I got a call this week from a board member of the League of Women Voters. She’s working on a project about political candidates in the 1970s and wanted some information. I regretfully told her I didn’t think I could help. I wish I could, but this problem is going to be hard to solve.
I am talking about the archives. We sit on the best source of Clark County history from the last 130 years, but it’s difficult to tap.
First, a little background. We keep copies of what we publish, but the record, and access to the record, varies depending on the publication date.
The most comprehensive record is kept on microfilm. If you are of a certain age, like I am, you probably remember microfilm. For those who don’t, microfilm is a miniaturized reel of film of photographed documents – in this case, newspaper pages – that can be viewed one at a time with the aid of a large machine that contains a bright light and a magnifying lens. We have Columbian microfilm beginning with the Oct. 1, 1890 issue and continuing through Dec. 31, 2020 and counting. There might be some early issues missing, but it’s a collection that fills multiple file cabinets.
We also have a subset of printed newspapers. A vault in our main office contains bound copies of newspapers from most of the first half of the 20th century. The bound sets end before 1970, as I recall. And we have a small room called the morgue, where we keep the most recent year’s worth of print editions, which remain on sale to the public.