Chronicling America is an Amazing Resource

The front page of the Minneapolis Journal from January 2, 1904 and an ad for "One Good Buffalo Coat" from the classified section placed by my great-grandfather, John E. Borsch

As a family historian, seeking out resources and bringing them together is a delight. If you have the same sort of interest in history, then you really need to go poke around in the Chronicling America, Historic American Newspapers project.

Their mission, “Chronicling America is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories.

A curious ad for a furniture dealer who doubles as a funeral director...with a fine hearse too!

So far, they have 22 States and the District of Columbia newspapers encompassing the years 1860-1922. They are not just image scans…they optically character recognized all of the text within them so you can search for text! I chose “Minnesota” and typed in the string “borsch delano” since my great-grandfather had a store in Delano, MN and was a fairly prominent businessman. There were dozens of hits, many for real estate he bought and sold, but during this search I came across the ad above as well as all sorts of articles and ads, some of which made me laugh out loud like the one to your right.

Right on the interface as you view a page from a paper are links to view only text, view a PDF (or download it) as well as a JPEG2000 format image. I’ve downloaded high resolution PDFs of every instance where JE Borsch appears. 

Go and give it a try…

Posted in  


  1. Steve Borsch on February 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Hi MaryJo,

    I actually have a lot of details and some previous posts you might be interested in. The online information you might want to start with, however, is this handful of webpages I published because I was contacted by a woman named Ann Hayes. She works for the company that does so I put together a few photos I had and you will find them here.

    Here are the posts on this blog that I mentioned above:

    Time and Great Grandpa’s Pocketwatch

    Borsch’s Cheap * Cash * Store

    Remembering — and Preserving — our Past

    Email me at sborsch (at) gmail (dot) com and I can give you more or answer questions. Thanks for stopping by! I’m always anxious to learn more about my ancestry.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Posts by Category

Archives (2004 – Present)

Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.