Minutes from Oklahoma, in the corner of the Texas Panhandle, lies the unassuming Lipscomb County, Texas, housing around 3300 people spread across 932 square miles. The Higgins Public Library in Lipscomb County collaborated with the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum in Lipscomb and UNT Libraries in Denton to apply for a Tocker grant in January of 2013. They were awarded the Tocker Foundation grant in March 2013 to digitize and preserve over 21,000 pages of their county newspapers, including The Kiowa Valley Independent, The Circle Register, The Follet Times, and The Lipscomb Times, all of which are also represented in the museum’s physical collections.
The town of Lipscomb, unincorporated and with a population of 42 people, hosts the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum, whose mission it is to preserve the heritage of Lipscomb County. This museum contains extensive exhibits about cattle ranching, fallen Lipscomb County soldiers lost in battle, as well as histories of the individual communities that make up Lipscomb County. Although Lipscomb County is not largely populated, its history spans almost 140 years, much of which has been documented in the various newspaper titles that will be digitized through the Tocker Foundation grant. The Wolf Creek Heritage Museum is run entirely by volunteers, but the number of exhibits and the amount of history that it documents clearly represent how much passion these volunteers have for their county. Dorothy Schoenhals, the museum’s director, said that their goal is to only house historical artifacts that originated in, or tell the story of, Lipscomb County because this county has such a rich history of which to be proud.
By March 2014, the Lipscomb County Newspaper Collection will be accessible and fully text-searchable via The Portal to Texas History. Congratulations to both the Higgins Public Library and to the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum on their Tocker grant award!