It’s time -- and it's possible -- to digitize and gather together more than a century of Provo’s historic newspapers


One of the most valuable ways to bring Utah’s local history to life is to preserve its historic local newspapers.

The Utah Digital Newspapers website is doing just that. The older the Utah newspaper, the more likely it is that they can find the funds to digitize it.

And they don’t stop with preservation. They gather, film, index and make those newspapers searchable online, making it possible for people all over the country to find key family information, and do other local historical research -- all without charge to on-line readers!


好记性不如烂笔头

There is a Chinese saying, “The weakest ink is better than the strongest memory.” Utah Digital Newspapers turns up wonderful, often surprising, insights into families and cities by making Utah's historic printed newspapers available as digitized, searchable documents.

However, there is one abysmal gap: Provo.

Yes, there are three newspapers, the Provo Daily Enquirer, which was published between 1881 – 1897. Of much less historical value are two political papers, first, the Evening Dispatch, appearing during a few of the same years, between 1891 and 1895; and second, the Utah County Democrat, initiated in 1898 and disappeared in 1908.

What about the next 100+ years from 1909 to 2009 and later? There is nothing available yet through Utah Digital Newspapers. The years from 1895 to 1908 are shabbily treated.

Most of what out-of-state researchers are able to gather online about Provo's history during that missing century comes from Ogden, Salt Lake, and southern Utah newspapers -- not exactly the best sources.

Now and then when I am doing Provo research on the Utah Digital Newspapers website, a popup asks me to fill out a quick questionnaire.

I never miss an opportunity to ask, “Any chance that you might add another Provo newspaper or two to the Utah Digital Newspapers archive?”

Here is the latest reply:
Hello Larry,

First, thanks for your email… As to your question about adding Provo newspapers, we are always interested in adding new titles, no matter where they might be from.

Unfortunately, though, we are a "soft money" program which means we have to raise all the money required to add content and operate the program.

So we would need to find a donor or perhaps receive some grant funds to add new titles to the database/website. And at the present time, we have no funds available for new content.

I wish I had better news for you, but these are the constraints we have to live within.

Best,

John Herbert
Program Director
Utah Digital Newspapers

Most of the 100+ years of Provo newspapers exist, and are available to be added to Utah Digital Newspapers, if enough funding can be donated. Some are held by the Provo City Library. Others are held in BYU Library collections, in the Library of Congress, and in other collections.

Please, if you have $100,000 to $500,000 or more available to acquire and digitize one of Provo's most historic treasures for free public use, please don’t hesitate to contact John Herbert.

Ask John how many of those years can be gathered together and placed online through the Utah Digital Newspapers database with your charitable contribution.

Please contact John and ask him to add your name to a list of people willing to participate in the project to find and add the remainder of Provo’s historical newspapers online at the Utah Digital Newspapers site.

It’s time we do everything possible to make this happen within our lifetimes!
--Larry Christensen '66




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