Northern–Sun Print archives find new home
Bound volumes of past issues of the Northern-Sun Print newspaper made the journey from Tama back to Gladbrook last Thursday with the help of local volunteers Jeanne Paustian and Terri Luehring.
It was a fitting end on the morning of October 6 to a precarious few years for archives of a newspaper that today comprises one-half of the current Sun Courier.
After gathering dust for years in a back room of Tama-Grundy Publishing’s now-closed office space in downtown Tama, the archives have been top of mind for many people including Paustian and Luehring who volunteer with the Gladbrook Museum.
The Northern-Sun Print – like many an Iowa consolidated school district nowadays – is an amalgam of several preceding newspapers. The weekly newspaper of the Gladbrook-Garwin community was created in 1976 through the consolidation of the Garwin Sun newspaper which began publication in 1950, according to the Library of Congress, and the Gladbrook Tama Northern which began its publication run in 1946.
Prior to 1946, the Gladbrook Tama Northern was published as simply Tama Northern with roots as far back as 1881.
Following the resignation of Tama-Grundy Publishing’s publisher Abigail Pelzer earlier this year, the decision was made by Marshalltown Newspaper’s managing editor Robert Maharry to donate the many bound archive books stored at both the Tama and Traer offices to local museums and libraries.
Sun Courier note: Both the Sun Courier – which was created in 2020 following the consolidation of the Northern-Sun Print and Reinbeck Courier – and Marshalltown’s Times-Republican newspaper are owned by the same West Virginia company, Ogden Newspapers.
Once the decision was made to donate the archives, Sun Courier reporter Ruby McAllister got to work making the transfer possible.
Thus far, bound back issues of Tama Northern, Gladbrook Tama Northern, Northern-Sun Print, and the Sun Courier have been donated and transferred to the Gladbrook Museum, while Garwin Sun volumes made the journey this week to the Garwin Public Library courtesy of Maharry.
Work is ongoing to donate archives from Reinbeck Courier back to the community as well as the archives of the Tama and Toledo newspapers.
Archives for the Dysart Reporter and Traer Star-Clipper newspapers – which were consolidated in 2020 to form the Sun Courier’s sister paper North Tama Telegraph – have also been donated in recent weeks to their respective local museums.
“Words cannot express how appreciative we are,” Paustian – who worked for the Northern-Sun Print newspaper for 13 years – told the Sun Courier following the donation.
For a paper that dates as far back as 1881, preserving the back issues for future generations was important to not just members of the Gladbrook Museum but also to Maharry and McAllister.
While a newspaper is certainly more than just its past issues, for a paper like the Sun Courier – a paper that no longer has office space or any other assets beyond the weekly print edition coupled with an online presence – the archives have become more than just books.
The archives are now the heart of the paper.