Sedona Heritage Museum Announces Historic Issues of Local Newspaper On-Line
February 18, 2021
The Sedona Heritage Museum is excited to announce that the first 24 years of back issues of the Red Rock News are now available for online viewing and research after Phase I of a long-term digitization project.
The collection of papers is posted on the Arizona Memory Project (AMP) and accessible via the Museum’s website at SedonaMuseum.org/research/
The collections were made possible by a partnership between Larson Newspapers and the Sedona Historical Society, and with grants from the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona and the Arizona Historical Society.
The back issues begin with the first published in 1963, when Robert and Loretta Larson assembled it in their home, to June 1987.
The project has taken about two-years to complete. The Society first worked with a specialized vendor to digitize about 800 issues of the paper, scanning over 20,000 pages and creating over 50,000 images in a variety of formats to meet prescribed Library of Congress standards. They then worked with the Arizona Library, Archives and Public Records News Content and Digital History staff to get the files onto the state’s Arizona Memory Project website.
As holder of a set of the old microfiche and routinely seeing the dread of researchers faced with using the antiquated system for searches, the Sedona Public Library played a support role.
“This was really a massive collaboration.” said Sedona Historical Society Historian, Janeen Trevillyan. “We could not have done the project, let alone have hosted the content in a useable, searchable web-based platform without the assistance from the State.”
Kyle Larson, current General Manager and grandson of the founders, is proud of his family’s contributions to the local community as residents, business owners and philanthropists. The family is also excited about the preservation and access these online collections will provide. “Newspapers report history and local historical societies and museums preserve history”, he said. Larson is also a member of the Society’s Board of Trustees.
Back in the 1950s and as a small town, Sedona residents hoped for a local newspaper. There were several ‘false starts’ by individuals, but it wasn’t until Robert and Loretta Larson, who had newspaper experience, moved from Phoenix that Sedona got its own ‘voice’. They published their first issue of the Red Rock News in the fall of 1963 and distributed it for free to the local population of about 1200. In the beginning, many ads were placed without cash payment, but rather in trade for goods and services. Classified ads were free to the general public (not businesses) and delivery was via U.S. Postal Service.
“We are so excited to have such a comprehensive run of the paper – almost 25 years! Community newspapers, like the Sedona Red Rock News, serve as the memory of a town and are so important in offering perspective. Think of all the stories embedded within these pages.” stated Sativa Peterson, News Content Program Manager for the State of Arizona Research Library. “Ryan Ehrfurth, Digital History and Maps Librarian for the State, brought a team together to get the files online. This really was a partnership.”
The Society hopes to find future grants to assist with digitization and continue to make more back issues of the Sedona Red Rock News accessible and search-able. This is the fourth collection to be placed on AMP by the Society.
The Museum is located at 735 Jordan Road in Jordan Historical Park in Uptown Sedona and is open daily 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, call 928-282-7038.