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About the
Valley of the Shadow

Civil War-Era Newspapers

About the Valley Newspapers

Augusta County
Staunton Vindicator
| Staunton Spectator
Franklin County
Franklin Repository
| Valley Spirit

Newspapers offer us a window onto the world of local events—deaths, marriages, fires, elections, school recitals and town meetings—as well as providing us with state, national and international contexts. Both Staunton and Chambersburg had several papers publishing during the 1850s and 1860s: some for only a few months, and some for decades.
We have concentrated our indexing efforts on four newspapers: the Republican Vindicator (Virginia, Democratic), the Staunton Spectator (Virginia, Whig), and the Franklin Repository and Transcript (Pennsylvania, Republican), and the Valley Spirit (Pennsylvania, Democratic). We have indexed the papers so that you may search for any local person, organization, or event; we have indexed only those national events that touched directly on Augusta or Franklin County and have not indexed international events at all.
The papers of the 1850s were quite different from those of today, with no photographs and minimal headlines. Newspapers also had clear political affiliations: either Democratic or Whig (later Republican). They are full of fascinating history, but it will take some patience and close attention (and perhaps a little eyestrain) to uncover their riches.
Please note that the language in these newspapers is often highly offensive, especially when the subjects are African-Americans, Irish immigrants, or women. It is important to note that this highly offensive language does not represent the views of the Valley project. We have decided to present the newspapers in their original form and content, not edit out language or views we don't agree with. This language represents the widely held opinions of many mid-nineteenth-century Americans. Please read this language not as statements of fact but in the context of mid-nineteenth-century politics and society.