Over 100 years of Daily Iowan archives launch today


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Daily Iowan Publisher Bill Casey was supposed to have been born a December baby. But a 1950 Iowa/Minnesota football game upset pushed his mother into early labor.

"I was actually at that game, but I wasn't born yet," he said and laughed. "And I never knew who won the game. [My mom] never told me that Iowa won 13 to nothing."

Casey was able to search through the new DI archive to discover the story about the victory, Headlined "Hawkeyes Whip Minnesota, 13-0."

Launching today, The Daily Iowan newspaper archive provides greater access to personal and national history — beginning in 1868.

The project has been a long time coming, Casey said.

The DI partnered with the University of Iowa Library in a four-year project to preserve the history of the newspaper.

"If you actually went to Special Collections and looked at the old papers, they were brittle," Casey said. "It was going to fall apart. We basically had to do something."

UI Libraries Archivist David McCartney said he and other librarians had recognized the need to improve access to the archive for years.

"We were looking at a very extensive amount of material to digitize," he said. "The scope of it was something beyond what we could do in a timely and efficient manner at the university."

And the accessibility to history is something a former DI editor and reporter said is a useful way to get a glimpse of history as it was first perceived.

"This is the first draft of our local history," said John Kenyon, now the editor of the Corridor Business Journal.

Kenyon said one notable incident for him was looking back at the Nov. 2, 1991, issue of the UI campus shooting by student Gang Lu.

"I was amazed about how much content was put out in just a span of few hours," Kenyon said.

Librarians digitized more than 400 volumes — 750,000 image files — of the DI's archived newspaper issues.

"I'm really glad to see this project come to fruition," McCartney said. "We are delighted that this is available online and for our researchers. It's a tremendous resource for anyone looking for university issues and also community history."

McCartney said the DI is one of the most consulted archives the UI Libraries offers. With the exception of two periods — the fall of 1918 and summer of 1984 — the archive is a complete set, he said.

Annette Schulte, the managing editor of the Gazette, was an editor at the DI in the early 1990s.

Now a Student Publications Inc. board member, Schulte said the new archive creates a wonderful resource for moving forward in the community.

"It's wonderful, of course," she said. "Have it out there where everyone can access it."

In today's issue:

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