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Digitized newspapers bring history to light

WESTFIELD-For history buffs and anyone curious about their ancestors, the Westfield Athenaeum recently completed digitizing Westfield newspapers from 1885 to 1923.

“I created and oversaw the project which took three months when Covid made coming to the library difficult,” said Kate Deviny, director, Westfield Athenaeum.

Deviny noted the Athenaeum has held the Westfield papers since they were published and the basement is the holding area for numerous bound volumes.

A Westfield Athenaeum service includes online resources of Westfield newspapers and recently posted digitized issues from 1885-1923. (KATE DEVINY PHOTO)

“We sent microfilm of the newspapers to Advantage to digitize,” said Deviny. “The nice piece of this collection is that one can immediately find a clipping and put it out on social media as it is set up to do.”

The Westfield newspapers that are currently available under the Athenaeum’s online resources link include The Valley Echo, 1885-1923, which encompasses 9,184 pages; Times and News-Letter, 1884-1906, 6,308 pages; Westfield Evening Journal, 1917-1920, 6,117 pages; Westfield News Letter, 1855-1874, 4,017 pages; Western Hampden Times and Westfield News-Letter, 1874-1884, 2,072 pages, and the Hampden County Leader, 1907-1910, 1,554 pages.

“We hope to continue the digitization of all our newspapers so that citizens and historians of Westfield have the information available without having to pay Ancestry, etc.,” said Deviny.

Deviny said the Athenaeum’s research specialists have assisted countless patrons over the years, with the most popular topic being ancestors.

“People are often searching for their ancestors or a big event, the day we became a city, the Civil War, etc.,” said Deviny. “We know how important our history is to our patrons and thought this might be a fun way to spend time.”

The link for online resources is

For library patrons who are also interested in regional current events, the Athenaeum’s online resources offers a variety of newspapers ranging from the Boston Globe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette as well as The Westfield News.

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