Digitizing the Angelo Principe Italian-Canadian Newspaper Collection

Adapted from The ‘Angelo Principe’ Italian Canadian Newspaper Collection by Dr. Matteo Brera

Mastehad of La Vittoria (The Victory) Italian-Canadian newspaper

In 2014, researcher and scholar Dr. Angelo Principe donated his extensive newspaper and book collection to the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections of York University Libraries. The ‘Angelo Principe Collection’ includes materials entrusted to him for preservation by Italian Canadian activists from the first half of the twentieth century like Attilio Bortolotti and Benny Bottos, as well as the surviving documents belonging to Augusto Bersani, transnational political activist, facilitator and secret agent for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Six years later, a key part of the collection was digitized in a collaboration between Michael Moir, Head of the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, and OurDigitalWorld, resulting in a unique online collection of rare interwar Italian-language newspapers published in North America. These include Il Bollettino Italo-Canadese, Il Cittadino Canadese, Il Giornale Italo-Canadese, Il Lavoratore, L’Araldo del Canada, L’Italia, L’Italia Nuova, L’Italo Canadese, L’Operaio Italo-Canadese, La Vittoria, La Voce degli Italo-Canadesi, and La Voce Operaia. The newspapers were processed using OurDigitalWorld’s multilingual Optical Recognition Software (OCR) and are full text searchable in both English and Italian.

The significance of this donation cannot be overstressed. Thanks to Michael Moir’s vision in working with OurDigitalWorld, and to Dr. Matteo Brera for his work adding rich contextual and descriptive metadata to the collection items, Dr. Principe’s legacy for the study of the construction of the Italian Canadian identity and transcultural exchanges between the Old and the New World is manifest in this online collection, providing an invaluable research tool to be used and enjoyed by scholars and the community.

Explore the collection at https://vitacollections.ca/yul-italiancanadiannewspapers/search

This research and digitization project was conceptualized and directed by Dr. Matteo Brera (mbrera@yorku.ca) and was made possible by generous funding from the Zorzi Family Italian-Canadian Archival Fund, established in 2017 and dedicated to encouraging the study of Italian-Canadian archival materials. The project was also sponsored by York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.  

Daily British Whig 1902-1926 now online

OurDigitalWorld is excited to announce that the Daily British Whig from 1902-1926 is online. The Frontenac Heritage Foundation undertook the project to digitize this significant set of community news, covering the first of the World Wars, and make the papers available as part of the larger Kingston newspaper collection hosted by the Kingston Frontenac Public Library.

With the addition of these almost 90,000 pages, the online Kingston newspaper collection has doubled and now ranges more than 100 years, from 1810-1926. The Digital Kingston VITA Toolkit site at http://vitacollections.ca/digital-kingston/search allows users to search by keyword and facet results to sort or narrow them by date, publication, and more.

Daily British Whig October 9, 1909

OurDigitalWorld worked with Library and Archives Canada via the Canadian Research Knowledge Network to access and digitize the microfilm copies, and with University of Windsor to achieve high quality positional OCR processing. The newspapers are uploaded into the VITA Digital Toolkit for search and display with full text search and hit highlighted results. Frontenac Heritage Foundation member John Grenville used the new primary materials to research a local architect Ernest Beckwith, designer of the Orpheum Theatre in Kingston, and returned very specific results.

ODW, Kingston Frontenac Public Library and the Frontenac Heritage Foundation encourage genealogists, students, and other researchers’ use and exploration of this important set of newspapers. To read the full press release and for contact information regarding the project, click here.

Featured Image courtesy of Maritime History of the Great Lakes Digital collection