Within the collections of the Weyerhaeuser Museum there is a set of bound volumes of the Pierz Journal newspaper. Prior to their coming to reside at the museum, they were stored haphazardly in building that didn’t have temperature and humidity controls. Jan Warner, MCHS Executive Director, who at one time worked within the local newspaper system, discovered the bound volumes and rescued them.
Due to their previous storage conditions, these newspapers have not maintained their structural integrity and are degrading at a rapid pace. Whenever they are handled, a storm of newspaper bits falls to the floor. What’s even more unfortunate is that not all of them have been microfilmed, so the data that’s in them is not available in another format.
The reason they have not all been microfilmed is that the process of microfilming involves cutting the newspapers out of the bound volumes. Because of the fragility of these newspapers, this, in effect, would completely destroy them.
We have been waiting for a duplication technology to come along that will allow us to capture images of the pages without stripping them from the bound volumes. While waiting, we’ve placed various restrictions on these newspapers over the years – first by restricting copying of the most fragile volumes, then restricting copying of all volumes, and now by adopting a policy that only staff will be handling them for researchers.
We want to minimize handling as much as possible and require researchers to use the microfilms of those Pierz Journals that have already been microfilmed. We have long had microfilms of whatever reels the Minnesota Historical Society (the organization that has microfilmed most of the newspapers in the state) had available, with the exception of three reels that we somehow missed.
We are happy to announce that we have purchased those missing three reels and now have them available for researchers to use. The dates of these reels of Pierz Journals run from January 5, 1928 to December 26, 1929, from January 2, 1930 to March 17, 1932, and a single issue of May 6, 1948.
If you have any ideas about technology that will help us capture the data in the unmicrofilmed copies of the Pierz Journals without destroying them, we’d like to hear from you. Immediately, if not sooner!