101 Years of Rolfe, Iowa, Newspapers are Available Online


UPDATE June 4, 2012: The URL for the newspaper site has been updated. The current (as of today) URL is http://rolfe.advantage-preservation.com. The URL will be updated a final time (to something easier to memorize) during summer of 2012. At that time, I’ll post the final updated URL here.

The main gist of this post is that the Rolfe, Iowa, newspapers are online and that over the next approximately two months, modifications will be made to the web site. There may be periods of inaccessibility. If/when there are, feel free to email me* to let me know, or you may contact the company directly. It will not be until a few weeks after the host company has its new servers in place that everything runs smoothly all the time. So…patience is in order. In the meantime please read the information below and…enjoy! P.S.: Thank you to those of you who contributed financially to this project. If you did not contribute (or even if you did!), but like the access to these papers and want to contribute to help meet other library financial obligations, you may do so through the Rolfe [Iowa] Public Library Trust. The phone number for the library is 712-848-3413. The email address is rplib@ncn.net. Or, you may simply write out a check to “Rolfe Public Library Trust” and mail it to Rolfe Public Library, 319 Garfield St., Rolfe, Iowa, 50581.

Remember…if there are technical difficulties searching the site, either wait a day to see if it works, or contact me or the company. In a couple of months everything should be smooth sailing.

101 Years of Rolfe, Iowa, Newspapers are Available Online

: http://rolfe.advantage-preservation.com

Time Span of Newspapers:
1888-1989 (In 1989, The Rolfe Arrow, Rolfe’s local newspaper, was absorbed by the Pocahontas Record-Democrat newspaper.)

Additional Publication:
The online collection also includes Rolfe’s 90-page centennial book titled Centennial History, Rolfe, Iowa, 1863-1963.

Web Site Tweaking: In March or April, the web site will undergo minor modifications. This will include the provision of additional search features and a change in the URL to one that is more easily memorized.

Periods of Inaccessibility:
If the web site is inaccessible for short periods of time, it may be due to site maintenance.

Until further notice, questions regarding the newspaper site may be directed to Louise Gunderson Shimon at mariongundersonart@gmail.com.

Funding: The Rolfe Public Library Trust is funding this project through private donations and the sales of donated prints of Marion Gunderson’s watercolors. “Marion the Librarian” worked at the Rolfe Public Library for thirty-five years, from 1963 to 1998.

Search Tip from Kim Webb Toth-Tevel (a great-granddaughter of C.M. Webb): I have been having a ball with this [the archives] and my family has learned many things about our ancestors we never knew. Very cool. A tip for using them is to 1) go to “Advanced Search.” 2) Type in your family name and 3) limit the time period to one year. Then you can have fun reading what comes up. You can save the newspaper page to your computer or copy and paste the part about your family inot another document to collect them. The newspaper was like the Facebook of it’s day–social networking.

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As of January 2012, the contents of 101 years of Rolfe, Iowa, newspapers are available online. For another month or two, the site will undergo tweaking by the web hosting company.

It is important to note that optical character recognition (OCR) software used to scan and convert hard-copy text to a searchable electronic format cannot accurately recognize every text character. For example, if a font utilized in a newspaper is not standard but instead is rather stylized (e.g., a non-standard swirly font), it likely will not be recognized by the software. Likewise, if an area of a page is smudged or otherwise damaged, the character recognition software will not recognize words in that poor quality area of a page. In such cases, a search will not return a result for a term in which such a character was not correctly recognized.

To explain this further, take, for example, a patron searching the site using the search term “Webb.” If the word “Webb” was included on a particular newspaper page, but the type of text (font) was not standard (e.g., the non-standard swirly font), it may not be recognized by the character recognition software. Therefore, it will not show up in the list of hits resulting from the search term “Webb.”

Similarly,” if “Webb” appears in a smudged area of a newspaper page, the OCR software will not recognize it, and the page will not show up in the list of hits resulting from the search term “Webb.”

As of February 26, 2012, the capability to limit a search to a particular time frame is not an option. However, the plan is that, before the end of April, it will become an option.

The Rolfe Public Library is sponsoring this archive project.

Help*: As yet, there is no “help” available at the URL cited above. Over time, that “help” link will become active.


I found this January 19, 1928, Rolfe Arrow article by searching the terms “Rolfe library” and the timeframe of 1927 through 1929. I chose this timeframe because I knew that in 1928 the Rolfe Public Library began its service to Rolfe-area patrons. (Click once or twice on image to enlarge it. Twice to magnify even further.)


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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


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6 Responses to “101 Years of Rolfe, Iowa, Newspapers are Available Online”

  1. Clara Hoover Says:

    I’ve enjoyed searching in the newspapers and am glad they’re finally available via the Internet. Even though searching isn’t as smooth as Googling and is a little slow, I’ve enjoyed finding information I’ve looked for as well as stumbling across surprises.

    In the library article highlighted in yellow, I had to chuckle at the statement that the library would be housed in the Rest Room until other arrangements could be made. And I tried to imagine Great Grandma (Dena) at the 1928 program.

  2. Peg Says:

    Profound! ❤

  3. Chris Simonson Says:

    I’ve spent my share of late nights so far on this site. Nice to have access!

    I did notice finding an article found by keywords with a reference to “Continued on Page four”. I will endeavor to find out how to use the website to go to a specific issue and page. I’ve been using the date range to narrow the pages and that works.

    I do like the local social commentary, it brings the ancestors back to life.

  4. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Chris: I do know that when the new servers are in place and more programming is done, you’ll be able to search by issue. AND…the little arrows for paging through an issue should work. (I think it is kind of annoying that those little arrows are there right now, but not working. However, they will in a month or two. So I am told.

    Clara: I hadn’t even noticed about the Rest Room reference. You are on the ball to notice and report these things! Very humorous.

  5. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    What a tremendous service! Thanks for all you have done to make it available.

  6. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Thank you for the “thanks” Marti. As far as the “thanks” for the project, so many people donated financially to it, either by direct cash donations, by purchasing prints, or by funding the making of prints of additional watercolors Daddy. And, Mona’s (at Wild Faces Gallery) help in marketing them has made a world of difference in increasing the number sold. I’m so thankful that all the contributions pooled together make these online newspapers possible.

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