We have an almost complete collection of the Natchez Democrat newspaper on microfilm, the only collection outside of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It is the most heavily used item in our Genealogy/Local History section. It is really the best, and sometimes only, way to research local history. However, if a patron does not have an exact date, it is unwieldy and time consuming to search through reels of microfilm. Our Reference Librarian has to turn down many requests for information, if the patron does not have specific dates. We have out of town visitors come specifically to look up information in these newspapers – and they frequently leave discouraged.
Natchez is the birthplace of Mississippi and has a long and fascinating history. The local newspaper is the most extensive repository of that history. To make that history easily available to the public would be a major service to the community, the state, and people across the country - and maybe the world.
The solution, of course, is to digitize this microfilm collection and make it available online. This is an expensive and time consuming project, but we are slowly working on it. As newspapers are digitized, we will make them available online here.
Volunteers are sorely needed with this project. If you are interested in assisting on this project, please contact us.
Note: Some of these are not very good images, because the newspapers were so old when they were originally microfilmed. The files are listed by date, and the copies get better. Click on the Newspaper name to open a PDF document. (You will need Adobe Reader.) These are large files and might take awhile to download. The files are searchable, although the word recognition is primitive with these poor copies.