Previous Winners


(Six Winners)

  • Ishpeming Area Historical Society and Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum, Ishpeming, MI
  • Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, Midland, MI
  • Lapeer District Library, Marguerite de Angeli Library, Lapeer, MI
  • Howard Miller Library, Zeeland, MI
  • DeWitt District Library, DeWitt, MI
  • Alma Public Library, Alma, MI


(Two Winners)

Bellaire Area Historical Society 

Newspaper: The Antrim County News Dates: 1947-1966

Special Features:

When no established newspaper would hire him, Ken Parker found another way to become a
journlist. He started his own newspaper in Bellaire, Michigan and called his enterprise The Antrim County News. Its first edition was published on June 19, 1947 and was printed on an old flat-bed press. For years Parker had dreamed about the type of newspaper he wanted to publish. It would be folksy and down to earth. People would be more than names in this paper (Parker, 1999.)

Four villages in Antrim County had newspapers when The Antrim County News began. Parker sensed a dissatisfaction in the weeklies already in place. He was told they "lacked character" and were too confining. What made The Antrim County News unique is that Parker lined up several local contributors from all over the county (Parker, 1999.) Each weekly edition was filled with columns of interesting happenings and gossip from many of Antrim County's villages and townships including Alden, Mancelona, Bellaire, Atwood, Elk Rapids, Kewadin, Forest Home, Clam Lake, Central Lake, Ellsworth, South Torch Lake, Mancelona, Custer, and Antrim City. These local connections are very important and provide a first-hand account of area news of the day. They are a "gold mine" for anyone searching for "nuggets" of family and local history.

The favorite column was titled Bell-Airings. It was a weekly snapshot of small-town life in Bellaire (the county seat) where local people could laugh at themselves, and that summer visitors could reconnect to the place they loved best (Parker, 1999.)

Ken Parker sold The Antrim County News in 1959 but continued to be involved with it until 1963. It was published under several different owners until 2009, receiving many press association awards for its writing and reporting.

Parker, K. (1999.) Be Independent! Start Your Own Newspaper. Traverse City, MI: Orchard Heights

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

Antrim County, Michigan is a unique area with it's picturesque small villages and its Chain-o'­Lakes. It has been a popular resort area since the early 1900's. There are generations of families who have fond memories of vacationing here. There are also generations of people who grew up in Antrim County and moved away as adults. Both groups have interest in the historical events of the area.

In our growing digital world, digital documents like The Antrim County News would provide easy access to this newspaper for a variety of uses: genealogical research, tracing the history of a local park or recreation area, matching demographic statistics to stories of the era or geographical area being studied and much more.

In 1974, Gregg and Dee Smith bought The Antrim County News and offered the collection of local historic newspapers included with the purchase to the Bellaire Area Historical Society. These newspapers go back to 1895 and include the Bellaire Independent (1895-1919, the Antrim County Record (1920-1931) the Bellaire Record (1931-1955) and The Antrim County News (1947-1974.) This collection of physical newspapers has been added to over the years and is available to examine at the Bellaire Area Museum. These physical newspapers do not age well despite our best efforts to protect them. The older ones are very brittle and crumble when disturbed.

The newspapers listed above have been preserved on microfilm, but the entire collection is not available to examine in one place. Some are at the Traverse District Library and others at the State of Michigan Library in Lansing. There are also some at the Bellaire Public Library but the microfilm reader there is in need of repair.

The Bellaire Area Historical Society is currently rising funds to digitize our local historic newspapers and have them hosted on DigMichNews with searchable keywords. We believe that it is not only important to preserve the contents of this historic material, but to also make it accessible online to all who wish to examine and study it. Being awarded this grant would go a long way in helping us reach our goal. Thank-you for your consideration.

Lansing Capital Area District Library

Newspaper: Ingham County News Dates: 1970-1977

Special Features:

There are special features to the Ingham County News in the era of 1970-1977. Very often political news is among the major headline trends in historic newspapers, and the News is no exception. This paper is the central news outlet of the county seat of Ingham County (Mason), and thus is where press releases, detailed county government news, required notices, and political campaigns and elections were published and covered, more so than any other paper in the region.

In this period, the News had region-specific sections including the Mason Edition and Holt-Delhi Edition, among others. These specific sections made for easy to find stories of interest and highlighted the communities of priority for the paper. This is unique because the broad county newspaper served distinct neighboring communities which did not have independent papers and were only traditionally scarcely covered in the nearby larger city papers such as the Lansing State Journal or the Jackson Citizen- Patriot. It provided a central publication for all Ingham County news in one easily accessible paper for the residents of the county, specializing in countywide stories. The paper documented history in real time.

The News of this era also includes advertisements and inserts from prominent local businesses and activities. These are bound with the paper. There are also sections on marriages, obituaries, births, and other personal news items. There are also classified advertisements, and common human and social interest articles about schools, families, businesses, and farms that would otherwise not have been covered in other area news sources.

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

The Ingham County News period of 1970-1977 should be made available online because of its many historical topics covered during these years. For example, in this period, and covered in the pages of the News, Ingham County became the first county in the State of Michigan to appoint a Select Committee on History to prepare for the 1976 American Bicentennial. This committee was formed in 1971, made permanent in 1974, and remains today as the oldest county historical commission in Michigan. Reflecting on the Bicentennial commemoration is and will continue to be an important topic for consideration over the next five years while the nation contemplates its 250th birthday in 2026. How did locales commemorate fifty years ago? The News covers all that and more in the years proposed here for digitization.

Michigan is the only state in the United States in which the state capitol is not the county seat of the county in which it sits. Mason, the home of the Ingham County News, is the county seat of Ingham, while the state capital is elsewhere in the same county, in the city of Lansing. This paper, over all its years, covered the county government in Mason and state government in Lansing - a fascinating juxtaposition, which has statewide and national relevance. While local, state, and national government are covered thoroughly in the News, the government of Ingham County made regular headlines over the decades. In 1974-75, Ingham County saw the rise of young politician Debbie Stabenow, now a United States Senator, who became the first woman to chair the Ingham County Board of Commissioners in 1977. Her first stint in public office will soon reach its fiftieth anniversary in 2024-25 and is sure to catch public attention, especially given that she announced her intention not to run for office again. The papers bearing so much of this rich political history are not yet digitally available but should be.

In the “out county” communities of Ingham, often dwarfed in local news coverage to the state capital of Lansing, the News covered the stories that meant something to locals and had larger implications. There were numerous notable events which occurred in this era. The 1970s saw a building and development boom in this region. Covered in the News are the people, events, tragedies, obituaries, and headlines of a generation. Presently one of the most intriguing decades in nostalgia, design, and historical research, the 1970s will see endless fiftieth anniversaries over the next decade and a peak in interest in the culture and news of the 1970s. Additionally, this paper is useful and of interest to multiple Michigan communities, and therefore has a wider range of use and impact.


(Two Winners)

East Lansing Public Library

East Lansing Community Life, East Lansing Press, and Towne Courier 

Dates: ELCL: 1919-1926; ELP: 1930-1934; TC: 1963

Special Features:

Local newspapers play an important, irreplaceable role in our lives. They strengthen communities. The distinguishing characteristic of a community newspaper is its commitment to serving the information needs of a particular community.

The East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) wants to preserve these pieces of local history and provide greater access to this important historic knowledge.  These papers focused solely on the city of East Lansing. They featured articles on local heroes/sheroes, neighborhoods, area schools and sports.  Digitizing the collection will make them far more accessible to the community and beyond.

One of the important things about a local newspaper is that most of the news impacts its readers directly. These papers provide details about events that shaped the city of East Lansing. For those who grew up in the city, they can trace events that happened in their family and learn details that might not have been passed down verbally.

Michigan State University (MSU) is located within the city of East Lansing, directly across from the downtown business district.  This proximity has directly shaped the growth and change of the city.  These local newspapers have benefited the nearby businesses. Small business owners connect with community members via local newspapers. A strong, locally based small business community can improve economies in myriad ways, creating jobs in the community and contributing tax dollars that can be used to strengthen local schools and infrastructure. And local newspapers do their part by providing affordable and effective advertising space to local business owners looking to connect with their communities.  Anyone interested in the changing landscape of East Lansing can track it through East Lansing Community Life, East Lansing Press and the Towne Courier.  Digitizing these papers would provide easier access to those people wanting to learn what East Lansing was like through the years.

Local newspapers continue to serve as valuable resources for readers interested in learning more about and becoming more involved in their communities. These papers that focused solely on events happening in East Lansing provided important stories that directly impacted the people who resided there.  Providing access to these papers through digitization would greatly improve the services ELPL offers to the community.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

During the pandemic, the East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) has seen an increase in patrons requesting access to the materials in our Local History collection.  The need for connection to people and places has become so important.  Also, learning about our shared history makes the connection come alive.

ELPL has four core values and accessibility is one of them.  The other three are community, innovation, and knowledge.  One of the major purposes of digitization is to enhance access and improve preservation of our library materials. 

ELPL provides free and equal access to library resources and facilities.  Digitization improves access to library resources. By digitizing this collection of newspapers, information will be accessible to all instead of a group of researchers. Digital projects allow users to search for collections rapidly and comprehensively from anywhere at any time. Digitization makes the invisible to be visible.

Covid has caused a disruption in library attendance.  Some people are not comfortable coming into the library and prefer to access our resources online.  Digitizing these resources allows all patrons the ability to utilize these important pieces of our history. 

There were also months when the library was closed to the public.  This resulted in loss of revenue and loss of access to resources.  Digitization of these papers would improve the library’s ability to provide open access and a higher quality of service to patrons needing these materials. 

Additionally, digitally converting paper-based documents into an electronic format is a way to safeguard our important materials and provide patrons with quick and easy access when they need them.  As you know, older newspapers need special care to preserve them.  Digitization will alleviate concerns about patrons handling the physical newspapers.

Digitization would also free up much needed physical space in our library – space that is at a premium in our Local History room.  It would allow other materials that are currently housed in storage to be incorporated into the collection and be made available to patrons.

ELPL does not have the funds to digitize these resources and would be thrilled to be the recipient of this amazing opportunity.

Mount Clemens Public Library

Newspaper: The Macomb Daily (The Mount Clemens Monitor and The Mount Clemens Press)

Dates: 1896-1921

Special Features:

The Macomb Daily has had many names throughout its life, but it has been a mainstay of the community. The newspaper functioned as the ‘social media’ for the town, having engagement, wedding, and birth announcements, obituary notices, want advertisements, local sports, and so much more. This treasured publication captures over 150 years of life in Macomb County.

Mount Clemens had weekly publications prior to 1900. The Mount Clemens Monitor was the popular publication in 1866. Daily news publication was the norm at the turn of the century. In 1901, the Daily Leader and its weekly adjunct, the Mount Clemens Press, were born. The Monitor began publishing daily in 1940. In 1942, the Monitor and Leader merged, and the first edition of the Daily Monitor-Leader was published on April 3, 1942. In 1964, the Daily Monitor-Leader was merged with the South Macomb News, a weekly, and the Tri-City Progress, another weekly which served the Warren-Center Line-Utica area of the county. After a brief run as the Monitor-Progress, the new paper became the Macomb Daily. The Macomb Daily, still published in Mount Clemens, continues to serve as Macomb County's relevant daily newspaper today.

The Macomb Daily has unique aspects that make it historically important to the community. For more than 100 years, the largest industry in Mount Clemens was mineral baths. People would come from all over the world to experience the healing properties of the mineral baths. The Macomb Daily (and the preceding names) captured this time in Mount Clemens history, through news stories, advertisements, etc.

Mount Clemens was the second biggest city, next to Detroit. Having a form of communication for all of the town goings on was essential for a social city to function. Mount Clemens Public Library is as old as Detroit Public Library, being founded in 1865. The history provided by the Macomb Daily is vast and rich.

Mount Clemens is the seat of government for Macomb County meaning that it is an administrative center for all political and municipal happenings. One such event was in 1960 when John F. Kennedy held a campaign rally in Mount Clemens. The Macomb Daily captures all of these events within the articles published.

The Macomb Daily, and specifically the Mount Clemens Monitor and Mount Clemens Press have provided special, distinctive, and even at times outlandish written records of the accounts of a small city and the surrounding towns; all along with bringing history and heart to the county of Macomb.

Reasons Why This Newspapers Should be Digitized:

As one of oldest and longest running newspapers (despite living under different names), the Macomb Daily captures the rise and fall of the many different industries Mount Clemens and the surrounding Macomb County cities. The paper is a valuable and indisputable form of vast communication for all. From the current to the past publications; providing a timeline into the sharing of the information through the century. Digitizing the paper will provide access to many historians, researchers, house restorers, and others. Currently the microfilm is becoming brittle due to overuse and age, which is why we’re seeking to digitize the beginning of this publication’s run. Digitizing will allow the Mount Clemens Public Library to honor the legacy this publication has offered for over 150 years.


(Two Winners)

Beaver Island District Library and Beaver Island Historical Society

Newspaper: Beaver Beacon Dates: 1955-1958

Special Features:

The Beaver Beacon was the only Beaver Island newspaper since James Jesse Strang’s Northern Islander was published in the 1850s. Begun in 1955 by the Beaver Island Civic Association, those who paid for a membership in the Civic Association received the newsletter. Editors were Beaver Island residents themselves, many contributing to the production of each issue. It was filled with the news of the Island happenings, contact information for servicemen and women, weddings, births, deaths, birthday and anniversary celebrations and school events. The Beaver Beacon was also the link for off-island relatives and friends to stay connected to the Island. It served as a beacon for visitors who were looking for a place to stay, things to do and much more. While the paper dealt with Beaver Island happenings, it also included information about the extended Island families who resided off-island as well. It was run as a public service more so than profit-making venture, yet it lasted 60+ years.

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

Offering The Beaver Beacon online would assist family historians looking for information about Island residents in the 1950s-2000s. Also, some of the later issues are currently available through the Clarke Historical Library (2003-2014). Inclusion of these 1955-2002 issues would complete the collection. It is quite likely that the Beaver Island District Library and the Beaver Island Historical Society is the only two complete-run collections in existence. Half a century of history are contained in the aging pages and need to be preserved and made available to the public.

Monroe County Museum System

Newspaper: Monroe Evening News
Dates: 1920-1923

Special Features:

The Monroe News is the oldest newspaper in existence in Monroe County and continues to report on one of the oldest communities in Michigan. In the 1920s, Monroe County saw its greatest decade of population growth in the twentieth century and it represented the second greatest decade of population growth for the City of Monroe. A county with a rich agricultural heritage, the city's expanding industrial base in the 1920s would transform the community for the next century. The Monroe News of these years captures these changes.

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

These papers are rapidly degrading due to the type of paper on which they were originally printed. Scanning and placing them online not only allows them to continue in a new format, it will make them available to a greater audience and reduce barriers of access to researchers.

According to the Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal, there are no papers on-line to represent Michigan's second oldest county.

If selected, this would be the Monroe County Museum System's first substantial project in making part of our holdings available online for researchers.


Hazel Park

Newspaper Titles:

  • The Hazel Park News
  • The Ferndale Gazette Times
  • The Legal Examiner
  • The Palladium


  • The Hazel Park New s ranges from 1956-1980
  • The Ferndale Gazette Times & Legal Examiner  ranges from 1936-1980
  • The Paladium Newspaper ranges from 1939-1955

Special Features:

The Paladium Newspaper features the news, advertisements, comics and obituaries of Hazel Park, MI.  The Ferndale Gazette Times and Legal Examiner features advertisements, comics, obituaries and news from Ferndale, MI.  The Hazel Park News features advertisements, obituaries, and news from Hazel Park, MI. 

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

These four newspapers chronicle the unique perspective of the Detroit border suburbs in Southern Oakland County.  The papers highlight the tumultuous conflicts of the 20th century including the civil rights movement, race riots in Detroit, Vietnam era, etc.  Suburban papers of this era give a unique insight to what were then new environments.  Suburbs became the homes of the newly affluent working class.  The Hazel Park Memorial District Library patrons deserve access to this valuable window to the world in which their families and friends lived.  This history should be preserved for anybody that is interested in learning about the Oakland County area during that era.   


Sparta Sentinel-Leader

Special Features or Unique Aspects of this Paper:

Sparta's earliest newspaper, Sparta Sentinel-Leader, began under the title The Sentinel in 1876. At that time, Sparta Township had three general stores, one boot shop and hardware store, two smith shops, a wagon and harness shop, a school, two churches, and one sawmill. By 1880, it had a population of over 2,100. Due to its close location to Grand Rapids and Newaygo Railroads, Sparta was a thriving community for its time. The Sentinel operated under that title until 1900 when it merged with another Sparta paper, The Leader, as Sparta Sentinel and Leader. The Sparta Sentinel-Leader title was published on January 18, 1901.

Including Sparta Township and surrounding Kent County areas, Sparta Sentinel-Leader published local, state, and national level articles. A large farming area, many of the families that came stayed in the region for generations. Many use the Sparta Sentinel-Leader for reference information on their families as well as events. The period selected in proposal is especially historically significant due to its World War I content. Many went off to war and outside labor sources were needed to harvest crops. In 1917, the Carnation Milk Company built a plant in Sparta and milk was hauled daily. Sparta Sentinel-Leader expressed war news, impact, and attitudes and told the stories of the people during that time.

On June 12, 1931, the Sparta Sentinel-Leader, Kent City Press, and Casnovia Herald combined to become The Sentinel-Leader. The hyphen was dropped in the early 1960s. The Sentinel Leader ran independently until purchased by The Sparta Reminder in 1972 and became The Sparta Reminder Sentinel-Leader, which in January of 1974 was renamed the North Kent Leader. The paper expanded to include Sparta, Kent City, Casnovia, Bailey, Belmont, Grand Rapids RR2, Conklin, Comstock Park, Ravenna, Cedar Springs, and Rockford and boasted the title of North Kent County's largest weekly paper.

Reason why you believe this paper should be made available online:

A complete, digital Sparta Sentinel-Leader would preserve and promote access to Kent County and Michigan history. Certain years and issues are available in digital format, which greatly reduces the time needed to search for topics and the handling of the fragile newspapers. However, the existing digital newspapers were created from microfilm done over thirty years ago that was not comprehensive. Some issues were of such poor quality that they are not readable. This selection of newspapers proposed has years that have neither been microfilmed nor digitized and what has been done in this year range is not usable. To better serve the community and the area, these gaps need to be addressed.

This selection needs to be preserved before it deteriorates beyond use. It is not on microfilm or digitized and is fragile. It is difficult to access. Researchers who want to access these newspapers must view them in their physical format, which is detrimental to the newspapers and time-consuming for researchers. The period selected would be a valuable digital resource for not only the Kent County area, but for anyone interested in World War I sentiment in Michigan before, during, and after the war.


Saugatuck-Douglas History Center & the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library

Title:The Commercial-Record (Saugatuck): 1959-1969

Geographic coverage: The primary geographic area of The Commercial-Record is northwest Allegan County, centered on the mouth of the Kalamazoo River, and surrounding townships.

Special Features or Unique Aspects of this Paper:

The Commercial-Record is the oldest continuously-published newspaper in Allegan County and among the oldest in west Michigan, having been first printed on July 9, 1868. Starting as the Saugatuck Commercial, within two years its reach was expanded to include Douglas and the nearby lakeshore area and was renamed the Lake Shore Commercial.
The Commercial was the only paper many people received and it had to cover all the news: local, national and worldwide. When the newsprint arrived, usually by boat, the news from outside the area was already printed on one side. It would be placed on the press in position to have the local news and advertisements added to the back. Given the Saugatuck area’s close connection with the Chicago area, some news from “across the lake” was also reported in more detail than other national stories.

In 1902, the new, hyphenated Commercial-Record name was first used when the Saugatuck Commercial (having regained its original name) merged with a nearby rival, the Weekly Record. For a weekly paper primarily serving two small communities, the Commercial-Record was the source for news from nearby and far away for much of the past century and a half. Because many people from Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis rent or own vacation homes in this area, the paper has always carried news from those cities as well as national news, in addition to being the primary record of local events, official municipal actions, a police blotter, and election coverage.

The 1960s – the period we propose to digitize for this grant – were a decade of great change in west Michigan. Saugatuck’s Big Pavilion dance hall, the largest west of New York when it opened, burned in a spectacular fire in 1960 and was among the last vestiges of an earlier, simpler recreational era. Throughout the decade, the region became the scene of several major music festivals with nationally-known performers, endured the anxiety of transient motorcycle gangs, and was invaded by college students by the thousands each busy summer. The Commercial-Record went above and beyond what might typically be expected from a small-town paper to regularly report on these events, and the outsiders who were inciting them. In 1968, the village of Saugatuck celebrated its centennial anniversary, and the Commercial-Record marked the occasion with a special 48-page edition. 2018 will be a milestone year to make this information more fully available – Saugatuck’s 150th anniversary. (Portions of the text above taken from A Brief History of the Commercial Record by Kit Lane:(

Reasons why this paper should be made available online:

The Commercial-Record is the oldest continuously-publishing paper in Allegan County and has always been at an important seat for creating and sharing news – Allegan County’s main port community where the Kalamazoo River empties into Lake Michigan. Great local stories – the arrival of the interurban, the burning of the biggest dance hall in the eastern United States, the infiltration of motorcycle gangs in the 1960s - were all dutifully reported in print week in and week out.

The existing microfilm copies are degrading over time, and are not indexed and not searchable. Researchers must laboriously scroll through each page to locate relevant information. To compound matters, the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library, owner of the microfilm, does not have a functioning microfilm reader, so anyone wishing to use the microfilm must take it to another library with a functioning reader two townships away.

This makes trying to use the Commercial-Record in its current form very difficult. Second grade students at Douglas Elementary used to try to use the paper as part of a yearly local history research project, but the collective struggle led them to turn to using other – perhaps less valuable – sources. Library patrons face the same hurdle.

The History Center regularly relies on the Commercial-Record when researching our programs, exhibits, and more. Our recent successful nominations of two local historic structures to the National Register of Historic Places relied heavily on details taken from past editions. Just this year the History Center unveiled a new, immersive 2-year exhibit titled Cold War | Hot Towns: Saugatuck-Douglas in the Cold War Era, which explores the concepts of fear and fun during this tumultuous era. The Commercial-Record issues from the 1950s-60s helped document the stories and society of the era in contemporaneous reporting. Adding them to the Digital Michigan Newspaper Database would make them so much more accessible to History Center and Library visitors and the general public, thereby benefiting the communities immeasurably.

By making these print pages for this eventful period available online – indexed and searchable – historians, researchers, and casual visitors will all be ensured simple access to a unique time of conflict and invasion, a microcosm of American history, from a landmark lakeshore community. We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate our high level of community support for digitizing the Commercial-Record and ensuring better access to these stories of Michigan’s past.


L'Anse Area Schools/Baraga County Public Library

Title:The L'Anse Sentinel

Special Features or Unique Aspects of this Paper

TheL'Anse Sentinel is the largest weekly newspaper in the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is available on-line through subscription only.

This paper was established in 1890 and still operates today. Records exist back to 1896. This paper includes a history page each week which features an actual copy from older editions correlating to the date of the present edition. Many elderly residents who have grown up in the area love seeing the history page each week. Younger generations who have connections to historical events reported, by family relations or living in a certain location, also enjoy TheSentinel. This paper also covers headline events in the area as well as recaps sports events. Weekly features include obituaries, which provide a reliable reference for citizens of the area. Outlying news from the greater geographical area is also a weekly feature. The geographic coverage of this paper covers a reader radius of 1,265 square miles. Other weekly features include, outdoor, dining and entertainment, four national columnists and a local human interest feature called "The Fireside Chat." Most local advertising is done in The L'Anse Sentinel and residents of the area have come to use it as a necessary tool for reference information.

Reason why you believe this paper should be made available online

We believe this particular newspaper, The L'Anse Sentinel, should be made available on-line through the L'Anse Area Schools / Baraga County Public Library as it would provide local digitalized access to historical events in the area. The current access to historical pages of The L'Anse Sentinel is difficult at best. The pages are on microfiche / film that have to be used on a reader that is old and difficult to use. It would make easy access for interested persons to research ancestral, sports, geographical or other events of interest within the local geographical area. Several environmental episodes have been reported in this paper over the years in regards to pollution of the Great Lakes as we are positioned on the shores of Lake Superior. Making this paper available on-line would make researching topics affecting the environment by larger companies looking to locate in the area possible. Environmental activist groups who are striving to protect the environment of this beautiful area, especially its fresh water and clean air, find this particular newspaper a way to make their voice heard.​


Alpena County P​ublic Library

Titles & Timespan​:

  • Alpena News, 1899-1905; 1909-10
  • Michigan Labor Journal, 1884-90

Special Features or Unique Aspects of this Paper

Published in Alpena, Michigan both the Alpena News and the Michigan Labor Journal are treasure troves for genealogists and researchers. Alpena's history as an extremely active port city surrounded by a large agricultural community lends itself to a unique catalog of newspaper publications. These publications focused on city news and county news respectively, the publications documented the comings and goings of local people, illnesses, accidents, marriages, deaths, events, and advertisements for local businesses. The Michigan Labor Journal in particular paints a detailed picture of the lumbering, farming, and agricultural communities of the area.

As a port city, records of arrivals and departures of marine vessels, including incidents and wrecks, make up a large component of the local sections of the papers. The Thunder Bay area was well known for its Lighthouse and Life-Saving Services, the men and women of which were often highlighted in the papers. This primary source complements the Great Lakes Maritime Database housed and maintained by the Library in addition to the work of the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary also based in Alpena.

Stories of state and national events featuring in the publications provide an insight into local mindsets and opinions at the time and are an invaluable primary source for research by students of the high school and Alpena Community College.

Reason why you believe this paper should be made available online

Accessibility to our collections is important to the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library. We believe strongly in the preservation of primary resources, but we believe just as strongly in assuring the availability of these resources to the public. Digitizing the newspapers and uploading them to an online database will accomplish both of these goals. As an example of this mission, the Library recently launched the Northeast Michigan Oral History and Photograph Archive Database, accessible through the Library's website. Recordings on cassette, VHS, and reel-to-reel are being digitized, carefully transcribed and uploaded into an easily searchable database. This singular oral history archive focuses on the history and culture of northeast Michigan, with particular emphasis on Great Lakes maritime history. The Alpena County Library's historical resources, including our genealogical and local history records, are a source of great pride for the community. Scholars and researchers from across the state and country regularly utilize our collections. Providing access to the Alpena News and Michigan Labor Journal will enrich this experience and assist in more in depth research.


Milford Times

Timespan - 1871-1940

Geographic Coverage:

News was reported from Fenton to Chelsea, and from Lansing to Detroit. The Huron Valley area was the "playground" of Detroit and many scions, such as the Fords, Dodges, and Labadies had homes in the area.

Special Features or Unique Aspects of this Paper

The Milford Times was the premiere newspaper in the Huron Valley area. It also had the distinction to be owned, operated and edited by a female journalist who is now in the Michigan Journalist Hall of Fame - Carrie Jackson Rowe.

"Carrie Jackson Rowe (1866-1949) grew up in Milford and was credited as one of the first women publishers in Michigan. She was reared in the print shop of The Milford Times, which was owned and operated by her father. After graduating from Milford High School in 1882, she became a regular staff member of The Times. When her father died four years later, she shared complete responsibility of the paper with her 16-year-old brother Bert. In 1892 Bert died of tuberculosis and left Rowe as sole owner, publisher and editor of the growing Milford paper. She was 25 years old. She ran the paper alone until 1896, when she married Grant S. Rowe, a man who had been working with her at The Times. For the next 40 years, the Rowes published the paper together and raised a family of eight children."

Throughout her life Rowe was known for her involvement in the community and dedication to a better way of life. She helped organize the Monday Literary Club in the 1890′s and campaigned for a reading room library, heat for the railroad depot, a warning bell at a railroad crossing, college scholarships for local youth and the clean-up of the mill site so that it could be used for swimming. Rowe was the "voice and conscience" of Milford for 53 years. She was featured in the Michigan Women's Press Association magazine in 1893 and, in 1895, she was asked to speak to the Michigan Press Association. Her topic: "Can a Young Lady Successfully Conduct a Country Paper?"

The newspaper recorded the rise and fall of businesses, the railroad, industries and the people. A unique chronicle of a small town growing into a world business power. The Milford Times also made a point of chronicling the history of the beginnings of the community and continued to add feature stories of the founding families, their ways of life and their accomplishments. This information is now the chief research tool for genealogists and history in the Huron Valley area.

Reason Why the Nominator Believes This Paper Should Be Online:

One of the earliest newspapers in the State of Michigan… The Milford Times began in the same year the railroad came to Milford. The newspaper chronicled the changes from a farming community with local commerce to a thriving industrial sector that traded goods throughout the world. Milford, Highland, White Lake and parts of Commerce were the "up north" for the scions of Detroit. The estates of Edsel Ford, hunting lodge of Henry Ford, the Dodge estate and more were noted and remarked upon in the newspaper – the Milford Times. The Detroit News referred to the Huron Valley area as the "Up north playgrounds of the Detroit wealthy."

Unique items would have included the eighty years the Oakland County Fair was held in Milford – the fairgrounds and entertainment from 1860 to 1940. The Casino in Commerce, which featured name entertainment such as Frank Sinatra. The development of Milford as one of Henry Ford's cottage industries, the development of the General Motors Proving Grounds – the first safety testing in automobile industry; and the efforts of the community to salvage the Albert Kahn Powerhouse that still stands as a reminder of those times.

Throughout the years, the Milford Times has documented the people, industries and way of life in Milford and surrounding communities. To preserve the history of Milford, Highland, White Lake and Commerce, the Milford Times is the only continuous chronicle of the area. This newspaper should be made available to all whose past has crossed that of the area. Until now, residents have had to come to the libraries or historical records and search through microfilm archives. Out-of-town researchers have to rely on a kind volunteer.

The Milford Times should be available online as a unique chronicle of a time in Michigan under the leadership of a unique and talented female publisher.


Cheboygan Democrat

Timespan - 1880-1927

Special Features or Unique Aspects of This Paper:

There are many special attributes of the Cheboygan Democrat. While the American nation was expanding as we headed west, lumber from Northern Michigan literally helped build up the new territory.

The Cheboygan Democrat covers a period in which there are currently no other papers available online from the Cheboygan region.  While mid and southern Michigan were important in this era of the state's history, the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula has not had its story appropriately told.  To that end, the Democrat chronicled the development and maturation of the lumber industry here, along with its impact in building communities in the region. 

Another important facet of the Democrat is that it is one of very few reliable sources of information about Duncan City.  This small village was separate from Cheboygan, yet still within the corporate boundaries of the city.  It was once a booming little lumber town of about 500 people, is now not even a ghost town.  Two original structures are yet standing from the village but otherwise there is virtually no trace today that the settlement ever existed.  It was home to the largest lumber mill north of Bay City and had its own fire department, post office, store, a second lumber mill, and many homes and other businesses.  After the big mill burned in 1898, the community was quickly abandoned and buildings were either moved or fell into disrepair. While it is difficult to see any trace of the town today, through the Democrat readers can get a picture of what it was like to be part of Duncan City.  Stories of who was in town, what the mills were producing, what businesses operated there and by whom, are reported in virtually every edition of the paper.  

The Democrat provides information that was relevant not only at the time it was written but also to the current reader.  It provides detailed information in a format that was published consistently throughout many decades.  Many newspapers of the era lasted only a few years (even months in some cases), but what makes the Democrat stand out is the fact that it is today a consistent source of information during an era that had many people moving to or coming through the region.  In its pages are recalled the roots and connections many people in this area still have to places like the Northeast, Ontario and Quebec, and homelands farther away like Sweden, France, Poland and Germany.

The Cheboygan Democrat is a unique paper that, in order to accurately tell the history of Michigan and its people, should be preserved and made available to as many researchers as possible.

Reason Why the Nominator Believes This Papers Should Be Online:


Access to newspapers is one of the best ways to study a community's history and its people.  Unfortunately, access to newspapers such as the Cheboygan Democrat is currently limited to microfilm.  While this is a minor hindrance for those who live in the community, for many researchers it can be difficult to search these newspapers.  Digitizing them would improve access and make it easier for historians and genealogists to utilize the information they contain.  As these newspapers were, the largest in this part of the state, they have become the definitive window onto the day-to-day history of this region. 

Northern Michigan is in many ways unique when compared to the rest of the state.  While much of Lower Michigan was settled long before the lumber boom, in the north the region was specifically settled because of lumber.  Had there been no demand for lumber, the communities here today would not exist, or certainly not in their present form.  The rise (and for some, fall) of these cities and villages needs to be studied in greater detail.  Digitizing the Democrat will improve access to this historical paper and not only let individuals connect with their past, but also allow researchers to understand and appreciate this region's contribution to state history.

Many newspapers from many communities in Michigan are already digitized.  While Northern Michigan undoubtedly has a smaller population, the impact this region made on Michigan history should not be underestimated.  What is more, people from throughout the state and the nation can trace their roots in some form or another to this area.  By digitizing the Democrat, even casual genealogists can research their family's roots and see how they fit in to the global community. 

A searchable, digitized newspaper from Northern Michigan will have an impact on many people not just from a historical standpoint, but from a familial one as well.  Ancestry isn't just about individuals; it's about their lives, their relations, their occupations, and more.  These are things that only a newspaper can shed concise light upon.

As an historian, I can confidently say that current literature on state history does not appropriately take into account the impact that the northern part of the state played in the history of Michigan.  The lack of availability of digitized newspapers from this region certainly plays a role in that, but one which can be corrected.  From local history to the region's people and events, newspapers are a crucial component for learning more about Michigan.  I would hope that you would give the strongest consideration to digitizing the Cheboygan Democrat.