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Digitization of the Washington Evening Star, 1852-1981: Comments from Researchers

Posted on 10/15/2012

From the Readex digital edition

Following the recent news that Readex is now offering institutions access to the complete historical run of the Washington Evening Star, here are comments from two leading researchers familiar with this influential newspaper.

“In digitizing The Evening Star, the leading daily newspaper of Washington, D.C., for more than a century, Readex has established a bright and promising new horizon for anyone looking back at the well-known—and the long-forgotten—people, places, and events that have defined the nation’s capital city.  “No other source compares to the Washington Evening Star for exploring the 19th- and 20th-century history of the District and surrounding areas. Star reporters rode the early- and late-morning street cars, investigated all manner of vice, crime, and murder, and kept tabs on local and national political figures, socialites, and business people. From every area of the city—from Georgetown to Capitol Hill to Anacostia—the Star offered the people’s news of the day with unrivaled fact, clarity, wit, and tenacity. Decade after decade it led its contemporaries in circulation for a reason. What an amazing online resource this is for D.C. researchers at all levels.”

— John Muller, author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C: The Lion of Anacostia (The History Press, 2012)

“But aside from locating hidden information, providing color, and giving us access to complete AP reports, the digitization of newspapers is also altering our interpretation of the past in other consequential ways. Researchers frequently make the anachronistic mistake of presuming that today’s dominant newspaper was the dominant one of the past. Yet this is often not the case. The New York Times had a smaller staff and covered less news than its rivals a century ago. And the Washington Post, famous for bringing down a President in the 1970s, played second fiddle to the Washington Star prior to the 1960s.”

— James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power (HarperCollins, 2010)

For more information about the Readex digital edition of the Evening Star, or to request a free trial for your institution, please contact

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