Newspaper Archive of
The Sumner News Index and the Sumner News Review
The Sumner Historical Society is fortunate to have a newspaper collection comprised of almost every edition of Sumner weekly newspapers published from 1889 to 1990.
Over the span of 101 years, nine weekly newspapers served Sumner’s citizens. A couple of the nine were just a change in name; the ownership stayed the same. Some had a very long life, some ran for only a few years. For 41 years Sumner enjoyed two local weekly papers at the same time.
From the turn of the century to the mid 1920’s the local weekly was the freshest source of reading material in most households. This was an era when most farmers and many small town residents did not subscribe to daily papers from nearby large cities.
The earlier Sumner papers carried some world and national news but most of that was copy from services that provided the same pre-written, typeset, ready to print material to local papers.
Local area news was gathered, written, typeset and printed by the editor, sometimes with the help of a partner, family or an employee. The workload limited the size of the paper to four to eight pages each week.
Over time, improved printing technology allowed Sumner's papers to grow larger but they still focused just on Sumner and the surrounding valley.
leaving national news to the local dailies.
The last wholly local newspaper was the Sumner News Review, it ended in 1990.
Most of the collection is available as paper issues and on microfilm.
The Sumner Historical Society is in the process of digitizing the collection.
The first to be digitized was the Sumner News Review from the years 1979 to 1990. These existed only as bound paper volumes. They were never microfilmed. The Society did not want the last years of our local newspaper becoming the lost years of Sumner’s history. Years of history would be lost.
The current digitation project is The Sumner News Index from 1948 to 1958. Those years had a feature called the Pictorial Section, a unique addition to the newspaper. Here is why.
The paper was still being printed with traditional processes. The product of a Linotype and movable metal and wood type.
At that time, publishing a photograph was expensive, an outside firm would have to convert the photo into a printing block. In 1947, the News Index publisher, Pete Andrews, came up with an inexpensive way to provide many photographs in each issue. He purchased a small offset press and printed a two sided 10 x 13 inch "collage" of photos which was then inserted into the paper. It was titled "The Pictorial Section of the Sumner News Index." Most of the pictures were related to a story in that week's issue.
In 2019, the Society was gifted 1,400 envelopes containing 6000 to 9000 negatives. Most of the images were from the Pictorial section.
The negatives are being converted into a digital image file and matched to the newspaper issue it appeared in to provide complete historical context.
All the Pictorial issues will be available on the SmallTownNewspapers platform by the end of 2022. The Society will have the pictorial photographs available within the same time frame.
Searchers and researchers will then find a newspaper story, the Pictorial and crisp clean photographs. it is the history we all would want to find when we go looking for history.