Monthly Archives: May 2009

I’ve been wrapping Der Deutsche Correspondent in archival Tyvek for a couple weeks now. It’s slightly more time consuming than I originally thought it would be, but it is still enjoyable. I’m happy to wrap these precious newspapers in archival materials to better preserve them. The photographs below illustrate a portion of the process. The Tyvek is rolled out on a table, the bound volumes are placed on the Tyvek as the meauring tool, the Tyvek is cut, the bound volume is unwrapped, and the volume is re-wrapped in Tyvek. I have printed four labels per volume to stick on the top, sides, and one end of the volume so that someone searching in our storage area could easily find the volume they are looking for.








After much planning and consideration, I began my Tyvek project yesterday. All 98 volumes of Der Deutsche Correspondent that we hold are currently wrapped in brown craft paper. These newspapers will be sent to an outside vendor for digitization, so keeping them wrapped in a material that needs to be ripped in order to remove is just not practical. I am removing the craft paper from each book and wrapping them in Tyvek.

Tyvek is actually a registered trademark of DuPont. Tyvek is high-density polyethylene fibers, a synthetic material. Tyvek is very strong – it is difficult to tear but can be cut easily with scissors. It is a very breathable material as well as liquid-proof. You may have seen Tyvek wrapped around buildings and houses while under construction, used as car covers, envelopes, or CD/DVD sleeves. New Zealand even used this material for drivers license’s from 1986 to 1999. Bank notes have also been made using Tyvek.


I have set up a table in the storage area where the collection is held. It’s best not to move a collection from one place to another if you don’t have to. The more this collection moves, the more damage will be done. Armed with scissors, four rolls of Tyvek, blue painter’s tape (which is the best to hold the Tyvek together because it can be easily removed), a Ticonderoga pencil, and 66 pages of labels (four labels per bound volume), I will have these volumes ready for digitization in a few days.

Below is an example of an early volume that I found that is not bound. These loose editions are sandwiched between two mat boards and tied together with string. Not only does this makeover allow me to provide an acid-free environment for the newspaper, but it allows me to see each and every volume. This is important in order to relay my findings to the vendor that will be digitizing the collection.



The first public announcement of the digitization of Der Deutsche Correspondent and the creation of the Hilgenberg Archive was made in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of Maryland Historical Society News, which was released late last week. The article featured in this issue is on page 10, titled, “Resurrecting Print Media: Digitizing Der Deutsche Correspondent“. It was written by myself and edited by Joe Tropea of the City Paper. The photograph is of Mr. Hilgenberg and I browsing a later volume of Der Deutsche Correspondent. I have included the short article below.

Resurrecting Print Media: Digitizing Der Deutsche Correspondent

The past year has seen many American newspapers fold or go online only. As anxiety about the death of newsprint increases, MdHS is set to embark on a project that will provide access to an important German-American newspaper from its holdings, Der Deutsche Correspondent. Thanks to a generous grant provided by the Charles Edward Hilgenberg Fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation and the support of Mr. John Hilgenberg and family, digitizing the collection will yield a valuable resource for a wide variety of researchers.

Between 1725 and 1775, German was widely spoken in the United States as a tide of German immigrants landed upon its shores, many of them settling in Maryland. Among them was Frederick Raine. He immigrated to Baltimore in late 1840 after having spent time in M√ľnster, Germany, working as a newspaper apprentice. After only a few months in the city, he saw the need for a German-language newspaper. Just shy of his eighteenth birthday, Raine began printing Der Deutsche Correspondent.

Der Deutsche Correspondent was in print from 1841 through 1918. It grew from a weekly to a bi-weekly, and finally to a prominent daily paper. As owner, founder, and editor, Raine was held in high regard for providing a first-class newspaper to the German-speaking population of the region. His newspaper reported on important historical events such as the European Revolutions of 1848, the American Civil War, and the Franco-Prussian War, conflicts in Asia, Italy, and Austria, and countless political campaigns.

MdHS is proud to have the most substantial known collection of Der Deutsche Correspondent. It consists of 98 bound volumes, totaling 84,000 pages of newsprint. In order to digitize these extremely fragile newspapers, the bound editions require a high-performance overhead scanning system that will provide a high-resolution digital surrogate of each page to allow every word on every page to be legible.

The goals include providing web-based access to Der Deutsche Correspondent, and implementing a Maryland German Heritage program based at MdHS. An annual open house, a potential joint-exhibition with a museum in Germany, and internships for German-language students are also being considered.

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