Jordan Independent archive books

The historical society’s acquisition of microfilm newspaper records means Jordan Independent archives dating back to 1893 will see less wear and tear.

The Jordan Area Historical Society will use a nearly $10,000 grant to purchase 118 rolls of microfilmed newspaper and make primary records more accessible to the public.

The grant was administered through the Minnesota Historical Society using funds from the Minnesota Clean Water Land and Legacy fund. The grants were approved in August and announced Oct. 3.

The microfilm rolls will aid the historical society significantly in producing its weekly “Looking Back” historical column for the Jordan Independent. Historical Society President Ron Jabs said the task became more cumbersome when members had to travel to Savage to comb through archived newspapers.

“We have some of the newspapers going back a certain period of time, but what we have is relatively fragile and by handling that all the time it isn’t going to last forever,” Jabs said in June, when the historical society was awarded a grant to purchase microfilm technology. This second grant will allow them to finally put that machinery to use.

As it stands now, society members Liz Thaves and Bernice Hoffman page through old volumes of the Jordan Independent to produce the weekly article. But brittle pages from the older volumes, particularly 1919, are prone to tattering and crumbling edges with even the most gentle use.

The collection they’re looking to acquire from the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota History Center contains nearly every copy of the Jordan Independent dating back to 1886. Jabs said the collection also contains former publications that circulated in the Jordan area, including Jordan Flag, the People’s Weekly, the Advocate and the Mirror and the Minnesota Volkstreund, a German-language newspaper printed from 1892 to 1899.

“Our focus is to share our community’s history and the Jordan Independent and other newspapers that served us are just rich with information of what happened throughout the years, right from the early days as a settlement,” Jabs said. “We feel that Jordan has such a cool, exciting history over the years and if we don’t share it we’re going to lose some of that.”

Eventually the goal is to have the machine available to the community for research, Jabs said.

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