From 1948 to 2007, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) published a campus newspaper entitled The Norse Wind, which was written, edited, and circulated by students. Recently, the NEO Archive digitized all issues currently held in the campus collection so that students and alumni can access them online. More than one thousand issues of the newspaper are now available thanks to a partnership between the college library and the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society (OHEHS). The first issue was published on February 12, 1948 and includes reports on student council elections, an upcoming speech tournament, plans for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, a profile of the new Viking Queen, and the opening of a campus infirmary. Since the student newspaper was funded partially through the sale of advertisements, the newspaper also contains historically interesting ads, including Wiley’s Rexall Drugstore and the Coleman Theatre Beautiful, plus a Chesterfield’s Cigarette ad featuring Ronald Reagan from his time with Warner Bros. Studios.
“Student newspapers are a great way of getting insight into what college is really like at a specific point in history,” said the Director of the NEO Library and Archive and project supervisor Sloane Arana. “The NEO Archive houses the official historical records for the college, including print and digital copies of student publications, which we’re now making available online as part of our digital collection. As the college prepares to celebrate our centennial, we want everyone to be able to access as much of NEO’s legacy and Golden Norse tradition as possible.”
In order to provide online access to the newspapers, OHEHS took print editions from the NEO collection and created microfilm and digital reproductions for preservation. The college archive staff worked for three years to turn thousands of image files into an organized and easily accessible collection, a process requiring diligence, organization, and patience. “What people will see online is an exact scan of what we have in the collection” added Arana. “Where images are incomplete or marred, the digital copy is imperfect as well. However, there’s always the hope that an alum or community member will donate issues that are missing or damaged so we can eventually make a complete collection available to our patrons.”
Last year the NEO Archive made all the college yearbooks available online after a four-year scanning and digitization project. The purpose of the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Archive is to collect documents, photographs, artwork, videos, and other materials that tell the unique story of NEO, and to preserve those materials as part of the living history of the college. Digital copies of NEO’s The Norse Wind newspaper or copies of The Viking yearbook may be accessed online through the campus website HERE.