UVA Library Tweets News Wire Copy from JFK's Assassination
Tweets from UVA Library
Friday, people aren't just remembering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, they are reliving it - 50 years later.
The University of Virginia Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library has been tweeting the same information that came across news wires following the assassination - in real time.
The tweets started around 1:45 p.m. Friday, the same time the information started coming out on news wires 50 years ago.
The tweets are as authentic as it gets. They come directly from an original teletype machine printout.
"The president slumped over in the back seat, face down,” is the first of hundreds of tweets on the special collection library's Twitter.
The tweets are verbatim from a United Press International (UPI) teletype broadcast.
"It is what people heard who were listening to the radio to find out what was happening,” said Molly Schwartzburg, curator at the special collections library.
This radio-ready copy isn't a copy itself - it's the original. The 40 feet worth of paper comes from the UPI bureau in Jacksonville, Florida.
A Charlottesville man that worked at UPI years ago decided the script was worth keeping.
"It was his job to participate in the transmission of this information from that bureau to radio audiences and at the end of the day he decided that it was important enough that it needed to be saved, and so he took it home instead of rather let it go in the dustbin,” said Schwartzburg.
Bradley Daigle, UVA library's director of digital curation services, says if the assassination took place today, information would unfold on Twitter.
"I said these look oddly enough like little tweets chunked out with a time stamp. I said why don't we take the original, digitize it, and then break up the text in it and then try to send it out as tweets,” said Daigle.
Hundreds of tweets, seconds apart, cover the library's Twitter page, bringing the historic radio-copy onto the Internet.
The scroll was a gift to the special collection library.
Students spent hours putting the scroll into digital form on the library's website. To access the digital form in its entirety, click here.
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