Virginia Chronicle, the Library of Virginia’s digital newspaper database, has added an impressive array of new titles in recent months.
Formed by a merger of the Suffolk News and Suffolk Herald in 1927, nearly a hundred years later the Suffolk News-Herald still serves as Suffolk’s daily newspaper. Plans to digitize the Suffolk News-Herald began in July 2018. Suffolk Library Director Clint Rudy contacted the News-Herald and worked with Errol Somay, Virginia Newspaper Project director, to get the paper digitized by the Library of Virginia. Currently, 1927-1951 is available on Virginia Chronicle, and 1952-2009 will be added sometime in early 2021. The Suffolk News-Herald is an incredibly rich historical resource for information on the people and events of Suffolk, but also for statewide, national, and world news.
In 2019, the Virginia Newspaper Project (VNP) received its sixth grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize 100,000 additional pages for the Chronicling America database. The VNP’s focus for this grant cycle has been on antebellum and Civil Rights era newspapers. So far, the 1828-1866 issues of the Richmond Whig, edited by J. H. Pleasants, and 1849-1860 of the Lynchburg Virginian (also called the Lynchburg Daily Virginian), a pro-Union paper published by Blackford, Townley & Company, have been added to Chronicling America and Virginia Chronicle. Additional antebellum titles will be added to both databases soon, including the Richmond Daily Times, the Norfolk Day Book, the Staunton Vindicator and the Sentinel of the Valley of Woodstock.
Additional issues of the Farmville Herald have also been digitized with NEH grant funding. Published on the first floor of the old Opera House, the Farmville Herald, was established on 14 November 1890 “in conjunction with the Farmville Coal and Iron Company” and under the leadership of Colonel R. B. Berkeley. Issues from 1950-1957 of the triweekly Farmville Herald (also called the Farmville Herald and Farmer Leader), which have recently been added to Chronicling America and Virginia Chronicle, chronicle the intense battle over integration in Prince Edward County—a fight which ultimately led to the closing of its public schools from 1959-1964. The 1958-2009 issues of the Farmville Herald will be added to Virginia Chronicle in the coming months.
Serving Russell County beginning in 1882, the Lebanon News is still published today in hard copy in Lebanon, Virginia. A fitting note to the right of a 1935 masthead reads “Russell County, Noted for Blue Grass Farms, Pure Water, Good Roads and Scenic Beauty.” Thanks to the Lebanon News publishing office and the Lebanon Public Library, who both lent their collections to the Library of Virginia for digitization, Virginia Chronicle now offers a nearly complete run of the Lebanon News from 1935-2000. Once again, this long-running weekly newspaper offers an incredible amount of information on the people and local happenings of Russell County and surrounding areas.
In addition to the Lebanon News, the Lebanon Public Library lent two rare Honaker titles, the Honaker Herald and Honaker Press, which are also now available on Virginia Chronicle.
Honaker Press, September 6, 1951
“An Independent Newspaper, Serving the Entire Community,” was the motto of the Honaker Press, a weekly newspaper serving Russell, Buchanan, and Tazewell Counties published during the 1950s. The Lebanon Public Library’s collection consists of six issues spanning 1950-1953, and the Library of Virginia is extremely grateful to be able to share this rare newspaper on Virginia Chronicle. The Press is packed full of interesting local news, like a 6 September 1951 report on a visit by the Rev. Thea F. Jones, director of Evangelistic Healing Services, to the Richlands baseball field, and an article detailing Miss Phyllis Shelton’s discharge from the Women’s Air Force, published in October 1951.
The other Honaker newspaper, the Honaker Herald, was published from 1909 until sometime in the 1940s. Thanks again to the Lebanon Public Library, this weekly newspaper, also rare, is now available on Virginia Chronicle.
The Honaker Herald, self-described as, “Russell’s Intermontane Newspaper,” was edited by C.C. Bausell, a Texas native who, according to an article in the Clinch Valley News, first visited Russell County in 1909. Five issues from 1925-1944 have been added to Virginia Chronicle and every page is chock full of news about things happening in and around Honaker, as well as statewide and national news.
Until recently, there were no Culpeper newspapers represented on Virginia Chronicle, but thanks to a generous private donor, there are now several Culpeper titles available including: the Culpeper Enterprise (1905-1909), Culpeper Exponent (1889-1923), Culpeper Gazette (1827-1876), Culpeper News (1908-1911), Culpeper Observer (1852-1877), the Exponent (1881-1900), Pepergram (1946), Piedmont Advance (1886-1888), the Virginia Star (1919-1953), and the Weekly Enterprise (1894).
Finally, one issue from February 1934 of the Church News, an African American newspaper edited by A.L. James and published in Roanoke, is now on Virginia Chronicle. This one issue, the only copy known to the Library, includes local briefs, obituaries, information on a public race relations meeting, an editorial titled, “Lynching and Kidnapping,” local church news, advertisements for local businesses, and more.
Virginia Chronicle now has 1.3 million newspaper pages, with over 200 publications dating back to the 1700s, so please visit Virginia Chronicle for newspaper research and revisit often to discover what’s new!
Happy to learn that more issues of the Farmville Herald are available. Keep growing Virginia Chronicle!