Parchment Newspapers

Click the button above to view digital images of the Parchment News (1924-1952) and the Parchment Journal (1954-1955) newspapers, or go to http://www.archiveol.com/kzoo/search.

We are grateful to the Kalamazoo Public Library, which has generously agreed to host our newspaper archives on their server, free of charge!

To search the newspaper archives:

  1. Scroll down the menu on the left-hand side of the screen and check the box next to Parchment News and/or Parchment Journal.
     

  2. Select all dates or a range of dates to search.
     

  3. In the search box, type in something to search for and click the "Search Collections" button.
     

  4. A results window will open with an image (or more than one) of a newspaper - click on the image to open it full-screen. 

A brief history of newspapers in Parchment:

For over thirty years, Parchment residents enjoyed their own hometown newspaper.  The pages were filled with Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company news, descriptions of community events and improvements, accounts of baseball games in Kindleberger Park, and sometimes very personal details about who was ill, who was visiting relatives, or who was getting married.  Regular columns appeared offering advice for homemakers, gardening tips, or local humor.  “Uncle Jake” Kindleberger often weighed in with suggestions on how to prosper as a company and a community.

 

Parchment’s newspaper story began in November 1919 with the publication of a small (8½ by 11) eight-page paper dubbed the The Broke Box, a reference to paper damaged due to breakage on the paper machines.  The Broke Box had modest aspirations claiming it was “Published at Parchment town for distribution ‘just among our own folks.”  When The Parchment News replaced The Broke Box in October, 1923, the focus on the mill, the Parchment community, and “our folks” continued.  The first edition of the News was a single sheet printed on one side, but by 1924, the paper had grown to four small pages.  By the early1930s, the News, often printed on KVP bond, was standard newspaper size.  For many years, it was issued every Friday under the guidance of the Men’s Club of the Union Methodist Church, then housed in the Community House on Riverview Drive.  Eventually, the publication day moved to Thursday, and by the early 1940s, the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company had taken over newspaper management.  The paper continued to have a large, mostly volunteer staff with individuals reporting from mill departments and from town institutions like the Community House.  The News also encouraged regular citizens to keep their eye on community doings and submit an article if they had news to report.  In order to meet demand for paper during World War II, The Parchment News ceased publication in October, 1942, and did not resume until June 6, 1946.  Even during the war years, Parchment citizens could read local news in a small publication called the Newsgram written by KVP advertising manager, Glen Stewart.

 

For much of its history, The Parchment News was a weekly newspaper, but in August, 1949, News editors announced an important change.  Citing rising production costs and lower prices for KVP paper, Company officials sought to “reduce costs proportionately,” and reasoned that publication of the News on a bi-weekly rather than weekly basis would result in substantial savings.  Editors assured their readers that the community would not lose out on local information, because now staff would have more time to gather news and could “offer more interesting reading than ever.”

 

For much of history, residents could purchase the paper for 5¢ a copy or $1.25 for a yearly subscription.  In 1947, KVP announced the paper would be free to mill workers and available to everyone else for $1 yearly.  By the time The Parchment News ceased publication in May, 1952 the yearly subscription rate had risen to $1.50.  For their small investment, Parchment residents received richly detailed, often humorous, updates on life in their “model” community.

Written by Cheryl Lyon-Jenness.  First published in the March 2018 edition of The Paper City Newsletter.

 401 S Riverview Dr.  Parchment, MI 49004 

© 2017 by the Parchment Community Library.