Over the span of 101 years, nine weekly newspapers served Sumner’s citizens. A couple of the nine were just a change in name; the ownership stayed the same. Some papers had a very long life, some ran for only a few years. For 41 years Sumner enjoyed two local weekly papers at the same time.
From the turn of the century to the mid 1920’s the local weekly was the freshest source of reading material in most households. This was an era when most farmers and many small town residents did not subscribe to daily papers from nearby large cities.
The earlier Sumner papers carried some world and national news but most of that coverage was short human interest stories from large services that provided the same pre-written, typeset, ready to print articles to local papers.
The local area news was gathered, written, typeset and printed by the editor, sometimes with the help of a partner, family or an employee. The workload limited the size of the paper from four to eight pages each week.
Over time, improved printing technology allowed Sumner's papers to grow larger but they still left national news to the local dailies and focused just on the Sumner and valley area.
The last wholly local newspaper was the Sumner News Review, it ended its run in 1990.
The Sumner Historical Society is in the process of digitizing the Society's collection of Sumner newspapers.
Most of the collection is available as paper issues and on microfilm.
The most critical portion to digitize is The Sumner News Review from the years 1979 to 1990. These exist only as bound paper volumes. They were never microfilmed.
What would happen if these were lost or destroyed? Eleven years of sumner’s history would be gone.
Each paper is a historical vault filled with sports activity, school news and functions, business news, construction and demolition, church and civic groups happenings, farm and local agriculture, news about notable people and people that did notable things, city government changes and accomplishments, police, fire and medical news.
It is likely that those eleven years blended with your personal history or that of a relative.
That history would be gone.
Here is some good news. The Historical Society has found the funds to have four of those eleven years digitized by a firm in Shelton Washington that specializes in that activity.
157 issues are now available on line. You can browse or do research with an easy to use search function. The available years are 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1985.
The Society is currently exploring options for financing the digitation of the remaining seven volumes. It is expensive, roughly $1,000 per volume. However the cost of loosing those volumes is greater. There would be a large gap in Sumner's history.
The Society does not want the last years of our local newspaper becoming the lost years of Sumner’s history.
For more information on how you can help, contact the Society Publicist.