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10/05/2013

Early Chester County Newspapers Now Available Digitally

Quick Facts

 Since July, staff and volunteers at the Louise Pettus Archives have worked to scan the microfilm images of the Palmetto Standard (1851-1853) and its successor, the Chester Standard (1854-1857).
 Gina White, director of the archives, said her office has partnered with the Chester County Library Board and will share the results with the Chester-based organization.

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Gina White
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Archivists at Winthrop University’s Dacus Library will have ready next week the first batch of Chester County newspapers in digital form.

Since July, staff and volunteers at the Louise Pettus Archives have worked to scan the microfilm images of the Palmetto Standard (1851-1853) and its successor, the Chester Standard (1854-1857). Copies of the Chester Lantern (1897-1909) are next in line.

Gina White, director of the archives, said her office has partnered with the Chester County Library Board and will share the results with the Chester-based organization.

In the next few months, the Winthrop archives also will have miscellaneous copies of the Chester Bulletin and the Chester Reporter.

The work is possible through a $14,000 Lutz Foundation grant which was used to purchase equipment to assist in the microfilm digitization of area papers.

Newspaper and document digitization is part of a statewide project. Dacus Library is joining other South Carolina university libraries in conducting a massive, multi-year effort to digitize Palmetto State media.

Researchers have long complained to librarians how difficult and time-consuming it is to search on microfilm. Mark Herring, Winthrop’s dean of library services, said it is growing increasingly difficult and costly to acquire microfilm, plus there is no search feature to aid researchers in finding information quickly.

The long-term plan for archives is to make the digitized records available to researchers and the general public where applicable under new copyright court rulings.

Other newspapers to be digitized include the Winthrop student paper, The Johnsonian (1923-present), and original historical records related to Chester and York counties, such as the York County Soldiers Board of Relief Papers, 1862-1863, which relate to York and Chester counties’ militia troop strength during the Civil War.

The Chester-based Lutz Foundation has provided three other grants between 2001-03 totaling $22,500 for the library’s digitization efforts. These grants made possible the Archives and Special Collections digitized website, which currently provides access to some 126 collections and 2,785 images.

The Lutz Foundation was established in 1995 after the deaths of Clarence H. and Anna E. Lutz of Chester, S.C., and was designed to help fund religious, community, educational, health and welfare needs in the Upstate area. The foundation’s mission is to enrich as many lives as possible with the funds available each year.

For more information, contact Herring at herringm@winthrop.edu or call him at 803/323-2232.

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