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St. John Fisher College’s Lavery Library Completes Frederick Douglass Collection Digitization Project


St. John Fisher College’s Lavery Library staff has completed digitizing the newspaper portion of the Library’s Frederick Douglass Collection, making 147 of his influential newspapers accessible to the community-at-large.

Last February, the Library received a grant from the Rochester Regional Library Council, which helped fund “Digitize the Oversize,” a project aimed at digitizing a variety of scrapbooks and historical newspapers from the Library’s Special Collections and Archives.

The project included the Library’s Frederick Douglass Newspaper Collection, which has 111 issues of the Frederick Douglass Paper, eight issues of The North Star, seven issues of the Douglass’ Monthly, and 21 issues of the New National Era.

Douglass, an abolitionist, spent 25 years of his life in Rochester, where he published The North Star, Frederick Douglass' Paper, and Douglass' Monthly. Lavery Library had the original copies of the newspapers, including a rare copy of The North Star published on February 22, 1850, where he incorporated an intricate drawing of a slave running to the North Star in the masthead.

The digital collection is housed on the New York Heritage website. New York Heritage is a project of the NY 3Rs Association, Inc., an organization that enables libraries to better serve their users through dynamic programs, innovative collaborations, and shared resources. New York Heritage is a research portal for students, educators, historians, genealogists, and anyone else who is interested in learning more about the people, places, and institutions of New York State.

“By placing the newspaper images on the New York Heritage site, these historical resources are available to anyone, anywhere. Not only can they be viewed and enlarged, they can be searched for specific names, ideas, and other information. It’s an invaluable tool for scholars and researchers alike,” said Melissa Jadlos, Director, Lavery Library.

WROC-TV Channel 8 interviewed Jadlos for a story on the project.

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