For the past several weeks, MaryBeth Hayes and I have been digging in the archives of the Adams House, opening boxes, moving boxes of books, creating pathways into all the archive rooms on the second floor of the Adams House. And thank goodness for MaryBeth, since she could do all the heavy lifting that I am unable to do, until my back heals.
Every day was like Christmas for us, since we never knew just what treasure we would find when we opened a box.
In the newspaper room, we made a startling discovery. We found a bound newspaper book, which contained the very first issues of the The Daily Union newspaper, starting with Vol. 1, No. 1 dated March 8, 1856 and continuing through Nov. 7, 1856. Astonishing.
But right under that book we found another.
This was the first issues of the Fond du Lac Journal, starting with Vol. 1 No. 1 dated Feb. 21, 1857 and continuing through April 17, 1858.(Vol II, No. 61).
It was totally enlightening to carefully glance through these early issues. There was very little, if any local news in that era. The issues contained national news, and local advertising, on four pages.
What a wonderful glimpse into the past.
Another treasure that we found at the bottom of the pile, was a box that contained the actual hand-written WWI veterans census, taken in Fond du Lac county. The entire state of Wisconsin conducted this census, and these are the actual forms that were filled out by the veterans, listing their unit, the names of their parents, any wounds or illnesses incurred during service, dates and places of enlistment and discharge, etc. What is wonderful about this census, is that Fond du Lac county made a concerted effort for each veteran to include a photo of himself with his form. Those WWI veteran pictures are all cataloged in the society's photo collection! Now here were the original forms!
Needless to say, it feels like Christmas every time we open a box!
Next step is to inventory all these boxes, and assign them a permanent shelf location.