STEUBENVILLE - The Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County holds a little piece of Wintersville history.
In nine, hard-bound volumes located in the Local History and Genealogy room, the library has preserved hundreds of pages of one of Wintersville's first weekly newspapers, the Wintersville Citizen.
"A lot of people don't realize that we have this here," said Sandy Day, local historian and genealogist. "It's important that we show the people that we do have them."
PIECES OF HISTORY — Local genealogist and historian Sandy Day displays two copies of one of Wintersville’s earliest weekly newspapers, the Wintersville Citizen. On the left, Day holds up an early 1963 edition to show how it contrasts with a 1968 edition contained within the Schiappa branch of the Public Library in Steubenville and Jefferson County.
Day has been organizing the pages of the Wintersville Citizen since 2005, when a local patron donated the original copies to the library.
Since that time, Day said the library has digitized the copies and bound them in nine volumes in order to preserve them in print form.
"If the digitized copies get damaged, we have a couple of ways to restore them," Day said, explaining the copies also have been scanned and saved on computer software as a backup.
Day noted the Wintersville Citizen was founded and published by Wintersville resident Rudolph Taliani beginning in 1962 and into the 1970s.
The Wintersville Citizen contained local news, information about organizations and church groups, business advertisements and feature stories often relating to historical events that were placed on the front page of the weekly paper.
It also contained segments titled "This Strange, Little World," as well as weekly sermons, the Poet's Corner and positive daily sayings.
Taliani, along with his wife Patricia, co-edited and ran a small staff to sustain the paper that began with only eight pages.
The growth of the village is depicted throughout pages of the Wintersville Citizen. As the village grew and more businesses printed advertisements, the number of pages increased throughout the years as well. Also, the appearance of the paper had changed as well with a larger, more modern masthead in its later years and more photos on the front page.
"During its time, it was known as Jefferson County's largest weekly newspaper in general circulation," Day said, indicating an advertisement for the Wintersville Citizen published in a book dedicated to Taliani after his death in 1972.
Taliani died at the age of 46 in 1972. According to his obituary, Taliani founded the weekly after having spent 15 years working for the Herald-Star, beginning as a printer apprentice.
Pat O'Hara, the sports editor for the Wintersville's Citizen, noted that Taliani's wife Patricia continued to run the Wintersville Citizen until it was sold in 1975 to a man named Jim Wade.
"The area progressed because of the Wintersville Citizen," O'Hara said. "Several businesses in that area had a lot of respect for Taliani. He never wrote anything harmful in the paper. It helped make Wintersville better."
O'Hara noted the Wintersville Citizen was the first newspaper in the Wintersville area to publish a football contest where a reader would pick the winner of a game, and the person who chose correctly would receive $50.
The Wintersville Citizen also was the first newspaper to publish a letter to Santa Claus each year containing various requests for sending good fortune to area sports teams to win, O'Hara noted.
"The letters were pretty popular," O'Hara said, adding that the Wintersville Citizen was the first in the area to cover meetings of the Wintersville Council and to publish bowling news.
Day said the pages of the Wintersville Citizen, including the first 1962 edition, are available for viewing from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
She also noted that the Wintersville Citizen is available for viewing online at www.digitalshoebox.org.
For information, call (740) 264-6166.
"Preserving these pages is a way of preserving another part of our county's history," Day said.
"It's also a way to honor Taliani's memory because he took the time and effort to publish it."
(Sadler may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)