Full funding received - work to complete this project is underway
Thanks to the fundraising efforts spearheaded by Nancy Hoelscher Bell and Patricia Hoelscher Kessler, including a generous donation from P. Christopher DuBois, Library patrons and others will soon have full searchable access to The Geneva Republican once the Library fully digitizes this local, unique historical record that covers nearly 140 years of Geneva's people, events, and institutions.
Since 1878,The Republican has recorded and reported on births, deaths, marriages, graduations, sports scores, service club and church events, festivals, photos, and news events in and around Geneva. Within the pages of this little but mighty weekly lies a treasure trove of information connecting us to our past.
The Geneva Library Foundation supported this project to digitize past editions of the Geneva Republican newspaper so that it is keyword searchable. This process is known as optical character recognition, or OCR.
The OCR process will expand the library’s capabilities to serve its local patrons – over 20,000 card holders - without search restrictions. The library does not require a password or library card to access this information so this improved, indexed resource will also be available globally.
Information can also then be viewed, read and printed. This project will serve a diverse range of users – including educators, students, genealogists, and researchers. By making this source of written history searchable, innovative teachers can better use local history in their virtual stay at home lessons. Nursing homes and retirement centers can more effectively integrate this rich part of local history through programs that spark conversations and memories.
This campaign is in honor of Catharine Smith Soderquist. Catharine was a native of Geneva, moved to Colorado in the 1960s but moved back to Geneva in 2015. She loved to discover the past on her iPad by browsing past issues of the Geneva Republican. She passed just shy of her 102nd birthday. Her nieces, Patricia Hoelscher Kessler, Nancy Hoelscher Bell and former Republican writer Ann Mulvey Wilson are coordinating this effort with the Geneva Library Foundation.
Indeed, true local history will be preserved and be much easier to use. Longtime residents will be able to look up people and events from their youth. The City of Geneva's Planning Department will be able to research properties. The Geneva History Museum will be able to find information on names, places, addresses, and stories - and quickly access the information they need. We hope the process will be completed in the fall, stay tuned for updates!