Check those attics: An archivist's plea for your old newspapers

 

Halloween night in the windy railroad town of Livingston, Mont.: a Burlington Northern train, consisting of just three locomotives, hisses from the yard and begins the long, slow climb toward Bozeman. Nobody is onboard but a hobo. The engines crest the pass, pick up speed on the downgrade, hit 80 mph and jump the tracks. Railroad officials arrive on the scene and offer the bruised hobo $100,000 for leads on what happened. They suspect sabotage by disgruntled workers; Burlington Northern had just handed over 900 miles of track to Montana Rail Link, owned by anti-union magnate Dennis Washington.

That was the cover story of the Dec. 7, 1987 issue of High Country News. It's just one of many news articles, essays and maps that you can find in the HCN archives, lined up in bound volumes on the shelves at HCN's Paonia, Colo. headquarters.

It was around this time last year, as cold morning breeze came off mountains yellow with aspen, that I first cracked open the bound volumes. With each turn of the pages – more yellowed and more tattered as I flipped back through the years – I felt my past becoming more whole. It was a wide view of the last 40 years in the West, like the view I get by climbing a certain mountain and looking across the valley where I live.

Part of the reason I couldn't stop flipping through the archives is that they're rare. I didn't know then that the university library here in Bozeman (and a few others in the region) also have bound volumes of HCN issues. But I knew I couldn't find them where I get most of my other information – on the internet.

But that's changing. I recently came across the railroad story, and countless other HCN gems, while digitally scanning every page of every issue that the magazine (then in a newspaper format) published between 1984 and 1994 – the year when issues started being posted routinely to this website. Now, I'm uploading the files to the "Past issues" section of the HCN website. Soon, we hope to have all of HCN history digitized and available there.

This is where you come in. To complete this project, we need many pre-1984 loose issues (which can lie flat on the scanner, unlike bound volumes), listed below. So please, dear old-time reader, do you have dusty piles of HCN issues lurking around the house? If you do, and can bear to part with them at least temporarily, please let me know: [email protected]

As I continue the mostly robotic work of uploading the scanned files, I'll post more archive samplers here on this blog, as well as an updated list of the missing issues. So check back in – and check those attics!

(Dates unknown for those issues listed here without an exact date.)

Missing issues:

  • 25.8  May 3, 1993
  • 15.3  Feb. 2, 1983
  • 15.5  March 18, 1983
  • 15.15  Aug. 5, 1983
  • 15.23  Dec 12, 1983
  • 14.1  Jan. 8, 1982
  • 14.2  Jan. 22, 1982
  • 14.3  Feb. 5, 1982
  • 14.4  Feb. 19, 1982 (Mislabeled Feb. 5 on front cover)
  • 14.5  Mar. 5, 1982
  • 14.6  Mar. 19, 1982
  • 14.22  Nov. 12, 1982
  • 14.25  Dec. 24, 1982
  • All issues in 1981 - (Nov. 27 issue is mislabeled No. 22)
  • 12.12  June 13, 1980

 

  • 6.1  1974
  • 6.2  Jan. 18, 1974
  • 6.3  Feb. 1, 1974
  • 6.4
  • 6.5  Mar. 1, 1974
  • 6.7
  • 6.8
  • 6.12  June 7, 1974
  • 5.1  Jan. 5, 1973
  • 5.2  Jan. 19, 1973
  • 5.3  Feb. 2, 1973
  • 5.4  Feb. 16, 1973
  • 5.5  Mar. 2, 1973
  • 5.6  Mar. 16, 1973
  • 5.7  Mar. 30, 1973
  • 5.8  Apr. 13, 1973
  • 5.9  Apr. 27, 1973
  • 5.10  May 11, 1973
  • 5.12  June 8, 1973
  • 5.13  June 22, 1973
  • 5.17  Aug. 31, 1973
  • 5.19  Sept. 28, 1973
  • 5.20
  • 5.22  Nov. 9, 1973
  • 5.23  Nov. 23, 1973
  • 5.24  Dec. 7, 1973
  • 4.1  Jan. 7, 1972
  • 4.3  Feb. 4, 1972
  • 4.5
  • 4.6  Mar. 17, 1972
  • 4.7  Mar. 31, 1972
  • 4.8  Apr. 14, 1972
  • 4.11  May 26, 1972
  • 4.20  Sept. 29, 1972
  • 4.25
  • 4.26  Dec. 22, 1972
  • All issues in 1971
  • 2.1  1970
  • 2.2
  • 2.7
  • 2.8
  • 2.11
  • 2.12
  • 2.13
  • 2.14
  • 2.19
  • 2.25
  • 2.28
  • 2.33
  • 2.34
  • 1.32  1969

Marshall Swearingen is a former High Country News intern. He writes and archives from Bozeman, Montana.

High Country News Classifieds
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...