A collection of photos, negatives, certificates, and memorabilia from the Lebanon Daily News’s (LDN) archives has been donated to the Lebanon County Historical Society (LCHS).

It’s a reminder of the role that local newspapers have in the preservation of history. LDN News Director Randy Parker made the donation, specifically identified as an unconditional donation, in a move announced publicly in July. The latest cache of artifacts was shared in February/March 2019, however the Society has been acquiring LDN items since 2015.

An unconditional donation is one that permits the Society “to keep, lend, or otherwise dispose of the donated material.” (LebTown attempted to reach Parker for this article but he did not respond to our request for comment.)

Not all of the donation has been fully processed yet. The documents of the collection, made up of certificates, photo files, and negatives, will be accessioned into the archival section of the Society under the guidance of archivist Bruce Bomberger, PhD, while physical objects, including pictures in frames, are now a part of the Society’s museum wing.

Sherie Strohman, a Society volunteer and member of the museum committee, explained in a phone interview with LebTown that accessioning an item is a process that assigns each individual item a reference that is used to absorb the item into the Society’s existing system.

The photo files and negatives depict a number of Lebanon figures, such as current County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz. (Groh)

The documents included in the donation consist of miscellaneous certificates and two metal cases of small folders. The folders, alphabetized by last name, contain either small newspaper photographs or original negatives. Most are headshots of Lebanon residents and public figures, spanning a number of years.

The memorabilia includes a red book containing three copies of the 1972 Daily News centennial edition (one of which is currently on display in the museum) and printing plates. Strohman, whose position at the Society is comparable to that of a curator, notes that there are a number of other items from the LDN that have come in at different times, as well. A number of negatives dated after 1945 from the LDN are kept in an archival room currently inaccessible to the public.

The Society’s small facade on 924 Cumberland Street belies an impressive museum, auditorium, and library space, where parts of the new donation are being inventoried. (Groh)

Bomberger became the Society’s archivist and librarian in July, following the departure of archivist Adam Bentz, PhD. He oversees the large inventory of documents in the research room of the Society building.

Though some of the physical memorabilia is already available for viewing, the documents might take a little longer, according to Bomberger, who is familiarizing himself with the Society’s reference systems.

The Lebanon County Historical Society is an organization that aims to preserve the history of Lebanon and its people. It is open from Tuesday through Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. For more information, visit the Society’s webpage.

Update 8/13 8:30am: An earlier version of this article stated that the donation was made in July. In fact, the donation was announced in July, and made prior to that. We will update this post if we confirm the exact date.

Update 8/13 8:03pm: This post has been updated to clarify when the donations were made to the Society.

Josh Groh is a Cornwall native and writer who began reporting for LebTown in 2019. He continued to regularly contribute to LebTown while earning a degree in environmental science at Lebanon Valley College, graduating in 2021. Since then, he has lead conservation crews in Colorado and taken on additional...


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