Reports 1986

The Monthly Reports constitute the core of this website.  Daily activities while on the Project were recorded in the requisite Monthly Reports which have been reproduced here in their entirety, exactly as they were written between January 1985 and February 1988. Images taken during the same time period have been added to the text for visual interest.


January 1986

As December, 1985 drew to a close, the Penn State [Project] Team did a quick assessment of work still outstanding in their office, West 308, Pattee Library, Penn State University Libraries. 

It was a depressing thought to take home over Christmas break. 

We had: 

– Data collected on four counties that needed cataloging.
– Several hundred workforms that had to be searched on (Online Computer Library Center).
– Several hundred LDRs (Local Data Records that had to be revised.
300-400 workforms for our non-15 county area that needed attention.
– Data for all counties for one or more files that needed imputing on ZAC (our personal desktop computer).
– Six new counties that would require our attention in 1986.
– Four counties from the original assignment still to be completed.
– Plus many other assorted tasks…

We felt we needed to catch up a little.  So over the break and during the month of January, we tried to get caught up.  Amidst a great deal of activity (and lots of overtime):

Final cataloging was done on five counties (Bradford, Northumberland, Lycoming, Snyder and Mifflin).  Many of the workforms were searched on OCLC (we’ve resumed our regular searching times) and a record number of 143 workforms were sent to Pittsburgh in January.  (In all of 1985, 277 workforms were sent to Pitt!).

Five counties were input on ZAC for all four files, so Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Mifflin and Union are fully updated.  Many other counties are on but in various states of completion.

Work was started on the six new counties.  The Rossell lists were assembled and the titles searched on OCLC; construction of the 4×6 Master Card File of possible sources of newspapers has begun.

Site visits were made as we covered Mifflin County, finding 88% of the titles. 

Return trips to 3 places in Lycoming County resulted in finding several new titles for that county, increasing our findings from 70% to 73% of the titles.  The publicity articles elicited unusually good responses this month.

Other Activities

  • Had several meetings with Dr. Barbara Smith.  Among items up for discussion: how to raise funds for the Project.  Dr. Smith has been actively involved in exploring avenues of finding to help Pennsylvania raise its share of matching money.  To this end, she has written informative and included various descriptive items in a “packet”, mailed to our local Representatives and Senators in our 21-county area.  Follow-up meetings with two of them so far have proven to be encouraging.  It is anticipated that we will attend more meetings with these legislators to bring the worthiness of the Project to their attention.
  • After a month’s delay and much experimentation, Sue has ZAC all set to access OCLC again.  When the phone lines were changed, the method of dialing had to be switched from rotary to touch-tone for some reason.  By hauling ZAC to Computerland [where we purchased the PC], to Marlene Burkhardt’s office, and finally to reference, Sue isolated the problem and solved it forthwith.  Thanks to the telecommunications people for checking our telephone lines.
  •  After a great deal of patient talking and several phone calls, our Juniata County trip is in place and set for mid-February.  The whole process was reminiscent of Union County, where we ran into a brick wall trying to locate newspaper collections.
  • Received the newly-designed workforms and LDRs While the workforms were greatly streamlined and much easier to use, the LDRs became much more complex and difficult because of the microfilming information now included on the forms.
  • Sue and I did a one-county analysis of newspaper titles to compare items held by Private Collectors which are not found in public institutions.  The results – 48% held by private individuals.  This requires more study…

It is with regret that we bid farewell to Kathy Roos who had given us a year of truly excellent secretarial assistance – but we wish her well in her new position.

 We feel we’ve made a great deal of progress in getting caught up this month.  But there is still so much to do…


February 1986

Two counties were visited in February, and a variety of tasks completed in the Office of West 308 Pattee Library, Penn State University Libraries.  The pace was speeded up once again as the possibility of ending in June began to look more and more like a reality.

 Cataloging Activities

– 154 workforms were cataloged, searched on OCLC, revised and sent to Pittsburgh this month. (277 were sent in all of 1985; 297 have been sent this year already).
– Huntingdon County titles found at Juniata College and the Huntingdon County Historical Society were also cataloged, and await OCLC searching (70 titles).
– The hoard of newspapers heaped on the book truck and stashed behind our office door was finally sorted, cataloged, LDRed and returned to the respective owners (Pattee Library’s Rare Books Room and Labor Archives).
– With ZAC (personal computer) now accessing OCLC, massive searching of Pattee Library’s holdings is underway.  Other titles are also being searched (for sites visited in the last few months).


  1. Site Visits

Site visits continued throughout February.

1.  A portion of Huntingdon County was completed.
Juniata College and the Huntingdon County Historical Society.  Other places will be contacted and visited (as necessary) later in the spring or early summer.
– Juniata College has some rare Christopher Saur German newspapers, on film and in paper copy, dating back to 1734.
– Of the 85 titles published in Huntingdon County, 70 were found at the two institutions listed above (82%).


2.         The visit to Juniata County was a true challenge.  We finally did gain access to the vault in the County Court House (with a court order) and were able to catalog its newspapers, working atop the containers where the election ballots were stored.  Supervision was provided by Mr. David Shellenberger (of the Juniata County Historical Society) who, despite a recent bout with hypothermia, nevertheless spent much time with us in the chilly vault. 

A snag in our carefully arranged schedule arose later that day.  Our contact for the next day’s visit called us at 8:30 p.m. that night to say she was ill and unable to provide entry to the Tuscarora Academy in Academia, where the bulk of [Juniata] County’s newspapers were kept.

 Could anyone else let us in?   No, she didn’t think so.

 Almost a whole day was scheduled to be there; we needed to get in.  Too many problems, she said. 

  • There was no heat
  • No facilities
  • A path had to be shoveled through the snow just to get to the door
  • She didn’t have the key, etc., etc.

        (Yes, this was a planned, pre-arranged visit)!  We called David Shellenberger and explained the problems.  His reluctance to help was acute. 

 He was just recovering from hypothermia

  • His wife had just had a serious operation
  • He had spent one whole day with us already
  • He had a funeral in two days and hadn’t started to dig the grave yet 
  • There was no time

  We begged, pleaded, nagged.

             To sum up:  David did take us. 

 Sue shoveled a path to the door; there was no heat; no facilities; the 3 rooms we needed to be in were locked and David had to drive back to Mifflintown to get his keys; he locked us in the Academy and left.  We then carried all the newspapers downstairs to the staff room and worked by a window where the sun was shining in and psychologically providing us with some warmth. 

 David called hourly to check on us and to see if we had frozen to death, and finally returned at 4:30 p.m. to let us out and lock up.  (He had managed to reschedule his funeral by one day so he could assist us).  David then led us to his home for hot chocolate and Danish, where we told him more about the project and thawed out.  We thanked him profusely for all he had done.

 On day three of this visit, we were gratified to find in the home of a private collector the entire backfile of the defunct Juniata Globe from Thompsontown (77 years worth). 

 It is listed in Rossell with no holding institutions.

  Fund-Raising Activities

 In an effort to obtain the necessary $82,000 matching funds needed to ensure continuation of the Project, Dr. Barbara Smith has worked wonders in bringing the Project to the attention of the State Legislature.  Visits have been made to Representative Lynn Herman and Senator Doyle Corman.  Calls are in for an appointment to Senator Jubelirer, and several key people in our 21-county area have been contacted by phone or letter to enlist their support.

 A list of publishers’ names and addresses, from our 21-county area, was sent to David Hoffman, who plans to contact them for their support as well.

 Other Items of Note

-There was a fire at the Selinsgrove Times-Tribune newspaper office this month.

 The February 18, 1986 issue of the Daily Item from Sunbury, Pa., reported that the fire broke out last evening at the Selinsgrove Times-Tribune Office on Market Street.   Damage was contained to the front quarter of the building that housed publisher and editor Barbara Mitchell’s office and a waiting room.   “Her desk, typewriter and notes were destroyed” along with “awards on the wall” and “old newspapers stored in the attic above the office”

 -The Master Card File for our six new counties was completed (largely with Project Assistant Denise Conklin’s help); the letters of introduction and survey forms were updated and revised; envelopes were addressed and the “mass mailing” completed.  (127 letters were mailed out).  Responses are already being received in West 308.  It certainly went a lot faster this year!

 -A “call-in” from Mifflin County turned up a new title that was not even on our list of “known” titles.  The owner mailed the paper to us so we could see and catalog it.  People have been so incredibly cooperative and accommodating.

 -Comprehensive lists of “finds” and “needs”, as well as holdings for the institution, were sent to Mr. David Shellenberger of the Juniata County Historical Society, Mrs. Nancy Shedd of the Huntingdon County Historical Society, and Dr. Mark Wilson of the Juniata College Library.  Dr. Wilson and Mrs. Shedd also wanted lists of what had been filmed and what should be filmed (they have $2000 to do some filming) at their institutions.  All this data was on ZAC so it was fairly simple to comply with each request.

 -ALA (American Library Association) meetings in New York for Newspaper Project Staff have been set for June 30 and July 1, 1986, in the OCLC Suite.

 -The Newspaper Project Staff at Harrisburg has requested a copy of all the files we’ve created for ZAC.  Samples of the original three files as well as the recently created file for recording data pertaining to the microfilming of titles, have all been sent to Susan Bryson.


March 1986

Much of the work begun last year is finally coming to fruition this year as we witness the final stages of cataloging for many of our original 15 counties.  Fourteen counties have now been visited; the fifteenth is scheduled for early April.  Work has also begun on the six newly assigned counties, bringing the total for the Penn State Site to twenty-one.

14 Counties Completed as of end of March 1986:



County Scheduled for April 1986 (bringing total to 15 Counties completed)



 6 Newly Assigned Counties 
(bringing total to 21 Counties assigned to the Project Team)




 If the funding continues through December of 1986 and the six other counties can be completed, the huge central section of Pennsylvania will have been inventoried.

  • Cataloging Activities

158 workforms were sent to Pittsburgh, along with 60 LDRs (Local Data Records). Many cataloging snags were resolved; titles found on our recent trip to Juniata County were cataloged; and over 100 LDRs from Bloomsburg University were completed and the titles searched on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center).

Meetings with Karen Nadeski began to address how information on Pattee Library’s holdings should be transferred to Karen for eventual inclusion on LIAS.

Faye Leibowitz reports that she is keeping up (admirably!) with the massive amounts of workforms now being submitted from the other sites.  Good work, Faye!

 1. ZAC (Portable Computer)

OCLC searching continued largely for Pattee Library’s holdings, for the many titles from Tioga Point Museum (Athens), and the 100+ outstanding titles left over from our Bloomsburg University initial visit.  (Many titles from the Northeast Area, i.e. Scranton, Easton, Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre, are on microfilm at Bloomsburg University and will be cataloged on our April return visit).

Site Visits

Sullivan County was inventoried in March in conjunction with a return trip to Bradford County to complete unfinished work there.

Site visits to our last county, Montour, are all in place, as well as a return trip to Bloomsburg University – to continue unfinished cataloging there.

The usual pre-site visit preparations – making calls, reviewing holdings data, collecting county histories, preparing a ZAC listing, pulling all workforms, cataloging Pattee Library’s Montour County holdings, etc. – have all been done.

Much preliminary work for Bloomsburg U. was necessary to expedite cataloging once we begin on-site work.

Other Activities

  • Pattee Library (Penn State University)

Organization of work on Pattee Library’s newspaper holdings continues as we try to assess what portion has been done for each area:


Penn State Room                 (100% done)
Rare Book Room                  (80% done)
Labor Archives                   (80% done)
Tower Room                      (100% done)
Stacks                           (80% done)
Microfilm Collection           (searching OCLC has begun)


  • Fund Raising

Under Dr. Barbara Smith’s expert guidance, we pursued various avenues of funding to continue the Project.  Six were mailed to interested persons in our area, asking them to write to their legislators.  Our recent visit to Harrisburg with Dr. Smith resulted in meeting several staff people, as well as Senator Corman (thanks to Amelia Harding’s efforts).

Another letter is being drafted and will be mailed to 30 historians, librarians, curators, etc., seeking their help.  It seems that in political circles, “more” is better.


 a)      Our trip to ALA (American Library Association) in New York this summer has been approved and we are scheduled to attend the June 30 and July 1 newspaper cataloging/discussion sessions.

b)     Responses from libraries and historical societies in our six new counties have been flowing in.  Despite numerous floods in those areas, we are still hoping that the newspapers were somehow saved for posterity.  We’ll soon find out!


 April 1986

The month of April brought to a close the last of our original 15-county assignment.  We finished Montour County’s on-site inventory and did the final cataloging for the local titles found there.  The Montour County trip was fairly uneventful except for one episode which is described in more detail below.

In the course of planning our visit to Montour County we ran across a Private Collector in Danville who was somewhat reluctant to participate in the Project.  Not to be deterred, we called a second time and explained the Project carefully and enthusiastically, and finally Mrs. Dyer agreed to let us schedule a visit.  We felt pleased with our efforts.  We arrived promptly at 2 p.m., as arranged, and found the general location of the Red Lane Antiques shop which she owned.  There was no sign, so we stopped to ask an elderly gentleman for specific directions. 

“Excuse me, sir, can you direct us to Red Lane Antiques?”

“This here is Red Lane,” he said.

“We’re looking for Mrs. Dyer.”

“Well, I’m Mr. Dyer.”  He continued raking leaves.

We got out of the car and introduced ourselves, explaining we were the newspaper people from Penn State.

“Well, now,” Mr. Dyer began, “you aren’t gonna believe this!  Today is Wednesday and on Monday, just two days ago, danged if we didn’t go and sell all our newspapers to some guy in Williamsport.”

He was right.  We didn’t believe him.

“Did you really!?  Was it Tim Hughes?  He’s a well-known dealer in the Williamsport area.”“Don’t know.  It was two fellas in a beat-up ole truck.  Didn’t even ask their names.  They just handed me cold cash.  We had a water pipe break in the yard the other day and I used the money from the sale to hire someone to come and replace the pipe.”  He pointed to a mound of freshly dug earth.

“You must have had quite a collection.  Newspapers don’t usually sell for that much.”

“Well, the wife and I just decided to get rid of the whole mess.  Besides, if everybody knows we got ‘em, sure enough they’d get stolen.  In fact, that happened to a friend of mine who collected Montour County whiskey bottles.  The local paper did a story on him and next thing you know, all his bottles were stolen.

We chatted for a few more minutes, lamenting the fact that we were two days too late, then turned to leave Mr. Dyer, knowing full well that his papers were in his tomb-like home which we could see in the distance.  From where we had been standing, we had noticed the locked doors, closed windows, pulled shades and sealed garage.

It seemed as though his fear of strangers would not permit him to let two unknown people in to see his wares.

We drove away, disappointed. 

Wonder what titles he had?  We’ll never know.

Other Site Visits

A final trip to Bloomsburg University, scheduled for April 30 – May 2, will signify the last of the site visits needed for North Central Pennsylvania.  Bloomsburg University had well over 300 newspaper titles, all on microfilm, which required extensive time 0n-site.  While 40-45 paper titles can be cataloged and LDRed in one day by one person, only 15-20 titles can be done on microfilm in one day.

(Well, we can scratch that.  On April 30, at Bloomsburg University, Sue broke all her cataloging records and in a marathon session lasting until 8:15 p.m. she completed 40 workforms, cataloging from microfilm!  I was impressed!).

While there we met with Peggy Kelly, Serials Librarian. Peggy wanted to know when their holdings would be on OCLC.  We explained to her that we were still working on recording her holdings except for her Columbia County titles which had already been input in August 1985.

Well, Peggy wanted to see for herself.  She went back to the OCLC terminal and to her delight found Bloomsburg’s holding for the Press-Enterprise.

She looked at the now-updated bibliographic record they had originally input and the holdings record.

She and the cataloger sitting nearby then pulled up several other titles, and they couldn’t believe all the work we were doing for them.  They thought it was great!

I think this was the first time someone outside the newspaper project recognized and appreciated the amount of work the newspaper project staff was doing.

It was gratifying to be a witness to their excitement and delight.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

A belated visit was also made to a private collector in Mifflin County who owns the backfile of the Belleville Times  from 1909 – 1973.  She also had the Vol. 1 No. 1 issue for February 14, 1894, but then there was a gap from 1894 – 1908.

 It was significant to discover, at David Hoffman’s request, that seven private collectors in our area had collections of newspaper titles ranging anywhere from 30 – 90 years. 

Pattee Library’s Collection

Work continued on Pattee’s holdings:  the Stack Area and Rare Books Room holdings were finally completed; Labor Archives is essentially done except for checking a few titles which may not qualify for inclusion.

More searching was done on OCLC for titles held in Microforms (and a significant number of our holdings already appear on OCLC).  We guesstimate Pattee to have between 850 – 950 newspaper titles throughout the Library, with 315 of those being in paper format and the balance on microfilm or micro-card. 

Other Activities

The Penn State Project Crew has submitted a proposal to do the 10 counties in North Eastern Pennsylvania in 1987.  Are we crazy, or what?

On April 18 we met with Senator Robert Jubelirer   in Huntingdon, Pa. to discuss funding for the Project.  We are still hopeful that the State Legislature will budget in the necessary $82,000.00 [for the microfilming phase].  Senator Jubelirer was quite non-committal in his comments.

A.  Summary

Although all site visits are essentially completed, the corresponding office work for our 15-county area is not.  Much still remains to be done at Bloomsburg University and at Pattee Library.

The Project here at Penn State has progressed very smoothly, and with the exception of only 2 people, (Mr. Dyer being one), we experienced marvelous cooperation from personnel at the 217 sites visited.

The ground work is in place for our upcoming six counties in South Central Pennsylvania, but site visits there probably won’t be scheduled until all the paperwork for the other counties is completed.


 6 Newly Assigned Counties
(bringing total to 21 Counties assigned to the Project Team)




To sum up the assignment in six words or fewer, “So far, it’s been great!” 


May 1986

With the exception of a final trip to Bloomsburg University at the beginning of May, this month was spent “quietly” at Pattee Library where the [Penn State University Libraries] holdings are now being inventoried and cataloged.

A.  Site Visits

The last and final visit to Bloomsburg yielded a grand total of 389 newspaper titles in their collection, which we have examined, cataloged, LDRed [made local data records], copied and sent forever to poor Faye [Leibowitz] at Pittsburgh University.  Of the 389 titles, 99 required original cataloging, 45 had existing OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) records which had to be updated, and the remaining 245 titles just needed to have LDRs made for them.

2)  All areas of Pattee Library newspaper collections have now been completed except for microforms, and work has begun there in earnest.  Using the “Newspapers in Microform” list as a guide, we began by searching for all titles on OCLC.  Working from the OCLC records we updated and LDRed as necessary.  Where no OCLC records existed, original cataloging was done.  So far we have examined 458 titles (either microprint or microfilm).  Our Project Assistant, Denise Conklin, has been working with us on completing the LDRs.  We have probably 150- – 200 more titles to check.

Pattee Library has been a delight to work in!  Film boxes are labeled; the collection is indexed (accurately!); all the equipment works; and the staff are marvelously helpful.

We also found that by waiting to do Pattee last, many of the titles owned by the Library were already cataloged and on OCLC (some entered as recently as May 2, 1986).  The timing turned out to be extremely advantageous.

For Pattee Library so far

Newspaper titles in paper format ………… 315
Microfilm and Microprint titles …………… 458
Total titles examined so far ………… 773

*And still counting

Note:  Some overlapping of titles will occur when paper copy and microfilm copy are merged. 

B.     Other Activities

-We sent our “most ever” number of workforms to Pittsburgh in one month 259!  (Faye has stopped speaking to us…).

-It was a huge relief to learn officially that NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) will continue to fund the Project through December, 1986.  So it seems we’ll be around for six more months.

-Our Slide/Talk Show was presented to the Juniata College Friends of the Library in Huntingdon.

-We attended and enjoyed a one-day workshop entitled “Archives Old and New” at the Harrisburg Area Community College.  Included was a tour of the soon-to-be-developed Commonwealth Conservation Center.  As usual, Dr. Lee Stout’s introductory report was excellent.


June 1986

We didn’t know it at the time, but taking the actual inventory of Penn State University’s Pattee Library’s newspaper collection was the easy part, and only took about 10 days to do the 658 titles in microform.

Putting all the data in “Pitt-ready” form was the real challenge…

After collecting the holdings data, we:

–          Compared our findings with the shelf-list in microforms, and added 20 new titles which were not listed in the 1978 microforms bibliography

–           Merged data for both formats – 315 paper and 658 film and microprint, and consolidated holdings.  Final statistics for Pattee Library’s holdings will be in next month’s report

–          Completed cataloging for all items; updated OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) records where necessary, and perfected the LDRs [local data records]

–          Began photocopying some to send to Pittsburgh, making a second copy of everything for [Serials Librarian] Karen Nadeski so Pattee Library will have a record of all its newspapers with the necessary cataloging information

–          Of the 973 items done so far, 22 needed to be rechecked due to frequency or variant-title problems, or to update existing OCLC records

The work is essentially done.  What remains is to photocopy it all and send it to Pittsburgh. 

Other Activities  

–          Workforms for Montour County, the last of our original 15 counties, were copied and sent to Pitt.

–          A great deal of long-overdue updating on our ZAC (personal computer) files was completed.  Spalding Memorial Library, Athens, Pa. requested a comprehensive bibliography of their holdings, as well as for the Tioga Point Museum.  Seems they want to microfilm the two institutions’ holdings and needed our list to avoid duplication.  Sue, Denise [Conklin] and ZAC got it together.

–          14 reels of film representing Mansfield University’s Iowa Territorial Newspapers were borrowed on ILL (Interlibrary loan), so we could catalog the papers here (we didn’t have time to finish in Mansfield, Pa.).  55 titles were on those reels, most of which had never been cataloged.  It took 3 days from order-to-delivery date.  Were we impressed!

–          Dr. Lee Stout delivered a box of newspapers belonging to the Centre County Historical Society.  They have been cataloged and LDRed.

–           Site visits (it’s that time again) for Fulton County and Somerset County are all in place for July.  After the ALA (American Library Association) [meeting], it’s “On the Road Again!”

–          Microforms has loaned us a portable microfilm reader to take on our Somerset County trip.  One of the museums there scraped together enough funds to film the run of their local paper, but can’t afford a reader…  Can they be helped?


July 1986

All work on [Penn State University] Pattee Library’s holdings was finalized in July – thousands of sheets of paper copied, labeled, stapled, sorted, counted and wrapped for mailing.  One stack (the originals) goes to Faye [Leibowitz] at Pittsburgh [University]; one stack is kept here in the office; and Karen Nadeski will be receiving a copy of everything so all of Pattee’s newspapers eventually will be on LIAS [Library Information Access System].  Many already are…

Newspapers in Pattee Library are located in eight places: Microforms, Periodicals, Labor Archives Storage, Rare Books Room, Penn State Room, Stacks (Core), Tower Room, Green Room.

The total number of different titles of newspapers found in Pattee Library:  1,080

July also saw the completion of site visits in two additional counties: Somerset and Fulton.  So far, 17 counties have been done and four are left to go.  

A.    Cataloging and Related Tasks

We began chiseling away at the “Brief Workform” Box, now holding about 1200 titles found at various institutions for newspapers published outside our 21-county area.  Eighty titles were searched on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) and cataloged and are now Pitt-ready.

We have started inputting all of Pattee’s holdings (titles) on ZAC (personal computer); Sue has shown Denise [Conklin] how to input.

All the workforms for Pattee’s titles are packed and ready to be sent to Pittsburgh.  We are sending 80 or so a week.

B.Site Visits

Fourteen sites were visited in Somerset County over a four-day period.  Of the 77 titles published, we found 51, for 66 percent.  We stopped by an antique dealer just to see what titles he had (he told us he had many local papers).  His collection was historically very important.  He had one title we had not seen before, several copies of another title for which we had found only a single issue, and many earlier issues for several titles than we had found anywhere else.  Since they were for sale (at $7.00 – $15.00 each) we couldn’t catalog or buy them.  

One title was particularly intriguing – The Taxpayer.  Only one issue found in all of Somerset County.  Sue offered to buy it so she could donate it to the Somerset Historical Center.  Upon hearing that, the owner donated it himself and it will now be preserved for future generations.

Published by the Taxpayers Assn. of Somerset County, only one issue of The Taxpayer survived – volume 1, number 1 (March 25, 1904).   This issue remains among the holdings of the Somerset Historical Center.

The Project Team visited the Windber Museum, Somerset County, Pa. on July 18, 1986.   Prior to the site visit we were told that the Museum had spent all their monies to get their newspapers microfilmed and had no money to buy a microfilm reader to view the film – so we took our own portable microfilm reader with us! 

On a one-day visit to Fulton County, at three institutions, we found seven of the seven titles known to have been published – for 100 percent!! 

C.    Other Activities

Attended the Newspaper Cataloging  Session and Open House in NewYork at the ALA (American Library Association) meeting, June 29 through July 2, 1986.  An exciting exchange of ideas among Project Librarians from several states highlighted the sessions.  Several Field Librarians were interested in our organization of site visits and we were delighted to talk with them. 

–          There is a possibility that the newspaper collection of the Northumberland County Historical Society may be temporarily stored here at Pattee Library.  It seems the Society has no storage space and wants to dispose of its excellent collection of local papers.  They have well over 100 titles, many of them held only by the Society. 

–          Over the course of the year, many private collectors, responding to our letters of publicity, have written to report owning “needed” titles.  Attached is a sheet of percentages showing the original percentage found after visiting a county, and improved percentages resulting from write-ins and/or additional digging.  (See Appendix B)

–          Sue now has all of our photographs mounted, labeled and dated neatly in five albums! 

–          We all welcomed issues received of our articles in CCQ (Cataloging and Classification Quarterly) and in book form.

–          We had to purchase an upgraded version of DOS to run our newly acquired PowerBase Version 2.2, so it would be compatible with the one at the State Library [Harrisburg].  We are sending them copies of all the data on our discs.  They are asking all sites to do the same. 


Total Pennsylvania newspaper titles    518 

Harrisburg titles – 97

Pittsburgh titles – 55

Philadelphia titles – 193

Other Pennsylvania towns/cities – 173

Total New York newspaper titles – 165                        

Total Massachusetts newspaper titles – 174             

Other United States and Territory newspaper titles – 223              

 Grand Total  – 1,080 



Figures below show original percentages of “found” titles and percentages found to date as a result of write-ins from private collectors and/or more digging.

Percentage is based on number of titles found to number of titles published.

NEED TO ADD Chart somehow!!!


August 1986 

August seemed to whiz by as we used some vacation time and also spent 8 days doing site visits in Cambria County.  That left little time to do regular office work. 

A.    Cataloging and Related Tasks

Sue searched all the titles in the Brief Workform Box on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) while I was gone.  (If I had taken off one more week she might have had them all checked and updated!).  We thought there were 600 in the box but in actuality found 332.  Still a goodly sum.  These workforms represent newspaper titles found at all sites: titles published outside our original 15-county area.  Of the 332 searched, 212 were on OCLC; the remaining 120 have to be cataloged.

The Cataloging Statistics Sheet for August represents Pattee Library’s holdings being sent to Pittsburgh.  We sent a total of 457 for August.  All the rest are packaged and ready to go.  Final cataloging statistics are here.

B.    Site Visits

We had two excellent 4-day visits to Cambria County and met wonderful, enthusiastic guardians of newspapers; we uncovered several backfiles of papers in the hands of private collectors – mostly defunct titles:  North Cambria News (Hastings), Gallitzin Item, Johnstown Observer, Cresson Record, Weekly Sun (Barnesboro), Patton Courier; 

We answered many questions from local owners regarding availability of Cambria County papers and what has been filmed; we tracked down several “shoppers” – it was a truly exciting trip.

A new record was set in Cambria County – we visited 7 sites in 4 towns in one day.  And the publisher of the Mountaineer-Herald (Ebensburg) ran an excellent article on the Project.   [Mountaineer-Herald (Ebensburg, Pa) August 20, 1986].

C.    Other Activities

1.      Wrote a news release for Dr. Tom Berner concerning the need for a Microfilm Reader at Windber Museum.  He will publicize it in the PNPA Press Newsletter.

2.      [Project Assistant] Denise Conklin has input the titles of all newspapers held by PSU (Penn State University), including their location throughout Pattee Library.

3.  A problem arose regarding the assignment of OCLC symbols for small public libraries which belong to a larger library network.  Often those libraries use the OCLC symbol assigned to the major library of which they are a part.  For the purposes of the Project, however, a unique symbol is being given to each library.  We have referred the problem to Susan Bryson who will confer with David Hoffman [at the State Library in Harrisburg].

4.      Questions regarding the location and availability of certain newspaper titles continue to flow in from many quarters.  The value of the Project and the need for bibliographical control of newspapers are more evident day by day.

5.      We were invited to speak to the Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society in September.

6.      A copy of CCQ (Cataloging and Classification Quarterly) with our article was signed and placed in the Penn State Room.

7. Began converting our data discs so they would all be compatible with the new PowerBase 2.2 software we now have.


September 1986 

In contrast to August, September dragged by as we concentrated on the myriad details, snags, problems, correspondence, and questions that had been placed on hold from previous months. 

  1. Cataloging and Related Tasks

Over 500 workforms and LDRs (local data records) were sent to Pittsburgh for inputting this month. Poor Faye [Leibowitz] is experiencing a shortage of shelf space to store all this paper, but with the addition of a new Project Librarian, the backlog should begin to decrease. 

For our part, we only have 10 – 12 more weeks to mail everything to Pitt, so we’re sending far more than can possibly be input in the time available.

A good deal of the holdings data is also being collected through the mail, so even though we are not on a site visit, work to be sent to Pitt still accumulates.  ([Project Assistant] Denise Conklin deserves special commendation for her help in this area.  It requires considerable persistence to contact institutions, acquire all holdings data and condition reports, fill out LDRs, get releases signed, fill out ILL [Interlibrary Loan] forms, mail out certificates, and then put it all on ZAC [personal computer])!

In some cases, new titles are added this way, and we have devised a “brief workform” for collectors to fill out so we can “catalog” single issues by mail.  So far it’s worked out very well.

B.  Site Visits

Visits to Bedford County were arranged and during our three-day tour we found 81% of the 42 titles published there.  Our primary collector was Mr. Edward “Ned” Frear, owner and publisher of the Bedford Gazette, who also contributed $200.00 to keep the Project going (back in June when the State Library contacted publishers to enlist their support). 

We also made two visits in Huntingdon, Pa., so that half of Huntingdon County can be considered completed.

To date, 19 ½ counties have been canvassed, with 1 ½ more to go (Blair County and the rest of Huntingdon

A. Other Activities

1. Reference Work:

–          We continue to receive calls regarding the existence and location of newspapers.

–       Donated to the Aaronsburg Bicentennial Committee historical information on Der Centre Berichter (Aaronsburg), which they displayed at their Bicentennial Celebration.

–       Gathered information on Microfilm Reader-Printers to be sent, at their request, to various contacts.

–       Searched OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) for data on extant copies of the Bedford Gazette to be sent to Ned Frear.  He is trying to locate all copies of his title to complete the run.  (This is one of a very few titles to have started publishing in 1805 and to be still in existence with the same title!)

–          Assembled information on where to obtain acid-free storage boxes to satisfy the many requests we get for this data from institutions and collectors.

–          Compiled, with Denise’s help, comprehensive title for Columbia, Clearfield, and Union Counties.  These were mailed out to the many societies and libraries who had asked to receive them when completed.

 2.      Microfilming Information

–          We combed through our Master Card File box of contact people in all counties and included names of people to consult, to be added to Bill Hamill’s excellent [microfilm] list for all Pa. counties.  Bill will solicit local judgments from historians, curators, etc. to assist in the decision-making process on what titles to film. 

–          Input and printed out data for several counties on what titles have been 1) totally filmed; 2) partially filmed; and 3) not filmed at all.  These lists were also sent to Bill (the Project’s Microfilming Coordinator).

(Bill (Hamill] assures us that the many “notes” we write on the condition of newspapers are proving helpful.  We were glad to hear that).

–         Read David Hoffman’s excellent and comprehensive proposal for Phase III, Microfilming.  It paves the way for the fulfillment of the Project’s ultimate goals. 

Miscellaneous Activities

–          Delivered signed copies of CCQ (Cataloging and Classification Quarterly) to Representatives Rudy and Herman, and Senator Corman

–          Presented our Slide/Talk Show to the Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society (Sept. 4) and the Lower Huntingdon Library Group, Orbisonia (Sept. 9).

–          Had several meetings with Dr. Barbara Smith, the last of which concerned the budget.  We are well within our projected costs and will be very close to our allocation at the end.

–          Located and cataloged a new Centre County newspaper, the Penns Valley Post, a 12-page tabloid which began publication in June, 1986, and originates in Millheim.

–          To date, we have traveled 8,366 miles and visited 279 sites, and we have found 684 newspaper titles whose existence or location was unknown prior to the Project! 


October 1986 

Many outstanding problems and snags were cleared up in October.  With the realization upon us that only two months remain to complete the Project, we concentrated on making the return visits needed and attending to other loose ends.

A.    Cataloging and Related Tasks

–          387 workforms and LDRs (local data records) revised or completed were sent to Pittsburgh.
–          Finished cataloging Huntingdon, Somerset and Bedford County workforms.
–          Cleared up cataloging snags in Union County on a return visit.
–          Re-inventoried the holdings of the Ross Library (Clinton County) to reflect their newly acquired microfilm holdings
–          Xeroxed, dated, labeled and filed copies of everything sent to Pitt

  1. Site Visits

–           Scheduled and completed final trip to Huntingdon County, to finish work begun there in February.
–          Scheduled and completed the first of two trips to Blair County.  The second is in place for November 19 – 21.
–          Made a return day trip to three sites in Union County to clear up cataloging snags that could not be resolved by phone.
–          Return visit to Ross Library, Lock Haven.  They recently received microfilm holdings of their newspaper collection and new “FM” [microfilm] LDRs (local data records) had to be made for each title.  Our Project Assistant, Denise Conklin, assisted us on this trip to facilitate the work.
–          Organized and arranged for the transfer of the Northumberland County Historical Society’s newspaper collection to Pattee Library (Penn State University).  On October 16, we drove a van to Sunbury, loaded it, and delivered the papers to Penn State Storage.  About a ton of newspapers were transferred, representing roughly 100 titles, single issues and long runs.

Other Activities

–          Presented our Slide/Talk Show to the St. John’s United Methodist Church group on October 21st.   About 15 members were in attendance.
–          Denise ran off Penn State holdings from our listing on ZAC (personal computer).  There are special listings for each location where newspapers are filed:  Stacks, Rare Books Room, Labor Archives, Microforms, etc.
–          Printed and mailed to interested curators and historians the Potter County Comprehensive List.
–          Updated ZAC with Huntingdon County data

Microfilming Activities

–         Attended meeting in Harrisburg to participate in Bill Hamill’s presentation of his report identifying the titles selected for microfilming for the Project’s initial coverage of a county.  Choices are being made in our 21-county area where the field work has been done.
–           Bill’s very thoughtful list singled out major runs of titles for immediate preservation.  At his request, we selected additional choices to be added to his original list.
–          The treatment of single issues mains an unresolved problem. We spent some time exploring various possibilities for the preservation of these issues, and are still hopeful that a solution will be forthcoming.
–          We met with Dr. Barbara Smith a few times this month to discuss this issue as well as other Project-related matters.

Rental Library  

Just when we had begun to think we’d seen it all, we ran into a unique situation.  There is a rental library in Hollidaysburg, Blair County, that charges patrons an hourly rate to use its collections.  It’s called the Hoenstine Rental Library, and we were unable to gain access to it because we are not in a position to pay for such access.

Even after explaining what the project was attempting to do, we were denied admission.

 “I run a business here.  Do you intend to pay me to use the Library”?

 Having no such intention we had to relinquish all hope of cataloging this Library’s treasures.


November 1986

November brought to a close the many site visits so thoroughly enjoyed over the past 22 months.  The variety of experiences and the cooperation and good will of people met would fill a book.  Indeed it has!  Sue is on Volume 6 of her Daily Journal.

Our last scheduled overnight site visit was November 19 – 21, ending Blair Countyour 21st.  If there is a newspaper anywhere in Central Pennsylvania, We Saw It! 

The remainder of 1986 will be spent putting all data for Cambria and Blair Counties in Pitt-ready form.  Other titles also need to be cataloged from non-Pa. areas.

Data must also be input on ZAC (personal computer); and some comprehensive lists are still outstanding.  Other details are being attended to as we start to wrap up the Project for the past two years.

We also hope to create our Master Card File in December for the ten Northeast sites; that way letters can be mailed out immediately upon our return in January.

 A.                Cataloging and Related Tasks

Our statistics for November are pitiful.  Obviously other tasks absorbed our time and energy.  Many of the titles for our 21-county area are now on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center).  Faye Leibowitz and Nancy Greene have accomplished the almost impossible task of eliminating much of the backlog; Bill Hamill now has access to many of our records on OCLC, to assist him in his microfilming selections).

Site Visits

– Our last visit, in Blair County, ended with a whimper.  Like Union County, we encountered many brick walls and little county cohesion.  Many backfiles of defunct papers listed in Rossell could not be found, despite myriad phone calls and numerous leads.  Our final tally of “found” titles was a pitiful 61%. 

What a way to go! 

Journal Entry from Tuesday, November 19th:

3:50 – 5:00 pm.  Next stop – Duncansville – Gerald Patton’s Antique Shop.  He had papers for sale which we went thru and found several unique titles from Clearfield as well as Blair Co.  Because Gerald Patton had no intention of keeping these rare titles – I bought them for $1.00 a piece.

Two of the titles for sale (and purchased) included the …

… Deutscher Volksfuhrer, a weekly German language paper from Altoona, Blair County, Pa. After 64-year of publishing a weekly issue, March 28, 1878 to March 12, 1942, only two issues survived.  Both issues are held by private collectors …

… and the other title was the Weekly Gem from Coalport, Clearfield County, Pa.  Published weekly on Friday, the Weekly Gem began in 1903 and ceased publication in 1905.  The February 19, 1904 issue is the only extant issue. 

Journal Entry for November 25, 1986:

Becky called [the] Williamsburg Elementary School – no they do not have the backfile of the Williamsburg Focus.  In fact, they (the school people) don’t like the paper – “It wasn’t worth preserving.”   Seems it is anti-school (education).    Interesting!

Arrived at the Williamsburg Focus Office at 1:50 p.m.  We looked for but did not find the first published issue so we cataloged the earliest we could find – volume 1, number 52 for March 14, 1962.    Friday, November 21, 1986

Other Activities

Several exciting events highlighted the month. 

1.      We were delighted to meet, at last, that marvelous lady whose bibliography we have quoted over and over in our work, Glenora Rossell. 

2.      All site catalogers, the Advisory Board, and the Technical Committee met in Harrisburg on November 13th.  Some of the items on the agenda were:  reports from site administrators and catalogers, selection of titles for microfilming, the single issues problem, matching microfilming funding, and publicity for the project as a whole.

3.      A most significant discovery was made regarding preservation of single issues.  With help from Mr. Jim Lukens, Penn State University Photographic Services, we found it possible to film dark brittle newspapers with a regular 35mm camera using fine grain high-resolution film (something which had never been tried before).  The developed film (negative or a positive copy) can then be viewed on a microfilm reader, or a print can be made.  This new discovery could have vast implications for the “single issues” problem.

4.      On November 18th, we presented the slide/talk show to visiting campus librarians [from Penn State Satellite Campuses].  About 35 people were in attendance.  We used David Hoffman’s slides to present the broader State of Pennsylvania Project, rather than the slides highlighting only the central counties.

5.      We received official confirmation that we will be engaged in work throughout the Northeast in 1987. 

Journal Entry for Monday, November 10, 1986:

 David Hoffman called!  We have a job for Next Year!  The state got the full allocation it requested (from the National Endowment for the Humanities) for Pa. for 3 years – the Northeast, Northwest, and 3 years to film, 1987 – 1989.  David was pleased!

 6.     We were pleased to host Bill Hamill, Microfilm Coordinator, his Assistant Roberta Dell, and Amy Newell, Project Assistant, all from the Historical Society in Philadelphia.  Their 2-day visit enabled them to collect microfilming data for the 11-county area for which titles were not yet on OCLC.  Much of the data has now been input.

7.      A note of thanks is in order to Dr. Barbara Smith for the many kind and appreciative remarks she made during our introduction to the Advisory Board in Harrisburg, November 13th, and to the campus librarians on November 18th.


December 1986 

If we had known that we were not coming back in 1987 to do the Northeast, would everything for our 21 counties have been done by December, 1986?  YES!  By forfeiting a few vacation days, we could have wrapped up the assignment and been completely finished, had it been necessary to do so.

All cataloging and copying of workforms was complete – Cambria and Blair Counties being our last two.  Double sets of all the workforms were copied: one for Faye Leibowitz and one for Bill Hamill.  Scheduling of the work seemed to have worked out well for the year.

One return day-trip to Huntingdon (Huntingdon County) and Altoona (Blair County) completed all outstanding field work for the 10 counties covered in 1986.  New items found by these institutions were cataloged, and, we also did final checking on data previously collected.

Our attention shifted periodically to the long-awaited microfilming phase of the project – it seems that some of what was uncovered will really be preserved on film in the years to come.  Working closely with Bill Hamill, we three arrived at a consensus of titles that possibly merit filming from six additional counties in our area.  (Ten counties had already been examined; five are now left).  This preliminary list will be re-evaluated in January, 1987.  All selections are being reviewed by the Technical Committee

 With 21 counties completed, we found very few titles microfilmed and many in poor condition.

MICOR, the Micrographics Corporation, Bensalem, Pa.,  was selected as the microfilmer for the Pennsylvania Project.  Their fee of .10358 cents per page (for four copies of microfilm) seems quite reasonable.  (There are other costs to consider, too: pick-up and delivery, packing materials, etc.).  From all accounts, MICOR appears to have been an excellent choice.  We in the field appreciate the time and thought of the Technical Committee making the final selection.

The Technical Committee agreed to the following selection criteria:

– Newspaper titles from every Pennsylvania County will be microfilmed as part of the Pennsylvania newspaper project.
Selection is based on:

  • research importance
  • intended audience
  • physical condition
  • accessibility
  • geographic coverage
  • availability of substantially complete runs
  • and, period of publication

– Taken from a 1988 Pennsylvania Newspaper Project Report
Several assignments arose from our December 4th meeting in Harrisburg:
–   Suggest ways to create a “perfect” label for reels of film with several miscellaneous titles on it.
–    Revise data disks to include more complete ILL (Interlibrary Loan) information so files will be more useful to the ILL Department at the State Library.
–   Compile “needs” lists to fill in gaps for titles found.  These will be available for institutions to consult at the State Library, in an effort to assemble complete files prior to microfilming.  (Will do in January).

Other Activities

A great deal of work by [Project Assistant] Denise Conklin and Sue brought ZAC (personal computer) up to date on several files.  Work also continues on creating comprehensive title lists for each county which are then sent out to area contacts. 
We began assembling the sources needed to create our “Master Card File” of contacts for the Northeast
Several data disks were copied and distributed, along with documentation, to Susan Bryson, Faye Leibowitz and Nancy Greene, and Barbara Kurimchak and Amy Newell – [Project Librarians at State Library in Harrisburg, University of Pittsburgh, and Historical Society of Philadelphia, respectively].  Now any error we make in our ZAC files will be known to all!  The three other sites want to use our disk formats as a base for the creation of their own disk files to ensure uniformity.

 Summary Statements

The following brilliant idea emerged at the last Harrisburg meeting.  David Hoffman proposed that any institutions which are considering microfilming backfiles of their newspapers should be encouraged to make a contribution to the Project.  These contributions are then eligible for matching federal funds.  This would provide twice as much money for microfilming.  How can we develop this idea further?  A statewide systematic approach to this merits serious thought.
As a result of the combined efforts of all States participating in the Newspaper Project, it is gratifying to discover the tremendous increase of newspaper titles in the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) database.  When we started out only two years ago, very few newspaper titles were on OCLC.
 As an example, we were surprised (but pleased!) to find the entire run of the Gallitzen Weekly Item on OCLC, filmed by the Library of Congress, after we had spent time in the field tracking down the paper copy.  Initial searches for this title on OCLC had produced nothing.  Our final search before sending in our workform to Pittsburgh brought this to light.
A search for titles today reveals the astounding progress being made across the country on this fantastic Project!


LINK to Description of Sites Visited By County and Type of Site 123 Total Sites 1986


Summary Statistics 

                                                           1986  1985 Total  (10 Co.) (11 Co.)

 As of December 1986:

Long distance phone calls made ………. 719             1024          1743
Local Project-related calls (estimated) .. 140               115         255
Total number of site visits ……………….…145               171         316
(including round trips)
Total number of miles logged …………. 3,731           5,294       9,025
Total number of days “on the road” …  49                65          114
Total number of overnights ……………. 30                31           61


UNKNOWN ……………            285             477          762


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