Forgotten, but not gone
“Too many of the correspondents of a newspaper seem to consider it as a tabula rasa, or carte blanche, upon which any thing may be scribbled.”–Philadelphia National Gazette, December 7, 1830
As Carly Dearborn was preparing the United States newspapers at UT’s Collection Deposit Library for their move to the Library Storage Facility, she began finding more and more newspapers that had never been catalogued, including four from Austin: one from 1880, one from 1883, one from 1907, and one from 1911. These have now been removed to the Perry-Castenada Library to be catalogued.
A number of these forgotten newspapers were perhaps considered minor; perhaps so many newspapers were flowing in to UT that it was thought best to do the “big boys” first. Among the neglected ones are a number of religious newspapers: several Christian Advocates, one from Springfield, MA, one from Baltimore, and one from Asheville, NC. There seem to have been no favorites–there are also a number of Baptist and Presbyterian papers, one Revivalist, and one Liberal Christian. I was told by a member of the newspaper project at the University of Kentucky, that they originally had not collected such papers, but were now actively seeking them.
Another category of minor newspapers are titles such as Practical Farmer, Southern Homestead, Oklahoma Farm Journal. Others are newspapers associated with the Grange movement, which flourished at the turn of the century; UT has Our Grange Homes, from Boston, and a Grange paper from Denver. UT also has a newspaper from Westerville, Ohio, titled Home and State, dating from 1922 to 1934. Somewhat intrigued by the title, I called Beth Weinhardt, at the Westerville Public Library, who at first denied knowing anything about it. On further reflection, after remembering that Westerville had intersecting streets titled “Home” and “State,” she recalled that a woman named Mary E. Lee had lived on Home street, and had published a newspaper from her basement. Mary E. Lee had been a staunch Granger, and had spoken in favor of the Grange in every county in Ohio. She was apparently a political figure, for she hosted two presidents at her home on Home: Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding. It was Harding who had named her to be postmistress of Westerville.
After hearing all this, I wanted to see the Home and State, but it had been moved to be catalogued. After telling what I had discovered to Jennifer Lee, head of Preservation at UT’s General Libraries, she tracked the paper down in the proper department, and discovered it to be, not a Grange paper, but a pro-Prohibition paper. (I mentioned this fact to a person associated with the Ohio Newspaper Project, and she found it quite natural, as Westerville had been the center of the Prohibition movement in the state.) But, what Jennifer also discovered, was that there were a number of advertisements inserted from San Antonio, and that the newspaper had a lot of Texas content. If anyone out there is familiar with the Home and State, please get in touch.
If you are interested in contributing funds to speed this massive project, please contact Linda Abbey, of UT’s General Libraries, phone (512) 795-4366 or online to the
Historic Newspapers Preservation link.
About the Author
Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.