Aurora Public Library Genealogy Information
If anyone wishes to learn about the early history of Aurora, the "Now and Then" collection is a prime source. It is a compendium of personal reminiscences by the editors of the Aurora Beacon-News and their readership; over the years, readers wrote letters-to-the-editor along the lines of "do you remember...?" and the editors created a weekly column from these remembrances. The "Now and Then" column also contained other features, but still of an historic nature.
The brainchild of "Lutz" White, editor of the newspaper during the 1920's and 1930's, the "Now and Then" feature began life as an occasional walk down memory lane. Because of enthusiastic reader response, Mr. White decided to turn it into a weekly column on the editorial page of the Sunday edition; the first one appeared in the issue of 01 January 1925. "Lutz" spearheaded the feature through 1936, his last contribution coming on 27 December. The column was then taken over by Charles Pierce Burton (author of the "Bob's Hill" stories for young boys), running from 03 January 1937 to 23 March 1947. Mr. Burton was succeeded by Stanley Faye (13 April 1947 to 16 May 1948) who, in turn, was followed by Justus Johnson (23 May 1948 to 01 April 1956). Mr. Johnson's death brought the column to a temporary halt. It was later revived by Robert Barclay, who managed it from 26 June 1963 to 27 April 1978 when he retired.
The "Now and Then" collection now exists in the format of a series of "scrapbooks" in the Closed Area on the 2nd floor of the Aurora Public Library. These scrapbooks contain the actual newspaper clippings from the Beacon-News. In the late 2000's, long-time librarian Mary Ann Pirone decided to index all of the names and all of the subjects to be found in these clippings. It was an enormous effort, but she succeeded admirably. This index forms the basis of the database which follows.