Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips' love of history is benefiting the Smith County Historical Society.

Mrs. Phillips donated equipment no longer used by her office to the Historical Society on Wednesday.

"I don't like throwing anything away," Mrs. Phillips said. "I love preserving history."

Two Canon Microfilm Scanner machines, once used daily by clerks and customers to look up county records from 1910 to 1975, haven't been used in about eight years by her office, Mrs. Phillips said. A drawer full of unused microfilm, ordered in 2008 but never opened, will be donated with the machines.

A Bell and Howell File Master, used to transfer books and other records onto microfilm, will also be donated.

"We're just thrilled," Tiffany Wright, interim archives manager for the Historical Society, said of the gift that will help customers look up old documents.

The machines were taking up much needed space, and Mrs. Phillips said. They wouldn't bring much at auction, so she checked if the Historical Society would have a need for them. The donation was approved by the Smith County Commissioners Court.

The Historical Society had a microfilm machine, but it broke years ago and couldn't be fixed. Ms. Wright said when customers come in to look at some of their historical records on microfilm, they have to escort them to the library to view it. Often, documents can be viewed online but if the Internet goes down, as it did earlier this week, they can have the microfilm as a backup, she said.

"It helps to bridge those gaps, …" Ms. Wright said. "Old Census records are kept on microfilm and are invaluable to genealogy and property research," she said.

- Casey Murphy is the public relations officer for the Smith County Commissioners Court.


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