When public libraries offer historical documentation online in addition to card catalogue’s this is another sign that they’re starting to get the 21st century big picture aspects of which I’ve covered in my previous article’s More on the subject of CD Books and eBooks and Google launches new eBookstore.

The Sylacauga public library now has all 82 years worth of the newspaper archives and the public now has online access to The Avondale Sun, an employee newspaper produced by Avondale Mills in Alabama from 1924-2006, published community and employee news, photographs, and company information and is a great resource for genealogists and historians.

The Avondale Sun covered the factories in Birmingham, Sylacauga, Pell City and Eufaula and chronicled the mills through the Great Depression during the 1930s then expansion that employed 7000 during the 1940s and eventual closure.

The newspaper features births, marriages and deaths of workers and other great stories which include pictures of changing fashions and hairstyles through the years.

The archives were too fragile to put on display and “After writing grants and spending about $30,000 to have them photographed for digital use, the library didn’t have enough server space for the enormous database, which includes nearly 30,000 images, Sears said. So she turned to the library in Birmingham, the site of the company’s first mill.”

These historical gems provide a peek into a past that is gone forever and a couple of staff members spent three months indexing the records so that they can be searched online.

To read the complete article by Hanna Wolfson of the Birmingham News click on al.com

Here’s a link to the Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections and to the Encyclopedia of Alabama article on Avondale Mills.

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2 Comments on Alabama’s Avondale Mill archives covering 82 years available at Sylacauga’s public library

  1. Carol Butler says:

    My family worked at Avondale in Sylacauga. At least four generations. Love your article!

  2. Sandy Arnone says:

    Carol, I enjoyed learning the history of Avondale Mill.

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