The Elmwood Public Library is proud to announce that Elmwood’s newspapers published from the late 1890s to the last issue published in 1953 are now available online via the Elmwood Public Library. When the Elmwood newspaper stopped publishing it was known as the Elmwood Leader Echo. Earlier in its history there were two newspapers the Elmwood Leader and the Elmwood Echo. They later merged. Another Elmwood publication (Weeks Review) was also available in the 1890s. The process to search for people, places or events in our town’s history is made very simple by the website’s search engine.
The funding for this project was provided by Kirby and Cindy Drake in memory of Kirby’s parents Arthur & Gwineth (TenBroeck) Drake and their 15 children that grew up in Elmwood and graduated from Elmwood High School. The Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation was instrumental in helping the Drake’s relay funding for this project so it could take place and the George Blessing family granted copyright permission for the last decades of the Elmwood Leader-Echo. The copies can be accessed via a permanent link located on the Elmwood Public Library’s website.
Cindy Drake is the Librarian of the Nebraska History Library at History Nebraska (formerly the Nebraska State Historical Society). History Nebraska has been microfilming Nebraska newspapers since the 1950s. This includes Nebraska newspapers published since the territorial days to the present. This large collection for the State includes all available issues of any newspapers printed in Elmwood. The State of Nebraska does not fund the digitizing of Nebraska newspapers at this time. Any digitization of Nebraska newspapers is supplied by local entities (libraries, local historical organizations, foundations, or in this case private individuals). The History Nebraska Microfilm Lab under the direction of Mary Woltemath, will send their film to vendors who will scan, digitize, and in most cases OCR (make word searchable) the microfilm when it is paid for by local sources. The company that scanned the Elmwood newspapers and hosts the site where they are stored is Advantage (located in Iowa).
When History Nebraska originally filmed the bulk of the Elmwood newspapers they were continuous over many rolls of microfilm. Sometimes missing issues or short runs of a newspaper cannot be spliced with the original microfilm. For that reason, History of Nebraska would microfilm together on one roll issues of many different community publications and call them “filmstrip rolls.” This is what happened with some issues of the Elmwood newspapers. On some rolls of filmstrip microfilm where some Elmwood newspapers were located, there were also copies of other newspapers from other communities across the State. Instead of solely scanning the Elmwood newspapers, Advantage scanned the entire roll. This way, the treasures of other communities have been digitized as well. For that reason, you will see listed publication for other community newspapers including those of Brownville, University Place, Thomas County, Alliance, Axtell and others.
As of right now, online access is available for Elmwood newspapers printed up to May 4, 1950. It came to the attention of Cindy Drake that the last roll of microfilm for the Elmwood newspaper did not make it to Iowa to be scanned. That will be corrected and soon the remaining issues through September 24, 1953 will be on the website very soon.
The Elmwood Public Library wishes to extend their sincere thanks to Cindy & Kirby Drake, their families as well as the Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation for helping to implement this important historical reference for our community. We encourage everyone to explore the website at their leisure. Those with questions about using the site may visit the Elmwood Public Library for a little extra help.