MOUNT VERNON — Civil War-era newspapers once published in Mount Vernon will come to life again in digital format thanks to a grant from The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County and the Ariel Foundation.
Digital reproductions of the Mount Vernon Democratic Banner and the Mount Vernon Republican will meet the technical standards set by the National Digital Newspaper Program and will be freely available through searches at Ohio Memory at www.ohio.memory.org. Ohio Memory is a collaborative digital library project of the Ohio Historical Society and the State Library of Ohio. The Ohio Historical Society will do the digital work.
The $8,300 grant was awarded to the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County. Lois Hanson, a retired Mount Vernon teacher with an interest in local history, wrote the grant request. Hanson is the manager of Paragraphs Bookstore in Mount Vernon.
“What is important is that a researcher will not have to be in a library in Knox County to read about the Civil War here,” Hanson said. “I certainly want to thank both foundations for funding this project, which will be valuable to genealogists, historians, researchers and students.”
Hanson does research into Jewish family life in 19th-century Mount Vernon and found that Civil War-era newspapers were not available to the public in Knox County. Hanson and her husband, Burt, had earlier borrowed microfilm of the Democratic Banner from the Mount Vernon News and then duplicated and donated the rolls to institutions in Knox County. “That brought research into the 20th century, but you still had to be in Knox County to do it,” Lois Hanson said. “Digitizing both newspapers makes them accessible and searchable to anyone, anywhere, and that brings us into the 21st century.” Once the project begins, it takes at least three months until the newspapers are available online. Hanson said that the process should begin the first of May and that she will inform the community when the project is completed.
The National Digital Newspaper Program is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and state projects to improve access to historic newspaper pages through the Library of Congress website Chronicling America (www.chroniclingamerica.org). The Ohio Historical Society is the contributing partner for Ohio and, by August, will have digitized over 200,000 pages of Ohio’s historical newspapers for the website. To see what Ohio papers have been digitized, visit www.chroniclingamerica.org/newspapers/ohio.