Talk about a blast from the past! The tables of the conference room in the basement of the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center are covered in newspapers dating back to the late 1800’s. There are also a couple of tables full of photographs that were either taken by the Times Herald Staff or given to the newspaper for publication.
Don’t worry; the museum is not throwing out these important pieces of history for Alliance and the surrounding areas. These are, of course, extra copies.
“We already have two copies of every paper ever published. We have bound copies of local newspapers dating back to 1891 and the complete collection on microfilm,” said Knight Museum Director Becci Thomas.
These papers were all being stored on a cart and they needed to use that cart for something else so the museum staff thought it would be a good time to do some decluttering.
“It’s a space issue. You have to be careful where you put them. Newspapers turn yellow because of the acid in them. So if you put them next to a book it will eventually ruin the book. This makes the loose papers difficult to store,” said Thomas.
The museum put a message out on social media inviting the public in to look at these old papers and pictures. Because of this post they received a message from someone living in France that wanted to look at some but obviously could not make it so the ladies mailed him a box full of papers.
The Alliance newspaper has been documenting our history for 131 years. We play an intricate role in the community so spending a few minutes or even a few days looking through these papers would be easy to do.
“It’s a total blast from the past. They are fun to look at,” said Thomas.
Where else are you going to find a Souvenir Edition of The Alliance Times from the Fall of 1897? Or a 1918 copy of Trench and Camp or copies of the Alliance Times and Herald?
Some other papers just to name a few, are: The Illustrated Police News from 1872, The Wellsboro Agitator, The Wellsboro Gazette, The Norfolk Daily News, The Commercial-Mail, Nebraska State Journal, The Brunswick Record, The National Observer, The Stars and Stripes, Morning World-Herald, Athens Banner-Herald, Harper’s Weekly, Camp Dix Times, and The Farm World.
Headlines from the Alliance Times and Herald include: WAR IN EUROPE OVER, Storm Takes One Life, Alliance Digs Out from Beneath Record Snow, Stock Feeding A Major Problem, Guard Planes Bring Relief, and Engines Buried 96 Hours in Ashby Cut.
“If we already have two copies plus a film copy, how much more do we need? Everyone is welcome to come take a look. The museum will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all next week. The papers that are left they will go through and clip anything out that they need to save and the rest will be recycled,” said Thomas.
As for the tables full of pictures, about half are from different sporting events in Alliance from the 70s to the 90s. The other half are a collection of pictures that were taken at different events or pictures that were submitted for publication.
“I swear if you were a little kid that had a lemonade stand or you were scooping snow in your grandma’s driveway, someone took a picture of you and slapped it in the paper at one time. We don’t know who any of these kids are so where do we put them. It’s hard to file a picture when you don’t know who’s in it. It’s not like someone 40 years from now is going to come in and say that they want to see your file on kids with snowmen,” said Thomas.
Part of the museums mission statement is to verify the history of our community. So identifying the people in these photos is important.
Thomas said, “Maybe you don’t necessarily want any of these pictures but help up identify the people in them so that we can get these back to the families that these belong to. We’re too busy here with visitors for us to spend all of our time trying to identify who these people are but someone in the community has time then great! Pictures only have value if we can find someone to share them with. If you can’t find them to share then they really don’t have value.”