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Edward Hopper, Rockland Co Journal Go Digital

The Rockland County Journal; March 29, 1879by Brian Jennings

The Nyack Library has been digitizing microfilm copies of The Rockland County Journal and placing them online at news.hrvh.org.  Our project began with funding from The Library Association of Rockland County (LARC) and has continued with the support of the Friends of the Nyack Library, the Historical Society of the Nyacks, numerous private donations, and funds from the library.

We are now taking a brand new approach to fundraising for this effort utilizing the crowd funding site Kickstarter.   Bonnie Yassky, Nyack Library’s development director, mentioned Kickstarter to me late last year and I checked it out briefly, but then forgot about it.   When Gypsy Donut started using Kickstarter to raise startup capital for their new Nyack business, I made a contribution and at the same time considered whether this could be a funding solution for this project.

We currently have issues of the Rockland County Journal online from the years 1850-1884.   The years we are now digitizing are the years that the artist Edward Hopper lived in Nyack.  Knowing that Edward Hopper was born here in 1882 and all the celebrations of Hopper last year made me realize how important this era was for researchers.   The newspaper is our best window into what life was like while Hopper lived here.   In the newspaper you will find the marriage announcement for his parents, advertisements for his father’s store, and all sorts of other articles and advertisements that tell us what was happening here in the late 19th Century.

We just launched a video update that I intended to be a behind the scenes look at how our newspaper goes from a reel of microfilm to an online full-text searchable database.  The final product is a concise look at that process, but we have much more audio and video that I hope we can turn into something more complete.  Sarah Mam, a senior at Nyack High School, has been pulling all of the video together for this kickstarter project.   She started working with us in July 2011 on a monster project to index our entire vertical files.    These were originally the files of Journal News reporter Virginia Parkhurst, but have subsequently been added to by local history volunteers who religiously clip articles out of local newspapers.

We hope to raise $3,000 for digitization of the Rockland County Journal via Kickstarter.  This would fund the digitization of one reel of microfilm, approximately three years of the newspaper, February 15th, 1890 – December 31, 1892. You can view a short video about the project,  the video update describing the process of newspaper digitization, and contribute to the project. We must reach our goal of $3,000 by April 22 at 6p to receive funding.   Please consider making a donation to this important project.

Brian Jennings is a local history specialist and a supervisor at the Nyack Library.

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