Campus: Humboldt State University -- December 8, 2004
NW Newspapers' History Online
Looking for a back issue of the Humboldt Times? Or a way-back issue of the Times
Daily Telephone, say from 1883? And did you ever hear of The Western Watchman, in
1890 deemed "a journal of considerable ability, claiming perfect independence, and
warmly espousing the temperance cause"?
Through its Northwestern California Newspapers web site, the Humboldt State
University Library provides online information about these and roughly 140 other
newspapers published in Humboldt, Del Norte and Klamath Counties from the 1850s to
the present. Its web address is
Along with brief narratives and timelines of the newspapers, grouped by seven
geographical areas, the site profiles many the newspapers in their historical
context and offers a bibliography of articles about journalism in northwestern
California. It also provides a brief history of Humboldt County by Susie Van Kirk,
who compiled chronologies of the newspaper work of Susie Baker Fountain and Andrew
Genzoli. Van Kirk also offers "A Researcher's Reflections on Local Newspapers."
To view available back issues, which are primarily preserved in microforms, readers
must visit the Humboldt Room itself, on the HSU Library's third floor.
Joan Berman, curator of the HSU Library's Humboldt Room, led a project team that
included library staff members Edie Butler, Laurie Maxwell-Chamberlain and Gisela
Rohde; and student assistants Nathaniel Haas, Drogheda NiFaolain and Leigh Westfall.
Van Kirk and Merry Schellinger served as consultants.
This project was supported in part by the U. S. Institute of Museum and Library
Services and was sponsored by the California Council for the Promotion of History
and California Library Association. Berman presented the new site at a recent CLA
"The web site," said Berman, "makes it easy for users anywhere to find answers to
questions like, 'What newspapers were published in northwestern California in the
1860s - or the 1920s - or the 1960s?' 'Were any papers published in Crescent City
in the 1860s?' 'What papers have ever been published in Loleta?' 'Where can I find
copies of the Daily Evening Signal?'"
The project began about six years ago, she said, when staff from the California
Newspaper Project spent two weeks in Humboldt County.
"They visited all the local libraries, historical societies and museums to locate
as many copies as they could find of our local newspapers. They went away and put
their findings into a database," she said. "And, as we know, the newspapers continued
their own lives, some dying, some changing their names, some celebrating
anniversaries. Some new ones even came into being."
The project's challenge was to capture this continuing information and present it
in an attractive, graphical and updateable fashion for local newspaper readers
HSU Library Contact: Joan Berman, librarian, (707) 826-4939 or
Media Contact: Sean Kearns, Public Affairs, (707) 826-5151,