Monday, June 18, 2012

Celebrating 75 years of Old Fort News

The Old Fort News celebrates 75 years of publication in 2012 and so over the course of the next several months some of us on the staff will be perusing past articles from the magazine’s early years and publishing quotes from articles that we find most interesting.

In case you don’t know, the Old Fort News is a magazine published by The History Center. If you are a member, you are automatically subscribed. Not a member? You can pick up copies in our gift shop. We have a number of back issues available and if there is a particular topic in which you are interested, you can have the front desk staff check the article title list for you. This list is printed in the back of the current issue.

This current issue also contains an overview of the publication’s history as well as selected articles from past issues. We strive to use as many photographs as we can because, as they say, “pictures tell a story” and no more so than in the historical arena. This also allows us, with our limited space for displays and exhibits—the downside to a building built in 1893--to publish photos many of us have probably never seen.

The first issue of the Old Fort News was published in 1936 with this opening paragraph on page one:

“This bulletin is a new venture for the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. The ambition of the Society is that this little publication will prove beneficial to members, schools, study clubs, and the general public. The aim is to serve as a source of information concerning the activities of the Society and matters of general historical interest. From time to time short bits of information such as the findings of research work or source material pertaining to matters of local interest will be printed.”

The publication has changed a great deal since the original work, thanks in large part to our curator Walter Font, who now serves as editor. In his piece on the history of the Old Fort News, written for the current edition, he says:

“…The character of the Old Fort News has gradually been reshaped with almost exclusive emphasis on providing new local histories that are well documented, having lasting value, and presented effectively with good illustrations and page layout.  There is still a place for ‘News from the Past’ pieces, reminiscences and other such tales, but the core value lies in good insightful history that adds to the fabric of our local culture.  The overall presentation was enhanced in 2006 when color was added, the same year we took full advantage of in-house desktop publishing tools.  In some ways the production process has been become more complicated and time-consuming because as one strives to improve quality there is a requirement to pay more attention to detail—the maddening minutia of commas and colons, proper endnote structure and color-enhanced page design.  The use of computer technology has made this almost manageable: text layout, image reproduction and page design are more efficient than the old ‘pasteup’ days.  Tuning the communication instrument will continue as we progress toward Willis Richardson’s 1939 vision of producing a ‘real magazine of history.’”

We encourage you to stop by the History Center’s gift shop to take a look at back issues in which you may have an interest….as well as the other books we have available for sale. The Barr Street Market opens July 7 and until its final day on September 15, admission on Saturday mornings will be free—our gift to Fort Wayne for your support! While you’re shopping to feed the body, shop to feed the mind and learn more about your city’s history. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn!

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