Any historian or genealogist knows how useful newspapers can be. These primary resources are a treasure trove of information, from announcements of births, marriages, deaths, and scandals, to reports of elections, entertainments, and probated wills.
Newspapers can provide information on almost anything—the tricky part is finding it, especially when no specific dates or subject indexes are available.
Our Special Collections Center has a variety of name and obituary indexes that provide good coverage for the Gazette and Davenport Democrat newspapers, but our subject index for the Quad-City Times only runs from 1993 to the present. We subscribe to a historical newspaper database that allows keyword searching for earlier papers . . . but there are still a lot of years that simply aren’t indexed or digitized, yet.
Lucky for us, Davenport newspapers usually published special Year-in-Review sections in either the last issue of the year or the first of the new one.
These sections act as sort of summary and index for the events of the year, big or small, and can be invaluable for researchers who are trying to find something in a year for which no separate subject index has been compiled.
They can help pinpoint the year—and even the month—that a building was constructed . . . even if it wasn’t a “major”building:
They can provide financial information for the city (and on specific banks):
They announce industrial advances, proposed developments, and business relocations:
They examine taxpayer’s money at work—and provide charts and photos:
And can provide the number of births, marriages, and deaths in one convenient place:
You can even get a look at the crimes, catastrophes and scandals for that particular year:
Going through these pages may not be as convenient as an index, but it still beats going through every page of an entire year of the newspaper—especially on microfilm!
Why not come in and try it out?