*** UPDATE 01-10-2015 *** You can now read issues dating from 1880 to 1970 here on Newspapers.com.
“It is the essence of the poor that they do not appear in history.” Anonymous
I came across this quote while looking for a sub-heading for “Lost Monongahela” as I was revamping the design of this blog. Though I didn’t choose to use it, the quote really struck a chord with me because it is so difficult to uncover stories about what life was like for the average resident of Monongahela back in the day. There is too much information devoted to a handful of important men and the only pictures available online seem to be of churches and bridges.
Some of my favorite finds have been snippets of old newspaper articles such as this one about a local man who owed a 70 cent fine, remaining in jail for 5 months or the story about Mrs. Adams and the dropsy. I like how those stories give insight as to what life was like for the common folk of our city back then.
Those stories came from defunct news papers which are freely available online through Google’s advanced news archive search. (You can search through old issues of the Pittsburgh Press for example) The problem is that there are only a few stories relating to the city of Monongahela. Wouldn’t it be great if you could read stories from Monongahela’s longtime newspaper, the Daily Republican (aka. Monongahela Republican, Monongahela Valley Republican and the Daily Herald) dating all the way back to the mid 1800’s? Back issues of the Daily Republican are available on microfilm but that means you have the suffer inconvenience of viewing them on antiquated old microfilm machines in a back room of the Monongahela Library. Imagine if those microfilms were digitized and uploaded to Google’s Newspaper Archive service. Then you could read those old articles from the comfort of your home 24 hours per day. I wonder how we could go about digitizing back issues of the Daily Republican and making them freely available online. Have any ideas?