Thursday, April 18, 2013

Artifact of the Month - April

April’s Artifact of the Month is a wooden photographic printing block from the Bossier-Press Tribune collection. The History Center has thirty-seven of these blocks, dating from the 1960s through the 1970s. 

These items speak to the history of Bossier Parish’s newspaper publishing industry. In 1859, seventeen-year-old William Henry Scanland took over the fledging Bossier Times newspaper from its original owners, W.C. Mitchell and A. Lowry. Scanland began publishing weekly editions of the Bossier Banner, only stopping briefly during the Civil War. The Banner passed to Scanland’s son, Abney, who continued to publish the paper. 

The Plain Dealing Progress started in 1929 in Plain Dealing, a small town in the northern part of the parish. Felix Glynn Phillips, Plain Dealing High School principal, owned the paper and eventually bought the Bossier Banner. Phillips merged the two papers in 1952, creating the Bossier Banner-Progress

The Planters Press was the first newspaper printed in the town of Bossier City. It began on May 25, 1928 and was primarily dedicated as a voice for farmers and planters, hence its name. The paper was owned by Edwin Rice. Another Bossier City paper was the Bossier Tribune, first published in June of 1940. This paper competed head on with the Planters Press for years. The two merged in 1984 to become the Bossier Press-Tribune

In 1994, Bob Barton, owner of the Bossier Press-Tribune, purchased the Bossier Banner-Progress from Wilton Corley. This resulted in an expanded edition, which carried all the news found in the Bossier Press-Tribune, plus all the features and additional Benton and Plain Dealing news found in the Banner-Progress

Most of the photographic imagery on the wooden printing blocks is of individual local politicians or business leaders. This block (1999.116.015) is of Marguerite Hudson, a local teacher who also served two terms on the Bossier Parish School Board. During her tenure on the board, Marguerite was involved in a major school building program for the parish and helped place computer labs in schools. She campaigned for the expansion of the Bossier Parish Library System and its Historical Center. Her contributions to Bossier Parish earned her a Woman of the Century award from the Women’s Business Council.

We also have a block with the crest for Airline High School (1999.116.025), a block with the planned route for I-20 through Shreveport, and a metal block with a pointing finger. This attention-grabbing block is the oldest in the collection and was used to literally point readers to important news and special advertisements. Come by the Historical Center to see more of this collection and other important items relating to the newspaper industry in Bossier Parish. You’re more than welcome to sit down at our microfilm reader and browse through the old issues of the Banner and other local papers, as well. Our Banner microfilm collection starts with the issues from 1859!

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