Old Newspaper Enters a New Era

Today, though the Dade City Banner might be a defunct newspaper, it remains a valuable historic resource entering into a new era.

n the past few weeks, Angelo Liranzo, librarian with Dade City’s Hugh Embry Library, has been working to inform the community of an important project the library has been undertaking.

That project, the digitization of their micro-fiche and micro-film collections of the historic Dade City Banner newspapers dating all the way back to 1914.

While I seldom share the resources which I use to research, compile, and write about our local history, it’s not often that we get the chance to celebrate a local research resource crossing over into the digital era.

So, this week we look back at what made the Dade City Banner so popular and exactly how it’s moving into the new digital era.

In 1913, when the Banner got its start, it was one of two newspapers published in Dade City.

In August 1913, the Gainesville Daily Sun reported, “Dade City is a rather small town to support two newspapers, but she is going to try it. Larger towns than Dade City have failed in this attempt but the Banner has the Sun’s best wishes for her success.”

And, successful it was with its publication lasting from 1913 to November 30, 2006, although having changed names in 1973 to The Pasco East and later the Pasco News and Pasco County News.

Published weekly, the Banner not only covered community news for Dade City but spanned Pasco County to include news from Trilby, Lacoochee, San Antonio, Saint Leo, Saint Joe, Zephyrhills, New Port Richey, Elfers, and Hudson.

However, there were no door to door deliveries and instead subscribers got their paper in the mail. Local residents who were serving in the military could also learn about what was happening back home by simply having the paper mailed to them.

Aside from news, the papers format also included a society column, describing in great detail events such as weddings, children’s birthday parties, and local families who entertained out of town relatives and other guests—it was truly the whose who of Pasco’s local news.

This sort of purely local coverage was a major part of the paper’s charm and, as you can imagine, this type of detailed coverage is now an important resource for the avid researchers and pioneer families of Pasco County.

The story of how the Hugh Embry Library came to posses such a wonderful collection might be just as impressive. According to Liranzo, the old copies of the paper were saved by a member of the community who, one day, found them tossed in the trash.

After retrieving the valuable collection from the garbage, in about September 1994, the tedious task of having the collection converted to micro-fiche and micro-film began.

From there, the originals were placed in archival boxes stored at city hall and the fiche and film distributed to the Hugh Embry Library and the University of Florida for research purposes.

Today, those original papers still survive and the process of digitally converting the micro-fiche and micro-film has begun.

According to Liranzo, the project has been divided into three phases. Phase one: digitizing the micro-fiche; phase two: digitizing the 16mm micro-film; and phase three: digitizing the 35mm micro-film.

At a cost of about $2,600, phase one has already been completed and copies of the newspaper from 1914 to 1947 are already available to the public through a computer at the library.

And, what’s nice is the fact that the new digital files are all PDF, which not only make them easier to read but it also provides a myriad of new features including the ability to do a keyword search, copy and paste, save a file, and even print files using a modern printer.

While Liranzo says phase one of the project has been completed, the library is still looking for funding to finish phases two and three.

It’s estimated that the final two phases will cost approximately $10,000, however $5,000 has already been contributed to the project leaving the library to raise the $5,000 difference, which they are seeking community support to accomplish.

When the project is finally completed, Liranzo says they hope to make the new digitized collection available through the internet so research can be done from the comfort of your home.

This brings joy to many old time Pasco residents who are anxious to see the projects completion and the potential to learn so much about our vibrant past.

If you would like to contribute the final two phases of the Dade City Banner digitization project please contact Angelo Liranzo at angelol@pascolibraries.org or by calling the Hugh Embry Library at 352-567-3576.

Fast Facts:

In 1913, John Tippen was the Dade City Banner’s first editor

In 1914, William M. Hetherington purchased the newspaper from Tippen.

On January 1, 1920, Hetherington sold the newspaper to Carl H. Rerick, who had leased it since 1918. Hetherington then moved to Lakeland and had charge of job printing in the Telegram office.

In August 1924, the Dade City Banner was taken over by Ira M. McAlpin, editor and Carl B. Taylor, associate editor.

In 1925, the newspaper changed from a weekly to a semi-weekly publication. Ira McAlpin later became Editor and Manager, a position he held through at least the end of 1928.

By 1931, T. S. Thomas was Managing Editor. In late 1933 H. S. Bazzell became Business Manager.

In 1943, following the death of H.S. Bazzel, his widow Margaret Bazzell subsequently became the newspaper’s owner and is shown as the owner through at least 1947.

In November 1970 Raymond M. Webb and R. Duane Anderson bought the newspaper from Charles Haskell. Two years later, the new owners expanded to a Monday through Friday newspaper.

In 1971-72, the paper was simply called The Banner and in 1972-73 came to be called the Pasco East.

In 1973 Pasco East, jointly owned by R. Duane Anderson and Raymond M. Webb, was sold to an Ohio company. The newspaper later became the Pasco News and the Pasco County News, which ceased publication on November 30, 2006, although the company continued to publish the Pasco Shopper, a free advertising flyer.


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