Evjue Grants Give Boost to Digitizing the Daily Cardinal

November 15, 2022

by Abby Winterburn, Libraries Communications Assistant

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives’ effort to ensure generation after generation can access the news and events of the past well into the future recently got a boost, thanks to two significant grants. The ongoing work by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries’ University Archives to digitize The Daily Cardinal received two grants from the Evjue Foundation in 2021 and 2022 totaling $18,000. The digitization of issues from the well-known student newspaper is a welcome project that will eventually allow students, faculty, researchers, and the public to access issues spanning nearly 130 years. 

William W. Young of Monroe, Wisconsin, founded The Daily Cardinal in 1892.
May 3, 1949 – from UWDC

The Daily Cardinal was founded in 1892 by William Wesley Young who named the paper after UW-Madison’s official colors, cardinal and white. Currently, the publication is published online every day, with print editions published on Thursdays. 

The Daily Cardinal is one of our most requested and consulted resources. It provides such a rich student perspective about what was happening during any given moment in history and how students at UW-Madison documented, reacted, and shared opinions,” says University Archivist Katie Nash.

Digitizing The Daily Cardinal ensures the preservation of pieces of history – taking delicate paper crumbling from years of exposure to daily elements into a format that provides broad access without the risk of continuous handling. With preservation at the heart of what the University Archives does, digitization offers yet one more layer to ensuring items can always be referenced, even if the original physical items become too damaged to use in the future. Most digitization projects are overseen by Digital and Media Archivist, Cat Phan.

“Many of our issues of The Daily Cardinal are in poor shape due to heavy use and handling over several decades. Printed newspapers were not meant to last decades or even 100 years! It’s essential for us to migrate the paper format to a digital version not only for long-term preservation purposes,” says Nash. “It also ensures this well-known student newspaper is available and accessible to future generations.” 

Receiving funding from the Evjue Foundation for The Daily Cardinal holds an even deeper meaning for the University Archives and UW-Madison Libraries, given the purpose of this project. 

As one of the most influential editors in the industry, William T. Evjue started as a newspaperman, later quitting his job to pursue his paper. His newspaper often displayed Wisconsin’s natural scenic views and the problems facing them, such as river and stream pollutants. Using these dynamic images, Evjue advocated for conservation awareness and legislation. 

The Evjue Foundation, which serves as the charitable arm of The Capital Times, captures the spirit of the man who dedicated his life and works to nurturing public service and enhancing the lives of people in Wisconsin. It rings true to the concept of the Wisconsin Idea and comes full circle to the importance of preservation, leading right back to the dedicated mission of the University Archives. 

“We’re deeply grateful to the Evjue Foundation for their support of libraries and archives,” says David Pavelich, Director of Special Collections and Archives and Interim Director of Collections. “Without the generosity of foundations like the Evjue Foundation, we couldn’t possibly achieve everything we aspire to achieve. This project – which emphasizes both access and preservation – embodies the best of what archives and archivists do: we make historical collections accessible to local and global user communities. The history of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is, indeed, global history.” 

Want to help? Learn more about how you can support the Archives’ work!

Cover image: Staff members work in the Daily Cardinal office, taking a paper off the printer, from UWDC.