Published in Archival Issues, Vol. 34, No. 2 (2012).


This article examines the efforts of Hal W. Trovillion, newspaper editor and private printer, to document the controversial history of his southern Illinois coal mining town in the early twentieth century. As a historical case study, it explores some of the challenges inherent in preserving original documents and cultural knowledge without institutional support, and with active interference from community members who worked to suppress information. Trovillion used his printing presses and contacts in the historical community to ensure that the turbulent events occurring in his town in the 1920s would be preserved in the archival record.