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Eastchester 350th Anniversary Committee Digitizes Local Newspaper Pages

Bob Riggs, Co-Chair of the Eastchester 350th Anniversary committee, and Eloise L. Morgan, 
Bronxville Village Historian, deliver the first of 114 microfilm reels of old local weekly newspapers to an employee (right) of Hudson Archival.
Bob Riggs, Co-Chair of the Eastchester 350th Anniversary committee, and Eloise L. Morgan, Bronxville Village Historian, deliver the first of 114 microfilm reels of old local weekly newspapers to an employee (right) of Hudson Archival. Photo Credit: Contribued

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Although it’s now been 351 years since Eastchester was founded, volunteers with the town’s 350th Anniversary Steering Committee recently celebrated the beginning of the digitization of more than a century of local weekly newspapers as a “final gift.”

The steering committee is preserving much of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville’s histories in digital form, spending months digitizing copies of local literature, which will soon be accessible and searchable by anyone with a working Internet connection.

According to Steering Committee co-chair Linda Laird, “creating a tangible legacy of the anniversary was an important goal of the 350th celebration from the beginning.”

She said that that concept evolved into the hardcover book, “Out of the Wilderness: The Emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville, N.Y., 1664-2014,” which they put together and sold as part of the anniversary last year.

“At our earliest meetings, we targeted the publication of a history of the town and its two villages as something to leave future generations,” she said. “Strong sales of the book and a successful general fundraising campaign left the committee, as it prepared to dissolve, in the enviable position of holding a sizable fund balance from which it made additional lasting gifts to the community.

“The newspaper digitization is a major project in itself, and it just developed at the end as an added bonus.”

In all, more than 100,000 pages from nine different, out-of-publication Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe weeklies will be digitized and preserved. Bronxville Village Historian Eloise L. Morgan is overseeing the digitization, which was made possible by a pair of grants totaling more than $40,000.

“These newspapers contain cultural and historical information about all three communities that is available nowhere else, and they should be available online within the coming year,” she said. “Anyone, including historical researchers, genealogists and students doing primary source research projects who wants to find out about someone or something in the community’s past will be able to search the newspapers’ complete contents, including ads, from their home computer.”

Other final gifts provided by the 350th Anniversary Steering Committee include the donation of an extensive collection of captured photographs featured the marble industry that is now on permanent display in Tuckahoe Village Hall and several thousand dollars in grants to the Eastchester Historical Society and the Bronxville Local History Room.

The anniversary’s final gifts are wonderful frosting on the cake. The town can look back to the entire celebration of this incredible milestone in our history with enormous pride,” co-chair Bob Riggs said. “Everything engendered a sense of community among Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville that we hope will continue as another celebration legacy.”

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