• Historical Document Preservation Project

    The Board of Directors of the Hastings High School Alumni Association has been approved for a matching grant of $1800 from the Barry Community Foundation to preserve its historical documents through an electronic digitized process and the use of the latest archival materials under the auspices of the Hastings Public Library.

    "We came by these historical documents," says Sharri Wolfe Phillips, chair of the historical document committee, " in 2007, during the Hastings Public Library's move to their new location, when two boxes of materials were discovered marked Hastings High School Alumni Association. The Alumni Board was notified by library personnel, a committee was organized by the Board to inventory the history box materials and determine what to do with them."

    Among the treasures found were three hard cover ledger books, two containing minutes of meetings, banquet menus, programs, etc; of the alumni association, starting with the first known documented meeting dated 1884. The third hard cover book is a treasurer's account book.

    These books being the oldest are also the most fragile. The three books were reviewed by the alumni history committee and Diane Hawkins, of the library, and it was determined that the books need to be scanned into the library data base which would make the information available to everyone via the library's computers and preserve the books. This process would prevent the books from being handled any further. It was also decided that all minutes and banquet programs up to present day should be scanned to give continuity to the entire project.

    The procedure is to scan the Hastings High School Alumni Association historical documents by year into the Hastings Public Library Data Base. An expert in the field of scanning historical documents will be hired through the library to scan the documents into the system. This information would then be available to the public on the internet by accessing the library website.

    The archival materials that will be purchased with the grant money consists of acid free sleeves and record storage and document boxes. They will be used for the loose historical items such as newspaper articles, photographs, Fornights, class yearbooks including the 1906 first yearbook the DRUID. These items will be cataloged by year and placed on the shelves in the Michigan Room for public reference.

    "The Board members of the Alumni Association, believe that the lives and events of this organization in the past, as well as present day, has an impact on this community and that our history will mean something to future generations. How much of our history already is discarded in the trash? What kind of stories and perspectives have already been lost? When we lose our history, we lose our cultural memory." This Board of Directors has chosen not to let this happen, says past Board president, Donna Brown. We hope that alumni of Hastings High School and others in the community will agree with us and help us with this project. Anyone with questions regarding this project can contact Alumni Board president, Lois Bowers, Alumni Association President, 269-945-9657,  or Sharri Wolfe Phillips, Alumni Historical Documents chair, 269-945-5515.

    We reached our goal of $1800 through fund raising and donations and the Barry Community Foundation matched this with a grant.

    The project is now underway at the Hastings Public Library where Becky McCoomb is scanning all materials into the library computer. Becky reports she is up to the year 1970. Materials start around 1877. Diane Hawkins is indexing and putting the materials into acid free sleeves and boxes to preserve them.

    This project is a fluid endeavor as we are finding things along the way that are being archived as we go. To view what has been scanned so far go to the Hastings Public Library Web site at the link below. When you use the link you will find a table with year numbers. Each number represents a year that material has been scanned into the computer. By clicking on a year you will be able to see the documents from that year.

    There is still a lot to be done. Some of the older items were not able to be scanned because of their age and overall condition but may be able to be viewed at the library. Check with the librarian for availability.

    We are currently trying to complete the collection of Hastings High School Year Books. The years that we are missing are 1907 through 1910, 1912 through 1915, 1917 through 1920 and 1922. If you have any of these contact Shari Wolfe Phillips or Lois Bowers at the numbers above or Diane Hawkins at the Hastings Public Library. Anyone wishing to donate class memorbilia can contact those listed above. Thank you for your assistance.

    To see the information on line at the Hastings Public Library use this link.