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Entire Arizona Highways Magazine Archive Available In Arizona Memory Project's Digital Library

For nearly 100 years, Arizona Highways magazine has captured the history and culture of the state. Their latest achievement: They’ve now  digitized every issue of the storied magazine.

Robert Stieve is the editor of Arizona Highways magazine. 

"Its purpose, really, was to tell the Arizona story. And we've been doing that for almost 100 years."

So thousands and thousands of pages covering the history, culture, landscape, and people of Arizona. 

"And over those years, we've built this tremendous repository of Arizona history and information."

But it was never available digitally. "And we thought that in the digital age, this is something that would make sense to have it accessible to everybody.

Stieve said his team came up with the idea to digitize the archive more than 10 years ago. 

"It was upwards of $2 million to complete that project, which was money we didn't have," he said. "And so we were fortunate to end up partnering with the Arizona State Libraries.  We ended up working with them on buying a very high end scanner to scan in old issues. And they did the work for us."

Scanning every single page, that came out to roughly 40,000 pages. 

Keith Whitney is the magazine’s creative director. 

"But we got to about 1950 and started hitting speed bumps. We didn't have the issues. You know, we said we had to chase down issues and we only had found issues so that was really challenging trying to figure out how to scan about a bound issue," said Whitney.

Stieve says the 1940s and 1930s were also tough decades to source, in particular, loose bound copies, because like Whitney said, bound copies are difficult to scan. 

One issue in particular was impossible to find.  The story of the missing December 1930 edition aired on KJZZ and a collector heard it. He went through his collection and found it. Now every edition has been digitized and is available to anyone with a computer. 

"It's really remarkable system," said Stieve. "You go in into the  Arizona Memory Project, which I should point out, covers things well beyond Arizona Highways. It's an amazing repository. We're just a part of it."

You can find every issue dating back to the 1920s by visiting the Arizona Memory Project. Arizona Highways will continue to update the Memory Project every few months with its latest issues. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ's Kathy Ritchie previously worked for Arizona Highways.

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.