History stored in book's pages

January 09, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Local history is now available for all to see at the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown.

A 72-page scrapbook contains articles from more than 300 newspapers in 23 states that covered the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam in 1937. The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce compiled the scrapbook many years ago.

The scrapbook was "resting comfortably in a storage closet" when Chamber of Commerce staff found it after a recent move, Chamber President Brien Poffenberger said.

In a ceremony Monday afternoon, the Chamber donated the scrapbook to the Western Maryland Room at Washington County Free Library, where the scrapbook is on display through the month of January and available to the public when the Western Maryland Room is open.


About 80 selections from the scrapbook were scanned and are available to the public on the Internet at the Western Maryland Public Libraries Web site, said Jill Craig, a digitization librarian.

She thought the most interesting stories were those that featured interviews with Civil War veterans who were more than 90 years old in 1937, Craig said.

Stories in the scrapbook also document President Franklin D. Roosevelt's trip to Antietam for the 75th anniversary.

Articles about Washington County celebrating its 200th anniversary and the 175th anniversary of the founding of Hagerstown also are included.

Mary Baykan, library director, thanked the Chamber for its foresight in compiling the scrapbook.

Washington County holds a unique place in the history of the country, due in part to the many historical sites in the area, and the library staff is cognizant of the charge it holds in helping to preserve that history, she said.

Library administrators hope that Poffenberger sends over whatever else he finds while cleaning out Chamber offices, said John Venditta, assistant director of Western Maryland Public Libraries.

History online

To read selections from the scrapbook donated by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, go to the Western Maryland Public Libraries Web site at

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