THE Nederland Digital Archives
Every community should appreciate its heritage and Nederland is no exception. Beginning as a small community of Dutch immigrants in 1897, Nederland is still motivated by the same ideals, dreams, enthusiasm, and desire to achieve that existed in those early adventurous days.
The Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library has long championed the right of the public to access educational resources. By sharing the history of Nederland, Texas through photographs and other documents, the online repository of the Nederland Digital Archives acts as a natural extension to that goal. The images, documents, and histories recorded on this site are not only open to the patrons of the Library, but all past, present, and future residents of the city of Nederland, students, researchers, historians, and the rest of the public.
Beyond recording the history of decades past, the Library recognizes that history is constantly in the making. The Library is therefore hoping to eventually create local community projects and partnerships in an effort to preserve the stories of current residents, buildings, events, and city initiatives, so that future generations may learn from and better understand the Nederland of today.
The Library's digitization project began as a method to preserve photographs and other materials owned by the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library that might be lost in the event of a hurricane or damage to the facility.
When the decision was made to begin this project, Library Director Victoria Klehn was mainly focused on the holdings of the Library. We started with photographs documenting the early history of the library, the library's collection of the Nederland High School Annuals, and a few photographs that had been published in the MidCounty Chronicle newspapers.
We then contacted the Nederland Independent School District to obtain permission to digitize the High School annuals and to borrow copies of those missing from the Library's collection. They were digitize through a special service available from OCI (Oklahoma Correctional Industries) called the Yearbook Project.
Ms. Klehn was also concerned about the collection of photographs owned by the Nederland Historical Society. The Library has hosted the Historical Society's backup photographs since 1998. She expressed her concern to Bobby Greene, the President of the Society at the time the digitization project began. Ms. Greene agreed to partner with the library to preserve the collection. Library staff and volunteers would digitize the photographs and add the images to the Nederland Digital Archives. With the permission of the Society's current President, Carol Culp, the digitization of their materials is ongoing.
After the initial digitization the issue became, what do we do with these images? Was having a back-up copy enough? Our answer was no. They needed to be available for use by the public. After careful consideration, it was decided to found a Digital Archives to host the materials.
Digital Archives of the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library went live at the end of June 2020. Thanks to the generosity of local donors and partnerships with the Nederland Historical Society and the Nederland Independent School District over 700 item have been added to the Archives.
While the projects were a success, there were other concerns. What about the photographs and materials of other organizations? And what of the possible additional photographs and documents currently tucked away in attics and family memory chests? These concerns are leading to additional partnerships and we hope to expand the archives to add photographs and documents representing other organizations in future years.
The Nederland Digital Archives is an initiative of the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library
The Library thanks and acknowledges the early supporters of this project, including Bobby Greene and Carol Culp of the Nederland Historical Society, the Nederland Independent School District and Vivian Emmert for her digitization efforts. This project would not have been possible without you.