Nicklaus Family donates $34,000 to Merrill Historical Society for digitizing project
Donation will provide community with access to digitized historical records
Ron and Kay Nicklaus and Todd and Camille Nicklaus recently donated $34,000 to the Merrill Historical Society (MHS) to enable MHS to digitize files and provide the community with access to important historical records.
Currently, the MHS houses a collection of Merrill Foto News newspapers from the years 1969-1999 in paper format. In addition to making research time-consuming utilizing the paper copies, over time paper newspapers deteriorate, becoming fragile which makes it more difficult to preserve the history contained within the pages. Converting these newspapers to digital format will protect these important artifacts of Merrill history, make them more easily available to community members, and make it easier to search for information.
Ron Nicklaus, founder of River Valley State Bank, now IncredibleBank, along with his wife, Kay, said, “By digitizing these paper artifacts, we are helping bring our history to the next generation, allowing us to continue to learn from our past while protecting it for years to come.”
“We’re incredibly proud to be a part of this community and are happy to be a part of preserving its rich history,” said Todd Nicklaus, who serves as IncredibleBank’s Chairman of the Board.
In 1978, the Merrill Historical Society was established when a group of historically-inclined individuals banded together to manage and archive documents, directories, high school yearbooks, family histories, historical photos, and more, with the hope of keeping history in Merrill alive.
The services provided by the Merrill Historical Society include a museum containing both permanent and temporary exhibits, and document and photography archive research.
“The Society has made arrangements to work with Crowley Digital Preservation Solutions in Maryland to digitize the collection of bound Foto News papers given to us many years ago by the O’Day family,” said Patricia Burg, Treasurer of the MHS. “The process will take two to three months to complete, but once finished, the papers should be searchable and ready to put online.”
“We are still working on the vehicle to make them available,” she said, “But we have several choices to go with. The Nicklaus Family was very adamant that these be made available to the public as part of their donation.”
Burg said previous conversations with Tim Schreiber, General Manager at the Merrill Foto News, suggest they may be expanding the searchable Merrill Foto News resource even more once the initial phase of the project is completed. “In talking with Tim Schreiber of the Foto News, there are subsequent issues from 2000 on that we would like to have available, as well,” she said. “We hope to work with the Foto News to get this done so that all the issues will be available to the public.”
“It is wonderful to have such community support for these important projects,” said MHS President Bea Lebal.
To donate to the MHS, go to: merrillhistory.org/donate.
“In addition, the Society’s archives include the bound volumes of the Daily Herald going back through the 1920’s,” Berg added. “These papers are deteriorating very quickly, and it would be wonderful to be able to preserve them and have access to these online, as well. We have a few more options to do them at a lower cost, as they have been microfilmed already, and that could be used to make the searchable copies.”
Some editions of the Merrill Daily Herald are already available online through newspapers.com, but this is a paid subscription service. Lincoln County residents can access newspapers.com for free at the T.B. Scott Library if they do not wish to pay for a subscription.