A project is underway to preserve a collection of local newspapers held by the Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley. The newspaper, called the “Providence Independent” when it debuted on June 3, 1875, was first published in Trappe (just a few doors east of the current Trappe Tavern) but the printing office was soon moved to Collegeville (literally, by a team of six horses) at 307 East Main Street. Elwood S. Moser, the founder of the newspaper, was known as an independent thinker in a heavily Republican county. In 1893, the newspaper changed its name to The Independent. In 1952, it merged with the Montgomery Transcript to become The Independent and Montgomery Transcript.
Over the next few years, the newspaper issues will be digitized for preservation at Backstage Library Works in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Digital issues will be hosted and made available to the public via Ursinus College’s institutional repository, Digital Commons @ Ursinus. Ursinus College students and faculty, as well as the local community, will benefit from the historic information contained in these volumes. Readers will find not only fascinating glimpses of the early days of Ursinus College and its surrounding neighborhoods, but also coverage that extends to Norristown, Philadelphia and beyond. This project is just the first step in what we hope will be a number of efforts to broadly share and preserve our local history.