair of individual keys to make it go.
Reading these handful of personals from the Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004 reminds me that problems never really change – money, love and family. Mums still make daughters crazy, men still make romantic promises they fail to keep, and people still lose things outside the pub today – just like they did 100 years ago.
The digi-boffins at National Library of New Zealand have been hard at work adding even more great historical newspapers to their Papers Past resource, and just in time for Samoan Language Week they’ve made some historical Pasifika newspapers available.
The recently added Samoan material is from the following newspapers and years –
Papers Past contains more than three million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1945 and includes 93 publications from all regions of New Zealand.
The latest additions are good for your Christchurch historical explorations. Copies of The Press from 1929 to 1935 have been added. Critical years of The First World War – 1915 to 1917 – have been added to the run of The Star.