Over the course of the 2020 fall semester, Brendon Stead, senior public applied history major, and Lena Kubat, senior public applied history and english literature double major, worked on their internship project with the Eberly Library museum to make issues of the Waynesburg Messenger newspaper more accessible online.
Waynesburg University had a forgotten collection of issues of the Waynesburg Messenger from the years spanning the American Civil War.
“We actually do not know who gave the newspapers to Waynesburg University here,” Stead said. “Me and Professor Redd found this in the basement below Miller Hall museum.”
Now, the papers have been given a new life.
“For this project, [what] we had to do is work and check the Civil War because Waynesburg and Greene County [played] a very important role in the Civil War and including the politics for Abraham Lincoln,” Stead said.
Kubat and Stead weren’t just worried about making sure the papers were preserved. They also wanted to organize the information and make it easy and open for anyone to investigate.
“Our goal was to, you know, look for some important terms … like African Americans, women’s role in Waynesburg, Waynesburg College because that’s what it was called back then,” Stead said.
Those terms were then put into a catalog for easy organization.
“If anyone ever wanted to come to Waynesburg, into the library and do research on any of those topics, they could look through my notes … go and look in the list and see ‘oh does this article, you know, apply to my research?’” Kubat said.
Despite not being a big Civil War buff, Kubat was still able to find elements of the project that she found intriguing.
“To be near and touch and go through something that was from so long ago was really interesting for me,” Kubat said. “I thought that it was really cool to, you know, read something that people wrote in the 1860s and kind of see into the minds of the people and kind of get a sense of what life was like over all.”
The scanned copies of the Waynesburg Messenger can be found on the Penn State University Library website through the Pennsylvania Newspaper Archive.