A Short Note on “The National Labor Tribune”

My journal article on Pittsburgh’s labor newspaper, “The National Labor Tribune,” officially exists. See pictorial evidence!
CPwJ2dVUkAIaJlv.jpg-thumbCPwJ2YoUsAA6RDE.jpg-thumbThis newspaper has been cited a lot as evidence, mostly in works about the history of labor and/or the Homestead Strike, but, as far as I know, this is the first article solely about the “National Labor Tribune.” My article deals with the men who wrote into the paper, but I am working on a presentation for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers right now that does a little more digging into the women who also read and wrote to the paper.

The newspaper is not currently digitized, so one (me) still has to slog through microfilm to do anything with it. I don’t really mind this, but I fear that the fact that this newspaper and many other historical newspapers from Pittsburgh and western PA are not digitized is causing the region to be left out of a lot of scholarship. So much of our research relies on items that have been digitized. And, for example, there is only one Pittsburgh newspaper on “Chronicling America.” This is bad for people who care about Pittsburgh, but it is also detrimental to those studying newspapers and print culture in the U.S. in the nineteenth century. I predominantly have anecdotal evidence right now, but Pittsburghers in the nineteenth century at least liked to talk about how many newspapers and newspaper writers were in the city. Also, the 1880 census shows that Pittsburgh had twice as many newspapers as similar cities of its size. I think there is a lot more to be done on Pittsburgh and newspapers, but the work would come a lot faster if there was more access to historical newspapers online.

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