–By Eli Hughes
The University of Louisville’s Archive and Special Collections Department has digitized all issues of The Louisville Cardinal dating back to 1926 when the newspaper was founded.
Thomas Owen, an archivist for regional history, led the project as an effort to preserve campus history and make it easier to access. Owen and the archives and special collections team wanted to pursue the project but didn’t have the funding.
That was before he worked on a project for David Jones Jr. and his wife Mary Wheeler. Jones’s parents had been active in the university community and he wanted a way to honor them and demonstrate their legacy to their family.
They ended up doing a bus tour of the university and Owen helped create books that the family could keep to remember the moments. To complete that project for the family, he had to go through old issues of the newspaper by hand. When the project was complete Jones asked how he could repay Owen for his work.
Owen told them that they could fund a project that would make combing through issues of the school paper much easier.
Now, the issues can be found on the archive’s website and issues can be sorted based on dates, names and keywords. The digitization of this resource is invaluable for students, researchers and the administration who need insight into the university’s history.
Owen says that it is important to preserve student newspapers because they can act as a mirror of the particular time they cover.
“The articles that are selected, the stories and their biases that are reflected, are all seen in the newspaper,” Owen said.
This means that the collection of newspapers can act as a time capsule for the university and illustrate not only the university news of the time but also how students reacted to historical events.
Carrie Daniels, director of archives and special collections, agreed that student newspapers are a valuable resource. “College and university newspapers are a great way to learn about student life. How they experienced not just what was happening on campus but how they experienced things that happened outside,” Daniels said.
The Louisville Cardinal has served this role for the university since its creation in 1926. That was the year after U of L acquired a lot of the land that makes up the campus today, and university life had just started to really take shape. “The Cardinal becomes the documentation of this university in its new life, no, its expanded life,” Owen said.
The collection of newspapers from 1925 to 2013 can be found at https://digital.library.louisville.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/cardinal/.
File Graphic// The Louisville Cardinal