|Mary Girard and her mother, Annabel Girard, look through the archives.|
Changing brittle newspaper pages into digital files is "tedious and detail-oriented," Girard said. But as a self-described "history geek," she said she enjoys the work. "Things discovered in Danville's past can shed new light on the present," she said.
One specific article that caught her eye was a piece from 1905 about Danville merchants concerned about losing customers to out-of-town competition. "Back in 1905, they were talking about shopping local. We are having that same conversation today," Girard said. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
The project will likely take two years to complete. Girard posts some of what she finds in a Facebook group called "You might be from Boyle County if..." People who are part of the group enjoy looking at what she has posted and often help her identify individuals in some of the old photos.
"One of the early beneficiaries of the on-going digitalization of the old Advocate clips has been Michael Hughes, president of the recently formed Boyle County African American Historical Society," Kleffman writes. He was researching history of Danville's black community, so he visited the Advocate, and when he saw the archives, he knew it would take a long time to look through them. Browsing the digital files is much easier. "It's been a great help," he said. "It's just a treasure chest of information that the younger generation didn't know anything about and the older people had mostly forgotten about." (Read more)