10 northwest newspapers have a new owner, SmallTownPapers Inc.

Jan 15, 2021

Company commits to scan entire archive for free public access

SEATTLE, Washington – SmallTownPapers Inc. of Shelton, Washington, is pleased to announce it has been granted ownership of 10 small-town newspapers from now-retired eastern Washington and Idaho publisher LuJane Nisse. Copyrighted titles from communities including Palouse, Garfield, Latah County, Moscow, Genesee and Kendrick have archives dating back to 1874.

Nisse and her husband actively published the newspapers covering the region in the 1980s. They were committed to digitally preserving the history-rich archives packed with information including local news, sports, business, community events, politics, marriages and obituaries. They were among the first publishers to turn to SmallTownPapers in 2000 for help preserving the archives.

“SmallTownPapers would make all of our titles scanned and searchable using keywords to get needed information,” explained LuJane Nisse who previously obliged local historians and genealogists who wanted to manually search the hard copy archives.

Nisse transferred ownership of the newspapers to SmallTownPapers knowing the company shares her commitment to stewardship. “Taking ownership of these important community newspapers means the extraordinary stewardship of LuJane and Bear Nisse can now be fully realized,” SmallTownPapers founder Paul Jeffko said.

Jeffko started scanning newspapers in 1999 for publisher friends in the small town of Brewster, Washington. “When they showed me the morgue (archive room) of the Quad City Herald in Brewster, Washington, I realized this unique content was irreplaceable ⁠— and an incredibly valuable community resource once digitized.”

The scanning of the Herald’s 30,000-page archive quickly led to more digitization requests for 30 regional weeklies. In 2004, Jeffko’s company expanded and to date has scanned millions of pages of nearly 500 titles across the U.S. in a combination of current and archive editions.

As for the Nisse Collection, SmallTownPapers has made more than 50,000 pages of archives from the collection available for free public access. Click here to explore the collection.