Creston Review issues from 1909-1935 now available online

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The front page of the Jan. 28

The front page of the Jan. 28

Twenty-six years of the Creston Review newspaper are now available online!

The Creston Review was established in 1908 by J.J. Atherton, and was the first newspaper serving the Creston Valley. For many years, the Review was Creston’s only local paper, and was usually a weekly paper, though there were a few brief periods when it was published semi-weekly. It changed hands a number of times until taken over by longtime publisher Herb Legg in 1938, but retained its name and its unashamedly “local” focus throughout its life. The Review published its last issue in 1983.

And, for many of the years since, the only way you could read the Review was by going to the Creston Museum or the provincial library. But that is no longer the case.

“We are really excited about this,” says Creston Museum manager Tammy Hardwick. “We go to the newspapers all the time for our own research, and the vast majority of the public research requests we get also require going through newspapers. They are the best source of information we’ve got about Creston’s early years.”

However, every time a newspaper is taken out of the stack, read, possibly photocopied, and put back again, it runs the risk of getting damaged.

“The best way of preserving the information that the newspapers contain is by never handling the newspapers,” says Hardwick. “But, until now, that has not been an option, because the whole purpose of preserving that information is to be able to use it.”

Now, researchers can access that information anytime, and anywhere, thanks to a grant from Columbia-Kootenay Cultural Alliance, which enabled the Creston Museum to digitize the Review from 1909 through to the end of 1935, and make them available online through the University of British Columbia Library. The digitized newspapers are fully searchable and printable, and form part of an online collection of newspapers from all over the province.

When asked why the digitization ends in 1935, Hardwick says,  “Part of it is the cost — we did as much as we could with the $4,000 we had available. But mostly, we stopped there because of copyright issues. We had to be reasonably sure they were in the public domain, which they would be if the owner died more than 50 years ago. Otherwise, we needed to get the owner’s permission to reproduce them.”

Will later years eventually be digitized? Hardwick hopes so.

“We’ll continue working on the copyright thing — if we can track down Herb Legg’s heirs and if they are willing to give written permission, we could complete the collection,” she says, then laughs and adds, “Of course, we’ll need a few thousand dollars, too.”

In the meantime, later years of the Creston Review are still available at the Creston Museum, and the early years can be read at historicalnewspapers.library.ubc.ca/info/collection/crestonrev.

—CRESTON MUSEUM