"A key to unlock the past." That is how The News-Tribune's
editor Mary Ann Barth, describes the microfilm collection of
News-Tribunes dating back to 1882, which she presented to the
Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne last Wednesday, February
"It's important to unlock doors for those interested
in history and genealogy," Barth said. "And we are
happy to be able to present Hicksville's history in such a way
that the public can view it at any time.
"It has been such a shame to have the films in our possession
and not be able to share them with the public. Now, after many
years of working, collecting and processing them, they are finally
Allen County Public Library's Historical Genealogical Depart-ment
Director Curt Witcher echoed Ms. Barth's sentiments during the
presentation ceremony at the library's Berry Street location.
"People, with today's technology, tend to lose focus of
recording the news as a historical reference. Newspapers are,
and were, a record of the life and times of the people they represent.
They give a good idea of the community, the people and its views.
"This collection will be a great addition to our library."
Mr. Witcher stated. "Most of our newspapers are considered
contemporary (1930s and newer) daily papers. We do have some
1700s editions from Virginia which are our oldest newspapers.
"The extent of this collection is wonderful." Witcher
continued. "To have over 100 years of news from a community
is exceptional, and we are very pleased to be able to add this
collection to the Allen County Public Library."
Witcher expects the acquisition of the Tribune films to be
the largest addition the library will make in the next several
Curt Witcher is shown loading a reel of microfilm from The
News-Tribune archive into a reader at the Allen County Public
Library. Witchert syas that the Tribune collection has already
been put to use in the week since its donation by members of
the public researching Hicksville's history.
Tribune Printing owner and editor of The News-Tribune, Mary Ann
Barth is shown presenting Curt Witcher of the Allen County Library
with The News-Tribune microfilms. Over 100 separate films
were presented, representing more than a century of Hicksville's
history. Witcher called the collection "exceptional."
The Allen County Public Library is known throughout the nation
for having the largest genealogical department in a public library.
Newspapers are a prime source of information for those studying
genealogy, and, according to Mr. Witcher, the Tribune editions
were put to use less than two days after their arrival. "A
woman came in this morning (Friday) requesting several issues,
and although we don't have everything cataloged yet, we made
them availble for her."
Hicksville area residents have been using the same collection
for nearly a year now since a duplicate set of microfilm editions
were presented to Johnson Memorial Library by the Barth family
in 2003. The microfilming process is ongoing, and both libraries
will continue to receive updated microfilms with current issues
of The News-Tribune each year.
The microfilming project began nearly 20 years ago when former
Tribune editor and publisher Merle Pepple (Ms. Barth's father
and former owner of The News-Tribune) began sending issues of
The Hicksville News dating back to 1882 to Bowling Green State
University to be microfilmed. Issues from 1882 through 1887 were
available along with a complete set of issues from 1906 through
the present. The project was completed after Ms. Barth purchased
the Tribune in 1990.
Today, Ms. Barth operates the newspaper with her sons, making
the Tribune a third-generation family-owned printing and publishing
"It's nice to finally see this all come together,"
Ms. Barth said. "We're glad to have had the opportunity
to continue my father's dream of preserving our history and sharing
it with future generations."