Former Local Newspapers, including 77,000 Pages of The Gazette, Now Available

Per Montgomery History:
More than 77,000 pages from 1,575 issues of The Montgomery Gazette and other local newspapers have been digitized and are now available for viewing at the Jane C. Sween Library in Rockville due to the preservation efforts of Montgomery History. The project was made possible as part of the success of Montgomery History’s New Life for Old News campaign. It raised the funds necessary to make the papers accessible and preserved for posterity.

The Jane C. Sween Research Library and Special Collections is located at the Beall-Dawson Historical Park in Downtown Rockville. Named in honor of its first librarian, Jane C. Sween, the library supports Montgomery History’s mission to collect, preserve, interpret and share the history of the County.

The pages now available at the Sween Research Library include:

  • The Gazette. 1960-65, 1977-86 (Papers from 1966-76 are no longer available).
  • The County Courier. 1973-81. (Purchased by The Gazette in 1981).
  • The Olney Courier-Gazette. 1981-86 (Merger following purchase, covering Olney area news).
  • The Sentinel. 1964-69. (Issues from 1855-1963 are provided on Chronicling America, through the Library of Congress. See our tutorial for searching The Sentinel).

This is the first time mid- to late 20th Century Gazettes and other local newspapers are available digitally. The papers had been in storage for more than a decade and were completely inaccessible to researchers or the public. Many of the issues began to deteriorate while in storage due to the poor-quality paper on which they were printed at the time.

The completion of this phase of digitization ensures that the resources, which provide some of the best coverage of the people and events that shaped the County’s history, will be available for generations to come. The next phase of the campaign, scheduled to begin in early 2023, will focus on digitizing issues from the latter part of the 1980s.

The now-available newspapers date from 1960 to 1986 and cover topics of particular interest including politics, education, local entertainment, high school sports, community events, wedding and engagement announcements, obituaries, advertisements for now defunct popular businesses and the rapid pace of suburbanization during those decades.

The New Life for Old News campaign was launched in April 2021 to celebrate the memory of former Montgomery History Executive Director Mary Kay Harper, who had recently passed away. Acquiring all the hard copies of the Gazette was one of the last initiatives Harper undertook before she retired in 2008.

Access to the digitized issues of the Gazette is available by appointment during regular research hours Wednesday through Friday at the Jane C. Sween Library. Visit MontgomeryHistory.org/montgomery-county-newspapers to find out how to view the digitized newspapers and to learn more about the project.

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