MOUNT VERNON — A hole has been filled in local microfilm newspaper archives. Tuesday, Lois and Burt Hanson of Mount Vernon presented copies of the Civil War years of the Mount Vernon Democratic Banner to the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Kenyon College, Mount Vernon Nazarene University and the Knox County Historical Society.
For unknown reasons, the only known microfilm copies of the Banner from March 1858 through October 1865 in Knox County were in the files of the Mount Vernon News. Lois Hanson discovered this when she began researching 19th century Jewish families in Mount Vernon.
“I had a hole in my research,” said Hanson. “I was told the only place I could go (to see newspapers from the Civil War years) was the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. I couldn’t do that every day.”
Hanson said “the light went on” one day while she was reading the News and realized the “From our Files” feature included items from 150 years ago.
“So I called the paper and was told ‘Yes, we have the Civil War years of the Banner.’ They didn’t know they were the only ones to have them,” she said.
“The News was very supportive of having them copied,” she added, and cited the assistance of Newspaper in Education Manager Michelle Hartman and Advertising Manager Corby Wise in arranging for her to take the two reels of film to Endicott Microfilm in Hamilton, Ohio to be copied.
Library Director John Chidester said he was “very grateful” to Hanson and the News for providing the copies of the microfilm.
“We’re hoping to get the films digitized as part of the Ohio Memory Project to get the Civil War years into a digital format,” Chidester said.
He also said they have a long-term goal of filling in other gaps in the Library’s microfilm collection if any papers from those gaps are included in any other collections.