Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bangor Newspaper Digitizaton Project (You Can Help) - Part 2

The first newspapers of record for Bangor began in 1873 as The Bangor Journal.  That title lived a short life and in fact no issues are known to have survived.  By 1874, The Bangor Reflector came into being and was in publication for several years to be followed by a series of titles.  The longest-running title was The Bangor Advance which continued until 1983, followed by other titles until the final printing in 1985.

The original microfilming in 1987 began with January 1, 1875 and ended with April 19, 1983.  Although the collection was fairly complete, there were gaps or missing issues.  Those missing that have been identified include:

February 20, March 6 & 27, September 25 (1875)
Sep 19 – Nov 28 (1879)
May 18 & 25, June 1 (1883)
July 23, December 30 (1886)
January 7, 1887
April 27, 1888
March 15-29, 1889
June 20, October 10 (1890)
October 4, 1895
June 30, 1899
January 5 & 12, May 25, August 10, all of October, 
                                        November 9 thru December 28 (1900)
January 11, February 8, March 1 thru 15 (1901)
May 1, September 11, October 9 (1903)
January 1, December 30 (1904)
September 22, 1905
January 26, March 16, May 4, June 1, August 31, November 16 (1906)
December 18, 1908
February, all; March 4, 18 & 25 (1910)
Jan 17 thru March 2, June 13 & 27, August 8 (1913)
May 15, 22 & 29, September 25 (1914)
February 12, June 25, July 9 (1915)
November 30, 1917
October 14, December 30 (1920)
June 21, 1928
January 2, 1941
1943 - entire year
July 5, 1945
January 1, 1948
1955 - entire year
August 3, 1966
January 1, 1969
January 31, 1978
January 16, 1979
January 1, 1980              

There is no question that most of these issues existed at one time and that they may still exist somewhere in private hands.  Individuals don't always realize what a precious piece of history they may have in the form of a folded up issue of a newspaper in their attic or closet, an issue that may be the only one in existence.  And, in the absence of complete issues, portions or select articles may be tucked away in a book or bible, or lovingly placed in scrapbooks.  Whatever the form, they are an important part of history.

For the purpose of the current digitization project, we are attempting to use as many original papers as possible, versus microfilm images.  There are some for which we've located part years, but not all of them.  Those years that still need to be located in their entirety include 1956 thru 1959 and 1961 thru 1980.  
Many of the earlier issues that we have located are in poor condition, too poor to be scanned without some prep work.  According to the technical department, some issues will either need to be "pieced" together using archival tape, or pages may need to be placed inside a protective film cover.  In either case, the cost for having this done will be considerable, so we will be depending on volunteers to help with this step.

The question about whether or not the digital images of the Bangor newspaper will go online for search, view & download depends almost entirely on cost.  At a minimum, the images will be available at the Decatur and Bangor branches of the Van Buren District Library.  Launching onto an online environment incurs costs for the initial upload and ongoing maintenance.  

How can you help?
  1. Report to us any knowledge of "missing" issues (or partial issues) as listed above so that we may make arrangements to borrow them long enough for digitization
  2. Sign up to become a volunteer to assist with preparation of the newspapers for scanning
  3. Make a monetary donation toward the digitization process, or perhaps toward online launch costs
 Anyone with an interest in Bangor and its history will be thrilled with the digitized newspapers.  Imagine sitting down to a computer and searching for the occurrence of a particular surname over 110 years and getting results in seconds, followed up by seeing the actual image.  And, once you've located the item(s) of interest, crop, save and print it in a snap.  

Those of us who have spent hours in front of a microfilm reader cranking away, squinting our eyes trying to read nearly illegible text...or if you live no where near Michigan and have had no way to access the papers at all...or try to research the history of a business spanning 60 years without reading through multiple reels of get the picture.

For more information about the Bangor newspaper digitization project, or to make a donation of your time or a monetary gift, please contact the library by e-mail or call us at (269)423-4771.  Thank you.

           Nameless Picture of the Day

            Graduating Class, Woodward School, Kalamazoo, 1945

 Can you identify any or all of the students in this group photo from Woodward School?  This was a beautiful photo acquired from a yard sale.    Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog. 

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