Historical Documents Researching Through History

Experience with Microfilms

Today was my first day researching at the Florida Gateway College Library looking through the microfilms for the back issues of the Lake City Reporter newspapers. Whoa! Took almost an hour to get comfortable with loading the machine, figuring out how the software works and then having to scan every page for references to the Hotel Blanche.

After about 30 minutes of that I decided it would be best to just hit the front page of each day. I was trying to locate the articles recorded on the historical place application but no such dates listed were published that I could find and the one date that I did find I couldn’t locate the article or reference. After that, I just took a year and started from the beginning just stopping on each front page. Don’t get me wrong the advertising and public announcements on the other pages are fascinating if I was researching 1924 but I have 60 years of newspapers to get through and can’t dawdle.

Besides not having a search engine to aid in your research if you don’t have specific dates you’re looking for a lot of these earlier newspapers like in the 1900’s and 1910’s were sometimes very faded, in a book so the inside seams interfere with those words or just were scanned in sloppily. We were also told that some years were never transferred to microfilm and the originals are long gone. Definitely tough on the eyes, shoulders, and nerves.

After 2 hours my bum had had enough and we decided to leave for the day. I did go ahead and schedule two days next week. If it goes quicker I just may have to schedule more days to get it done faster. I officially now have a community library card for the college library and can use their facilities all that I want, Monday through Thursday that is from 7:30am to 7:30pm and Friday 7:30 to 5:00pm.

We also made another stop at the Lake City Historical Museum to see if anyone knew anything about another reference in the original application, “The Social History of the Blanche Hotel” by Nellie Wilson. The docent on duty didn’t know of the work and suggested the library. He did state that I could schedule a time to go through the research files. That’s for after the Great Olustee Battle next week though.

Well, I have already looked at the library catalog and knew it wasn’t listed but I went anyway just to see if perhaps they had a special collection somewhere. No luck there either. But it wasn’t a total loss I picked up an application to reserve a room at the library for interviewing people about their experiences at the Blanche or family stories about the place. I especially want to gather pictures as well as the stories. That is for next month.

Ta Ta for now.