The White River Valley Historical Society’s research library received donations in 2012 which will continue to benefit researchers who visit the 51-year old organization in Forsyth for years to come.

Early in the spring, the Jerry and Opal Gideon Family collection began arriving, after Joe Gideon and Rebecca Gideon Roberts announced their intention to house the historically-significant collection with the Society. The first batch of items, which are currently in process of being catalogued, includes original publications, artifacts, ledgers, and photographs, as well as notebooks of information compiled by the late Jerry Gideon, past president of the Society and noted Taney County historian. The process of moving the rest of the collection to the WRVHS, and then making it available to the public in the research library, will take several years.

Several months ago, the WRVHS, in conjunction with recorder Robert Dixon, requested donations of title abstracts. These items are particularly important for historical research as many times they provide information prior to the burning of the Taney County courthouse in the mid-1880s. Since that request, nearly 50 of these pertinent archives have been added to the Society’s holdings, including a large collection from the Bradleyville area by descendents of the Herbert and Martha Webster family.

Also donated by the Webster’s was a copy of a journal written by Charles Boulson, which details life in Taney County during the early 1930s. Other journal copies received in 2012 include diaries from the Volney Poulson “N-Bar-K Ranch” near Rueter and the Crosby Family 1890’s farm journal.

School yearbooks are always sought after by researchers, as they provide not only a photograph of family members, but also a look at the trends of the past. Donations were received during the year of books from Bradleyville, Mark Twain, Branson, and Forsyth Schools, including some from the 1920s and 1930s.

Nearly 1400 pictures are now available to the public, including from the Mahnkey, Coulter, Keefover, Parrish, Davis, Holman, Holliday, and Kissee family collections, with several thousand more waiting in the wings for volunteers to upload into the Society’s catalog.

Images of Taney County archival documents, including court cases from the 1800s, marriage and land records, naturalization papers, and one-room school record books, are available at the WRVHS on the county’s Docuware system. In early May, the Society was designated as the entity to process historic research requests for county offices, as well as scan and index the archives, with the initial project to include all court files and school record books.