independent

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Read the 'People' – right back to 1853

Anne Marie O'CONNOR

A FULL COLLECTION of the Wexford People newspaper, dating back to 1853, is available for public perusal for the very first time in Wexford Library.

It was a landmark day for history buffs in Wexford on Friday when the latest addition to the newspapers-on-microfilm were unveiled at the library.

Even when the People Newspapers held its own hard copy archive in the previous buildings at North Main Street, the first ten years of editions from 1853 to 1863 were missing from the collection.

The only entire collection was held in the British library, which facilitated the Wexford libary services by providing the first decade on microfilm.

It's an exciting development for Wexford library services. 'It is our aim to get every single newspaper relating to County Wexford on microfilm,' said librarian Celestine Rafferty.

Putting the papers on microfilm preserves them for the future. 'This will conserve and preserve the papers. Newsprint fade, but microfilm is virtually indestructible,' she said.

At a gathering of researchers to celebrate the event, librarian Hazel Percival said the library's newspaper collection was the most used local history resource in the library.

Other new arrivals into the archive include two relatively little known and short-lived newspapers: the Wexford Conservative (September 19, 1832, to April 18, 1846) and the Wexford Freeman (May 1832 to May 1837).

Veteran researcher and historian, Tom McDonald said the newspaper microfilm archive at the library was a wonderful resource to have locally.

He felt privileged, he said, to be among the first people to read newspapers that had not been seen in Co Wexford for more than 160 years.

The latest issue of Now and Then, the newsletter of the library's local studies and archives services, contains a full list of the newspapers on microfilm available at Wexford Town Library. The newsletter is available at local branch libraries or by contacting either Gráinne Doran at 053 9124922 or Celestine Rafferty at 053 9121637.

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