The Salem State University Archives and Special Collections of the Berry Library has acquired The Salem News Historic Photograph Collection. The collection consists primarily of local photographs and negatives created by The Salem News and its predecessor publications. These images span over a century and exemplify the history, events, and people of Salem, Essex County, and beyond. The acquisition of this collection aligns with the Archives’ commitment to preserving and providing access to the historical records of Salem and Essex County with special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Salem Evening News was founded by Robin Damon (1862-1920) in October 1880 and by 1897, the newspaper had an estimated 90,000 daily readers. Many of the earliest photographs in The Salem News Historic Photograph Collection were taken by Damon’s friend, Salem photographer, Leland Ormond Tilford (1874-1960). His photographs document pivotal events in Salem’s history such as The Great Salem Fire of 1914, the World War II homefront, and celebrations like Salem’s 1926 Tercentenary observance.
The newspaper continued to maintain heavy circulation and introduced their well-known witch logo on April 2, 1969. After four generations in the Damon family, The Salem Evening News was sold to Ottoway Newspapers in 1994. In August 2002, the newspaper shortened its name to The Salem News.
Over the next year, Salem State University Archives and Special Collections staff will comb through the collection of more than 70 boxes containing approximately 60,000 photographs, 230,000 images on 35mm film negatives and positives, and an additional 24,000 medium format film negatives. More than 200 images from this collection have already been digitized and made available online for public viewing. Physical access to the collection is not available at this time. Portions of the collection will continue to be made available online and to researchers in-person once the items have been inventoried, cataloged, and assessed for preservation needs.
The Salem State University Archives and Special Collections holds the historical records of Salem State University from its founding in 1854 to the present. Special Collections include the Salem Savings Bank Records, Nelson Dionne Salem History collection, the Stephen J. Griffin Rare Book collection, the Woman's Friend Society Records, the papers of Congressman Michael J. Harrington, and the records of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem.
Those interested in donating to The Salem News Historic Photograph Collection fund please visit the Berry Library's giving page and choose "Library Archives." For questions and additional contact information, please visit the University Archives.