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Pages from the Past: Index to Morganton Area Newspapers

Newspapers are history, showing what life was like at a specific time.

This newspaper index is a compilation of several previous efforts to make information in area newspapers available to the public. Only the index is online. It is searchable by keyword or subject. The index covers the following area newspapers: The Blue Ridge Blade (1876 – 1880), The Farmer’s Friend (1898), The Carolina Mountaineer (1883 – 1884), The Morganton Star (1885 – 1889), The Burke County News (1899 – 1900), The Morganton Herald (1890 – 1901), and The News Herald 1902 – to current. A few articles from The Valdese News, The Charlotte Observer, The Hickory Daily Record, and Asheville Citizen-Times are included.

This index is a good resource for locating information about Burke County schools, churches, civic organizations, events, persons, businesses, industries, places and institutions. It is also searchable by a time frame e.g., January, 1912. Although personal names may be searched, the index is not a good source for obituaries. Obituaries for the years 2000 – mid 2011 are listed. However, only the name and date of the obituary is given without details.

Indexing for the newspapers began with a Title III Program to improve academic programs based on the Higher Education Act of 1965. As part of this program the late Fred Cranford, a local educator, helped initiate a Cultural Heritage Program in Burke County. Under Cranford’s leadership students indexed newspaper articles from early area newspapers. This project was completed in 1969. Since that time, curators of the North Carolina Room in the Morganton Public Library have continued to add to this index. Some years are more thoroughly indexed than other years. This indexing represents keywords and abstracts only. Complete articles are not available online but are available for view on microfilm or in the vertical files in the North Carolina Room at the library. Also available for research in the North Carolina Room are biographies (obituaries) and family files.

For those outside the area, NewsBank, Inc. has digitized newspapers that are word searchable. Since about 2009 The News Herald has been made available at libraries that subscribe to the NewsBank database. Pre-1923 area newspapers are being made available on various sites that are digitizing older newspaper that are no longer covered by copyright. These sites are continually changing. Therefore, using an online search engine may lead you to some useful sites.

North Carolina Room

The staff of the North Carolina Room of the Morganton Public Library provides professional research help in response to written and telephone requests for genealogical research for Burke County and western North Carolina.

The rates for research are as follows:

Written and telephone requests will be answered in the order that they are received.
The turnaround time for all requests is approximately 2-3 weeks.

Please send written requests to:

Morganton Public Library
Attn: North Carolina Room
204 S. King Street
Morganton, NC 28655
Telephone: (828) 437-5638

Please make checks payable to: Burke County Public Library, Inc.