Dig into the past with digital

Staff Reports

Ever tried to find a newspaper story or obituary from a decade or more ago?

Maybe you were digging for details about your family history or just curious about a past community issue or sports event.

The process was painstakingly time consuming.

You’d have to go to the newspaper building or find a library and then sift through reels and reels of microfilm or a clip file where the paper had yellowed and the print was barely readable.

That tedious task is no more. The Republic’s newspaper archives have been digitized, put online and are now available with powerful search features at therepublic.com/archives.

The Republic, in partnership with newspapers.com, has had more than 700,000 local newspaper pages dating back to 1872 that are fully searchable and available for purchase. Local newspapers included in the archive are The Evening Republican, Columbus Herald, The Columbus Republican and The Republic.

“This is glorious. It opens up the entirety of local history for the community they have never had before,” said Jason Hatton, director of the Bartholomew County Public Library. “There’s so much hidden in the pages waiting to be uncovered.”

“Want to know more about the Crump Theatre? Just type that in. This is a boon for local historians, local genealogists and the community,” Hatton said.

You’ll be able to get access to the archive for a subscription fee or at the library for free.

Tyler Munn, reference supervisor at the Bartholomew County Public Library, especially likes the archive feature that allows users to make a clipping of a story and then see what other people are clipping and interested in. You can also share what you have searched for.

“That is great for collaboration,” Munn said. “Digging into the past can yield all kinds of interesting stories and photos about your family and community.

For example a search of what happened in Columbus on this date 66 years ago, shows the lead story in The (Columbus) Evening Republican was “Jury Agreed on in Watts Trial Today.” Judge George W. Long was presiding over the trial, and Robert Austin Watts was accused in the shotgun slaying of an Indianapolis woman.

The story said 12 men were picked for the jury — eight farmers, one retired farmer, an electrician, a Noblitt-Sparks employee and a Cummins Engine employee.

In that March 13, 1950 paper, you would also learn about Dr. Griffith Marr reporting the first case of smallpox “in several years” in Columbus and a fire at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

”An short in electrical wiring caused a slight disruption in services Sunday morning at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church but the congregation remained seated and the fire went out when the electrical current was shut off,” the story said.

Even the advertisements from 66 years ago provide a look at how much the world has changed.

The Home Furniture store touts a 28-piece 1950 model ABC washer that “just arrived.” Included in the purchase was an Arvin metal ironing board, a year’s supply of soap and an automatic electric iron. You could trade in your old washer as down payment and pay $89.95 for the “washer outfit.” Want a weekly payment plan? That was $2 a week.

Another ad shows noted opera star Nadine Conner smoking a Camel cigarette with this quote: “When I smoke, I have to think of my voice. I made the Camel 30-day mildness test. It proved to me that Camels agree with my throat. They’re mild — they taste fine.”

The online newspaper archive allows you to search in many ways — by newspaper, by topic and person, by date, by location — and has other features that allow let you to explore newspaper pages in close detail.

With the archive viewer, you can download pages, clip articles and save, print and share what you find. A notification feature alerts you via email when something matches your saved search. In addition, you’ll be able to link to your Facebook account and save clippings from the archive to ancestry.com.

Once you sign up, you’ll be able to manage your account and establish a profile page that can put you in touch with people with similar interests.

You’ll have a couple of ways to access the archives.

One is through monthly or yearly archive subscription fees. Cost of accessing The Republic is $4.95 a month, or $39.95 a year. That fee also will get you access to other AIM Media Indiana newspapers — Brown County Democrat, The (Seymour) Tribune, Daily Journal of Franklin and Greenwood and Daily Reporter of Greenfield — when they become available online.

Another option allows you to subscribe to AIM Media Indiana newspapers and about 3,900 other newspapers from across the nation — that’s more than 48 million pages — that have been archived by newspapers.com for $19.90 a month, or $139.90 a year.

You can also go to the Bartholomew County Public Library and access The Republic and the other AIM Media Indiana newspapers when they become available for free. Access to The Republic is available now.

There’s also a free seven-day trial option.

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Where: Therepublic.com/archives

What: Searchable digital archives of newspaper pages


Option 1: Access to The Republic.

Cost: $4.95 a month; or $39.95 a year.

This gives you access to the Columbus Herald, The Columbus Republican, The Evening Republican, The Republic and other AIM Media Indiana newspapers as they are added to the archives. Other AIM newspapers are The (Seymour) Tribune; Daily Journal of Franklin and Greenwood; Brown County Democrat; and the Daily Reporter in Greenfield. The Republic and other Columbus newspapers are available now.

Option 2: Publishers Extra.

Cost: $19.90 a month; or $139.90 per year.

This package gives you access to nearly 3,900 newspapers (more than 48 million pages) including The Republic and all AIM Media Indiana papers when they go online.

Option 3: Bartholomew County Public Library, 536 5th St. Columbus.

Cost: Free

You can get access to The Republic and other AIM Media Indiana papers when they are put online if you are a library member. The Republic and other Columbus newspapers are available now.

Free trial offer

Go to therepublic.com/archives to start a seven-day free trial.