Library adds student newspaper to local history collection
Heights Libraries recently expanded its local history collection by creating a new digital archive of the Heights High student newspaper, the Black and Gold.
Heights High students have published the Black and Gold since the 1920s, and the Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation gave a collection of the paper to the library in hopes that the historic issues could be preserved and shared with the community.
For the past few months, Heights Libraries’ Local History Librarian Jessica Robinson has been scanning and uploading old issues to the library’s page on the Ohio Memory website. The online collection currently includes issues from the 1930s and '40s, and Robinson plans to add to the collection in the future.
“You can read all about life in the 1930s and '40s in the Heights from the vantage point of teens, including serious articles ruminating on the impending war with Europe and concerns about Hitler and the spread of fascism,” said Robinson. “But you also have lighthearted articles with titles like ‘Fifty-Seven Varieties of Red Heads Add Spice and Color to Heights!’ Other articles dispense advice to fellow students on being courteous and conscientious, or scold them for behavior like doodling on desks and talking loudly during assemblies.”
Robinson said the articles are sometimes poignant as well, such as a Sept. 30, 1938 article, “Latvian Girl from Riga Likes U.S.,” which, while light in tone, describes the experiences in the U.S. of two teens who escaped Latvia and Austria, respectively, in the face of German aggression. “Reading that article in 2018,” noted Robinson, “it’s hard not to wonder about family members who may not have made it out of Europe.”
The Black and Gold archive is the newest addition to the library’s local history offerings on the Ohio Memory website, which also includes Home Heritage Tour booklets dating back to 1977, and valuable books on Heights history, such as The Proud Heritage of Cleveland Heights; In Our Day; Cleveland Heights: Its People, Its Places, Its Past; and the history of the Heights Libraries system, More Than Just Books by Marion Kelly.
Robinson hopes that the archive will spark memories for Heights High graduates, and inspire them to share those memories with her as part of the library’s ongoing In My Day oral history project. More details on this project, and access to the library’s Ohio Memory page, can be found on the local history page of Heights Libraries’ website, www.heightslibrary.org/local-history.
Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.