Tag Archives: Shenandoah Valley

VNP Acquires Pages and Pages of Page County Newspapers

An auction purchase is but an occasional means of adding to the VNP archive but this was an occasion difficult to resist:  some 100 copies of Page County papers, mostly post Civil War to early 20th century, presented for sale by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates of Mt. Crawford, Virginia.

This constitutes a significant boost to the Project’s holding for this northern Shenandoah Valley county, modest in population (about 8500 in 1870, just under three times that figure today), but varied and active in its publishing history.

The discovery in 1878 of an enormous and oddly decorated hole in the ground transformed Luray, the county seat, from a quiet Page Valley town to a still reasonably quiet but increasingly popular tourist destination.  Visitors arrived first by train and then, as the 20th century progressed, by car and then even more cars after the completion in the 1930’s of Skyline Drive atop the Blue Ridge, the town’s very permanent neighbor to its immediate east.  Of the eight Luray papers in the purchase, the Times claims the most impressive and detailed masthead. From an issue of 1890:

The Reconstruction period is represented by copies of the Page Valley Courier, which in two years underwent a rapid turnover of owners resulting in a trio of mottoes reflecting the political reordering of the time. Pictured below (click to enlarge), the masthead as it appeared in its inaugural issue of March 15, 1867:

By the issue below of January 10, 1868, original editors Larkins and Price have departed, and for that matter so have two other editors, H. H. Propes and J. D. Price. The Courier is now run by James F. Clark who chose a motto endorsing the primacy of white citizenship over that of recently emancipated blacks and the paper’s … read more »

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Strasburg Discovery Delivered To LVA, Newspaper Project

After the passage of 80 years, let’s go ahead and submit that publisher and editor E. E. Keister had a worthwhile idea-the consolidation of his four Northern Virginian newspapers in 1932 to form (why don’t we call it…) the Northern Virginia Daily whose ownership remained in the Keister family all of those 80 years until last February.  Presumably the new owners, Ogden Newspapers of West Virginia, will maintain a self image that boasts at the bottom of their website (nvdaily.com), “Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!”.

The Library of Virginia microfilm holding of the Northern Virginia Daily is strong, in fact almost uninterrupted since its first issue.  Our interest in this blog entry is the happy announcement of a major addition to a rather weak holding, the Project catalog of those four newspapers dissolved back in 1932:  The Strasburg News, Woodstock Times & Edinburg Sentinel of the Shenandoah Valley, the Chief Justice of Marshall in Fauquier County, and Warren County’s Front Royal Record.  Some 50 volumes of these papers were loaned and transported to the LVA last month from the basement of the Northern Virginia Daily’s Strasburg office with the permission (and assistance, for which I was grateful on a hot July day) of the paper’s editor, Michael Gochenour.  Among those volumes were two discoveries not at all anticipated, one of them a newspaper without archive in any institution in Virginia (or elsewhere)-the Middletown Weekly (Clarke County, north of Strasburg) published between 1912 and 1916 (?).  I’ve borrowed that question mark from the Project’s go-to reference of 1936, Virginia Newspapers 1821-1935, compiled by the gray eminence of Virginia newspaper cataloging, Dr. Lester Cappon of UVA.  His description includes those three words we enjoy retiring, “no copy known”.  We now know 24 copies, about six … read more »

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