Sidney 2019

MonDak Heritage Center – Yellowstone Valley Star Newspaper Digitization and Access

Newspapers capture a place’s pulse in time: its culture, its characters, its defining moments and every-day occurrences. During the summer of 2019, our grants helped to preserve more than 36,000 pages of five Montana newspapers published between 1897 and 1960. All of those digitized pages are now freely available to the public on

Newspapers contain diverse information designed to be read by the general public. They are incredibly accessible. For instance, take the wealth of information that can be gleaned from a single page of the Yellowstone Valley Star from Thursday, June 17, 1915. Headlines proclaim:

  • The “Star” The Official Paper of Richland Co.
  • The Death of Olaf Jensen
  • Dry Creek School Note

Plus, several advertisements market local goods.

From this one page, we learn that in 1915, the newspaper on record for Richland county became the Yellowstone Valley Star, which indicates the newspaper’s reliability, the size of its readership, and its authority. We also learn of a local farmer’s death, and the notice expresses that Mr. Jensen was one of the oldest settlers in the area (he moved to Savage, MT in 1906). Birth, death, and marriage notices are frequent snippets in newspapers and provide indispensable biographical data to genealogists, family members, and historians. From the school note, we learn the date school let out for the summer (June 4th), the names of two pupils who were neither absent or tardy the whole term (Leo and Rosa Weyer), and the end of year picnic program, which was held in rainy weather and included a bucking contest. We also learn, from the advertisements, that coffee costs $0.35 per pound!

Just imagine the fascinating tidbits the other 35,999 pages hold! Interested in the newly-digitized newspapers we helped to fund? Looks up these newspapers on

  • Melstone Graphic (1911-12)
  • Melstone Messenger (1914-16; 1918 and 1922-39)
  • Yellowstone Valley Star (1912-1914; 1915-1916; and, 1920
  • Townsend Star (1897-1929)
  • The Madisonian (1921-1960)