The Oregon Newspaper Project
What is the ONP?
The ONP is a non-profit microfilming project which has assembled one of the most complete collections of state journalism in the country. The collection is freely available to the public through the University of Oregon Library. Publishers pay no fee to have their newspapers preserved for the public good; the Project is solely funded through sales of its film. Film is primarily sold to libraries but is also acquired by publishers and by private researchers. With the exception of three titles now filmed commercially, all general-interest newspapers currently published in the state of Oregon are being filmed by the ONP. Microfilming is performed by staff and university students in Image Services, a library unit that specializes in creating and preserving images, and helping people use them effectively in research and presentations. Negatives are retained and stored in the ONP vault. One service copy of each reel filmed is added to the University of Oregon Collection, and additional copies are sold to other libraries and to newspaper publishers.
A brief history of ONP
In 1952 the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association contacted the University of Oregon Library to discuss the deterioration of the historic newspaper collections around the state. University Librarian Carl Hintz approved the establishment of a microfilming project and assigned Elizabeth Findly, Head Reference Librarian, to develop the Oregon Newspaper Microfilming Project. The Library began to film its own collection, while Findly undertook a 25-year Oregon odyssey, using personal time to gather newspapers from libraries and publishers throughout the state. The first paper to be filmed was the Bend Bulletin. In the early 1960s, Mrs. Frances Schoen joined the project and shared traveling and collection duties with Findly. Within a few years, the bulk of historic newspapers had been filmed. The project then undertook to maintain filming of newly published Oregon newspapers.
Rory Funke took over management of the project in 1977 following Mrs. Schoen's retirement, while Joy Halliwell provided clerical assistance from the Microforms service desk. Both retired in 1997, and the project was transferred to the Library's Preservation Dept. Patsy Gibbs served as the primary camera operator for fifteen years, and from 1997-1999, oversaw day-to-day operations in the unit. In 1999, ONP was joined by a sister project, USNP: Oregon, and the microfilm unit underwent yet another transformation as new equipment and staff were brought in. Finally, in 2001, ONP became a part of the newly-formed Image Services.
The ONP has been a labor of love for many University of Oregon Library employees. Elizabeth Findly and Frances Schoen established and nurtured the project through its early years, but their work has been continued by many other staff, in departments ranging from Reference to Special Collections and Government Documents & Microforms, without whom, ONP would not have been possible.
ONP further relies on ongoing support from newspaper publishers, libraries, and historical societies across Oregon, who provide both time and resources to help keep the project going and ensure that an important part of Oregon's historical record will continue to be preserved and available to the public.