Saving Vintage Newspapers

By Barbara Dunn Storz

For those who were born in DeLand, Florida or who lived here for many years, the DeLand Sun News was a daily resource of local and worldwide news, including the social columns that were our early “Social Media”. For many years the West Volusia Historical Society (WVHS) has been storing a vast collection of approximately 1000 vintage newspapers ranging from the early 1920’s to the 1960’s. Most of the collection was found in the attic of a local historic home.

Volunteers organized the papers by date and location with the bulk of the collection being DeLand Sun News and the Daytona Beach News Journal. A few were from other state and national cities. The bad news is that the newspapers are deteriorating and before too long will not be able to be saved. The good news is that many of the vintage papers are now available through the Volusia Library Services website,, powered by Newsbank. The cost for digitizing the Sun News and other old newspapers was $210,000, according to Volusia County documents.

A special thanks to our community partners Dan Friend and Fayn LeVeille for their assistance with this special project. We are glad to assist the West Volusia Historical Society. WVHS Executive Director Sarah Thorncroft is thrilled to have to a solution to the extensive storage space required for the preservation of this local history in print.

Let us know if you have old DeLand Sun Newspapers by the date and we can let you know if they are included in the missing editions on-line.

I have a particular passion for this project because my mother, Elizabeth Larweth Dunn, DeLand High School Class of 1933, worked for the DeLand Sun News for many years right out of high school. She was the proof reader responsible for editing each edition for grammar, spelling and content before the final print. As an active lifetime member of the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum, I will search for articles about the Naval Air Station during WWII related to weddings, base activities and plane crashes that took place during flight training that could be added to the current educational displays offered to the public.

This project is the best kind of history lesson. Searching in a database on-line is one thing, but being able to handle the actual newspapers and read the articles as they were originally printed is well worth the time this project will take. And I plans to organize my discoveries by category for a future educational program as well as a great walk down memory lane.

As a WVHS Past President, Lifetime Member and DeLand Native, I offered to take the lead in coordinating a workable solution to what should happen to the deteriorating paper collection before they were lost forever. Another DeLand Native, Dan Friend, President of the DeLand Historic Trust, Inc., and Military Curator for the Veterans Museum at Bill Dreggors Park is also assisting

Over 400 Daytona Beach News Journals were pulled from the collection ranging from 1930’s-1960’s, and I contacted Fayn LeVeille, Executive Director of the Halifax Historical Society Museum. Fayn is a Daytona Beach native and she was excited to accept the vintage newspapers as part of the extensive collection of Volusia County History.

Fayn LeVeille, (left) Executive Director of the Halifax Historical Society Museum accepts 400 vintage newspapers from Barbara Storz