Society Launches Digitization Campaign to “Save Our Newspapers”

Elisabeth Wright, a researcher at the Society, searches through back copies of the Cecil Whig on one of the Society’s aging microfilm readers.

By Bruce Leith

The Historical Society of Cecil County is kicking off a new fundraiser which will help make the past more accessible.  The Society has accumulated a vast microfilm collection containing most of the newspapers that have been printed in Cecil County since the 19th Century.  Besides complete holdings of the Cecil Whig, this resource includes weeklies from such bygone titles as the Cecil Democrat, the Cecil Star, the Midland Journal, the Appeal, Cecil County News, the Perryville Record, the Rising Sun Journal, and the Elkton Press just to name a few.

But technology has improved as film and readers, research tools from an earlier era, are slowly being phased out.  The technology now exists to digitize all of the serials so they can be read on a computer.  To do this, the Society has received a quote of about $80 a roll to convert the film to a digital format.

To successfully create the e-products, the keepers of Cecil’s heritage have kicked off a new campaign called “Save our Newspapers – Save our History.”   Individuals and businesses can donate funds for a single roll (which encompass issues for one or two years) or they can contribute a set amount to cover the entire run of the paper.  The cost runs from $80 to do the Elkton Courier to $12,700 to donate to the entire series of the Cecil Democrat.  For each digitized roll, the sponsor will be recognized as the underwriter preserving the valuable editions.

“This is a great way for businesses in the community to show support and also to receive credit every time the paper is accessed.  It is also a great way to memorialize a loved one who may have passed away as well as a great gift for someone special,” said Bruce Leith who is coordinating the program.  All donations are fully tax deductible as the Society is a registered 501c3.  To get more information about the program, to make a pledge, or to see what newspapers are available contact the Historical Society either by email at newspaper@cecilhistory.org or stop in at 135 E. Main Street in Elkton.

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2 responses to “Society Launches Digitization Campaign to “Save Our Newspapers”

  1. We have 1880 – 1900 covered in multiple newspapers. There are no census records for 1890, so these papers are an invaluable resource for finding relatives.
    For some reason I can’t access the link above.

    I’ll do the Perryville Record.

  2. Thanks so much Jo Ann for supporting the preservation of the Perryville Record. We also had another contributor today.

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