Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Archives is an important collection of the Vernon Parish Library. The Archives Collection contain many interesting and important documents regarding Vernon Parish and other items. Items in the Archives are cataloged, and processed using approved archival methods, and stored in archival boxes housed in a climate controlled room.
Two items of particular interest are two tables from the Franklin estate. Mrs. Franklin’s son, Ben, donated two tables in memory of his mother. The Franklins lived just outside of Leesville on Hwy. 117. She drove a black pickup truck and attended First Baptist Church. One of the tables is a round dining room table, and the other is a side table. The side table is made from Vernon Parish timber, hand milled, and crafted by Master Craftsman M. G. Foster for Mr. D. D. Franklin in 1928.
Other items in the Archives include a large collection of school yearbooks from Vernon Parish Schools and Northwestern University in Natchitoches. There are gaps, and the Library is always seeking additions to this important collection.
Other collections include the Alyce M. Haight Collection. Miss Haight taught school in Vernon Parish for many years, and kept a photograph of every child she taught. The Curtis Bradshaw Collection contains newspaper clippings and some photographs during his years as Superintendent of Vernon Parish Schools. Dolores B. Owen grew up in Leesville. The Dolores B. Owen Collection contains many items from her years in Leesville, including prom programs, old tax records, etc. The Archives also contains original governmental documents, including Leesville City Ordinances, beginning with number 1, Minutes from the City of Leesville and the Vernon Parish Police Jury. Old telephone books, autographed children’s books are other collections.
Recently, the Library has been reproducing some of these important documents and making them available to the public. The photos from the Alyce M. Haight Collection have been published, and perhaps the most popular is the Leghorn Times Herald Newspaper, originally published in Simpson, Louisiana in the 1940's. Originally published for soldiers, it became so popular that local subscriptions were very popular. Mrs. Emma Ruth Parker donated this collection to the Library in memory of her husband, Mr. Robert L. "Bob" Parker. The library has issues from March 1944 thru Sept. 1, 1947. The Archives also contains records from the Enon Primitive Baptist Church.
Four newsletters "From the Archives..." have been published, and are available for sale for $2.00 each. Other publications, Historic buildings on the National Register; Students of Miss Alyce M. Haight; and Dawn of a New Day (the original was published ca. 1944 by the Vernon Chamber of Commerce). Each of these is available for $10 ea. The last is a 250 page collection of the Leghorn Times Herald. This publication is available for $40.
The Library is looking for additional items to add to the Archives, such as old documents related to businesses, schools, churches, family histories or photographs. The Library would like to copy documents and photographs when it is not possible to add them to the collection. This is a wonderful way to preserve valuable Vernon Parish history for future generations.