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.
Although we had earlier discussed the idea of discontinuing the Monthly Report (narrative portion) and only submitting statistics, we decided on second thought to continue it in its present format.
We find that we do refer to these reports frequently and they provide a quick reference for activities we often need to recheck.
We will try this year to list monthly highlights only and not dwell on routine activities fully explained in past reports.
Our plan for this year’s 10 counties will proceed along similar patterns as before, with one exception. During the month of August, we will arrange an Extended Stay in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area. This will greatly reduce travel time and provide a maximum work day to cover concentrated site visits. (See TENTATIVE schedule included below)
The 10 Northeast counties were assigned to the Penn State Site. These included: Susquehanna, Pike, Lehigh, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Wayne, Wyoming, and Northampton Counties.
We hope to conclude our site visits by mid-October, allowing us 5 – 6 weeks to complete all paper work in the office by December.
– Mailed out 413 Surveys to institutions in our 10 Northeast counties (Susquehanna, Pike, Lehigh, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Wayne, Wyoming, and Northampton). [SEE Map above]
– Hosted [Microfilming Coordinator] Bill Hamill for 3 days as we made final microfilming selections for 10 counties. Made several site visits to introduce Bill to contacts in the field.
– Wrote a letter “introducing” Bill and alerting people that the microfilming phase is upon us. The letter goes out to 164 contacts in our 21-county area.
– Examined LDRs (Local Data Records) for all our counties and compiled “needs”, “gaps” and “single issues found” lists for David Hoffman [at the State Library in Harrisburg]. It is hoped that once these lists are circulated, more extensive holdings will be assembled for microfilming.
-Revised our “Sites File” disk for the ILL (Interlibrary Loan) Department at the State Library, so they will have access to holders’ information. The other sites will eventually adopt the same file to ensure uniformity of data
– Gave a phone interview to Jill Ross of the Pennsylvania Radio Network (in Philadelphia). A 20-minute taped conversation would result in a 20-second announcement.
-Drew up a TENTATIVE schedule for site visits in the Northeast (see attached).
-Booked a Slide/Talk Show with the Huntingdon County Historical Society for March 22nd. Their Bicentennial Celebrations will be underway at that time.
-Locally an announcement was made about the Project on the WRSC news, at various times, on January 21, 1987.
It was a sad, sad day when we sat down with Bill Hamill and began selecting (and eliminating) titles to be filmed. Sad, because so much time, energy and money had gone into routing out all these titles and now so few are to be saved. So many unique titles were found, in such a variety of places – they will continue to be inaccessible if not filmed and housed in public institutions.
The right attitude, of course, is “better some than none”. My question is, still, “Why not all?”
10 Northeast Counties
Wyoming County — February 10 -12
Luzerne County – Wilkes-Barre — March 3 – 6
Luzerne County – 9 towns — March 17 – 20
Give talk at Huntingdon Co. Hist. Soc.– March 22
Pike County – April 8 – 10
Lackawanna County – Scranton — April 29 – May 1
Lackawanna County – 10 towns — May 20 – 22
Wayne County — June 10 -12
Carbon County — July 1- 3
Monroe County — July 27 – August 7 (Staying over in the East)
Northampton County — August 10 – 19 (Staying over in the East)
Lehigh County – Allentown — August 20 – 21 (Staying over in the East)
Lehigh County – 8 towns — September 15 – 18
Susquehanna County — October 7 – 9
Responses to Surveys sent out in January poured into the office during February, bringing with them all the excitement of discovering anew “What’s out there” in the realm of Pennsylvania newspapers.
As holdings lists were checked against the 1978 Pennsylvania Newspapers, A Bibliography [Ed. by Glenora Rossell], we realized that many titles not located in the Bibliography are alive and well in many places, public and private. The Northeast promises to be an exciting area in which to work.
A multitude of foreign language papers (Slovak, Lithuanian, Russian, Italian, Polish, German) published in this area should prove a real challenge to locate and catalog.
Some of the foreign language titles the Project Team expected to find in Lackawanna County included:
Amerikansky russky viestnik. (Scranton, Pa.) 189?-1952
Languages: English, Slovak, Ukrainian
Amerykanskiĭ russkiĭ vîstnykʺ (Skrentonʺ, Pa.) 189?-1926
Baner America. (Scranton, Pa.) 1868-1877
Languages: English, Welsh
God’s field = Rola Boża. (Scranton, Pa.) 1923-current
Languages: English, Polish
Gwerinwr Cymreig. (Scranton, Pa.) 18??-1???
Languages: English, Welsh
Il Minatore = The Miner. (Scranton, Pa.) 1912-1940
Languages: English, Italian
Narodna voli︠a︡ = Narodna wola = The people’s will. (Scranton, Pa.) 1910-????
Languages: English, Ukrainian
Polish American journal. (Scranton, Pa.) 1948-1972
Languages: English, Polish
Prawo ludu = The Peoples’ rights. (Scranton, Pa.) 19??-19?? Languages: Polish
Republika-górnik Pensylwánski. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) 19??-1948
Languages: English, Polish
Scranton Wochenblatt. (Scranton, Pa.) 1865-1918
Languages: English, German
Source: Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ (Accessed December 8, 2012)
Luzerne County had many foreign language titles. Titles the Project Team expected to locate in the field included:
Languages: English, Slovak
Echo polskie = Polish voice. (Kingston, Pa.) 1927-19??
Di Idishe shṭime. ([Reading, Pa.) 1922-1929
Languages: English, Yiddish
Nowy świat = The Polish morning world. (New York, N.Y.) 1932-19??
Praca = The labor. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) 1905-19??
Republika. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) 1913-1919
Slovensky Občan = The Slovak citizen. (Hazleton, Pa.) 1912-1946
Languages: English, Slovak
Svit = Light. (Old Forge, Pa.) 189?-current
Languages: English, Ukrainian
Vienybē lietuvniku. (Plymouth, Pa.) 1890-1921
Source: Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers (Accessed December 8, 2012)
Additionally, Penn State has three campuses in these 10 Northeast counties, and two of them have already organized a forum of librarians, publishers, historians, faculty, curators, etc., to allow us to present our Slide/Talk Show on the Pennsylvania Newspaper Project. The Project will, therefore, be well-publicized in this area and our introduction to key people made easier.
Joan Diana of the Lehman Campus and Richard Tyce of the Hazleton Campus have arranged our presentations for March 3 and March 9 respectively.
The “Highlight of the Month”, of course, was our 13 ½ minute TV spot filmed by WPSX-TV in Wagner Building [Penn State University, University Park, Pa.]
PARTIAL JOURNAL ENTRY Tuesday, February 24, 1987
Well, the day finally arrived – our day to go before the cameras. Needless to say we were all (3 of us) nervous. Beck and I had rehearsed and rehearsed – looking over the possible questions and answers. Today we decided to put the script away and try to get some work done.
Beck worked on setting up Luzerne County – I worked on Mansfield microfilm. Denise continued her work on ZAC.
After lunch we got the script out and practiced our response to the questions. Finally the time arrived – 1:45pm met Barbara in lobby and drove to Wagner Annex (WPSX-TV Studios).
Mary Ann met us and we all then met Keith Stevens (host of “Taking Note”). We all 4 talked about what the Project was about and what we wanted to get across to our audience. We then went to studio – got seated and our microphones hooked up. Keith asked questions that he would ask, checked w/cameraperson on when to insert slides and addresses and close-up on the newspapers, etc.
Keith then wrote the introduction to our show and soon we were ready to go. As the cameraperson shouted out the countdown to airtime – we all were taking deep breaths and sweating like mad (me anyway).
Keith then gave the intro phrase and right on cue. 1 minute later we were on the air.
The interview began w/Barbara. Beck and I were then asked specific questions (slides were also being shown). Beck and I also went through the 7 newspapers that we brought (we both interacted). I felt nervous at first but soon calmed down. I tried very hard not to speak fast and not to look at the cameras. I had special instructions on how to handle the newspapers. Anyway – it went well. Barbara and Beck might have talked too long in answering questions – But, it all worked out.
Before we knew it time was up. (It went so fast)!
We didn’t even get to say 1/3 of what we wanted to say!! After the show – one cameraman clapped (or was it Mary Ann?). Anyway – we packed up everything, signed something which I didn’t even read and left the studio. (Mary Ann gave us the 5 copies of the tape we asked for).
We all wondered how well we did. So… Barbara decided to drive to her house and view the tape. We went to Barbara’s house, I chose not to watch. Barbara and Beck watched.
(Margin note: It was fascinating how everything clicked – the slides came up just as we were talking about size of newspapers and where we find them.)
They both said after it was all over —- GREAT! It came out better than what they thought. Barbara said it came out better than she had hoped – She even clapped. “Wait till Hoffman sees this”, she said. “We are a good team!” Barbara said.
We then jumped in the car and drove back to Pattee. Beck and I then spent the rest of the day unwinding and talking about the experience.
Barbara called later to tell us that Ruth Carter was out sick so our problem still up in the air.
Barbara did say that everyone wanted to see the tape. Bill Pierce had taken the tape already.
Beck and I both had VHS tapes made. Barbara had 3 copies made – Hoffman wants one, PSU Penn State Room gets one and the other Barbara will keep.
All in all — a good positive experience for all of us!!!
“GOOD JOB”, said Barbara.
Dr. Barbara Smith, Sue and Becky were interviewed by Host Keith Stevens for Public Television’s “Taking Note” Program, to be aired on Wednesday, April 22, 1987, at 5:45 p.m. on Channel 3, and 7:15 p.m. on Channel 25. [For WQLN (Erie, PA), the air date is Friday, March 20, 1987].
As you’re watching this, remember: it was filmed “live”, a one-shot deal, no second chances. Were we nervous? Yes. Was it fun? Yes.
We spent nine days in the field canvassing Luzerne County, several more arranging our next site visit, and more still cataloging workforms; March darted by. As we had expected, Luzerne was involved and difficult, presenting us with many challenges.
Several floods have washed the County clean, taking from time to time valuable caches of newspaper backfiles.
It was heartbreaking to hear these stories and witness the high water marks.
The Balch Institute in Philadelphia has made a successful attempt to collect ethnic newspapers, files and documents from the anthracite coal areas, which include Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties; so many of the Lithuanian, Italian, Slovak and Russian papers we were seeking are already safely stored in Philadelphia.
Combining the Slide Presentation with site visits worked extremely well. Joan Diana and Rich Tyce arranged highly organized meetings, and despite small attendance we found that we were made even more welcome in the institutions we visited by the people who attended the presentations. And because they were so enthused from seeing the work the Project aims to do, they gave us many more leads. These leads prompted another round of telephone calls and return visits to five new sites which are now in place for mid-April.
Having fellow Penn State Librarians out “in-the-field” is an added bonus. They are very knowledgeable of local affairs, familiar with resources and people in the community, and each has worked hard to successfully connect us with important contacts. Special thanks go out to Joan Diana, Rich Tyce and Dick Fitzsimmons for their previous and ongoing efforts to support the Pennsylvania Newspaper Project.
When we set out for Luzerne County, we had an unprecedented number of 50 OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) bibliographic records with us. Luzerne published at least 321 titles; we found 161. Almost one-third of those were already on OCLC, which of course greatly facilitates work in the field. It is just marvelous to see the separate efforts of each site melting together in unified whole on the OCLC database.
Despite the flooding, we did still manage to find some important long runs of papers, and have made a list of these.
Titles inventoried and noted on our “Yellow Sheets included:
- the backfile of the Dallas Post, Dallas, Pa.
- 103 Luzerne County titles found at the Wyoming Historical and Genealogical Society; inventorying and cataloging 103 titles in 8 hrs was a record for the Project Team!
- 77 boxes of microfilm at the Times-Leader Office
- backfile of the Bratstvo Slovak News
- and, the entire run of the Hazleton Standard-Speaker found it the publisher’s loft; 6 hour inventorying session!
Setting up the schedule for Luzerne County was a feat in itself.
– Many of the small libraries we visited only opened from 2 – 5 pm every other Tuesday, so work around that.
– Just because 5 places you need to visit are all within 3 blocks of one another, it doesn’t mean they will all let you visit on the same day.
– We had to go to Sweet Valley on 2 site visits; you can’t get there from anywhere else.
– In case anything we scheduled fell through, we arranged a few “open appointments” saying we would come whenever we could – on a certain day. This gave us more flexibility. Normally we specify a time; most places prefer knowing exactly when you’re coming.
For your traveling enjoyment, we’ve attached our Luzerne County Site Visit Schedules.
– Nothing was sent to Pittsburgh this month. (We’re still reeling from the site visits).
– Be sure to watch for April’s statistics…
– We compiled a brief form to record the policy of each library we visit whose newspaper holdings are on OCLC. So far most of the changes we’ve had to record and report have been format changes (see Appendix A below).
Most libraries understandably do want to be informed of changes made to those LDRs (Local Data Records) which they have already input into OCLC. We usually search the institution’s titles on OCLC and print off their holdings before we visit them, then compare the record to what we find in the field, record the changes, send a list of changes to the institution and an updated LDR to Faye Leibowitz and Nancy Greene at Pittsburgh. We sought Faye’s advice on this procedure and it is working out well.
In Luzerne County, we discovered two micro-producers who occasionally microfilm newspapers. Who should inventory their collections?
Discussion between Dr. Barbara Smith and David Hoffman produced these decisions:
-Library of Congress will do the huge national firms
-We will inventory inactive, defunct, and small firms and firms limited to filming Pennsylvania titles
-For firms filming many out-of-state titles, consult Bob Harriman, Library of Congress.
We’ve sent Dick Fitzsimmons a copy of our Lackawanna County contacts, and in conjunction with Dorothy Allen of the Lackawanna Historical Society, he is arranging a Slide /Talk Presentation to precede our site visit there next month.
Received a call from the Maryland Newspaper Project to discuss staffing needs in relation to daily LDR (local data record) output. Our Project is somewhat larger, so don’t know how helpful we were. The Director had read our article [in CCQ] site visits.
Presented our Slide/Talk Show to fifteen interested citizens at the Huntingdon County Historical Society on Sunday, March 22nd. Two people brought in three new titles for Huntingdon which we had not seen before. Of course, we cataloged them on the spot! [See February 1987 Monthly Report for a fuller account of this event].
Dr. Barbara Smith arranged a telephone conference with northeast campus librarians Joan Diana, Rich Tyce, Dick Fitzsimmons and Dennis Phillips to initiate a fund-raising campaign for microfilming money in the northeast counties. Information packets have also been sent to them and efforts are now underway to enlist the support of their State Legislators.
Dick Fitzsimmons met with us briefly during his recent visit to the University Park Campus. His plans to host us in Scranton, Pa. next month are shaping up nicely. Like Joan and Rich, Dick has given us valuable leads in locating important collections and in identifying key contacts in the fraternal associations which abound in the area.
Pike County looked so “easy” after Luzerne that we decided to do it in conjunction with Wayne County. Site visits are now in place for those counties for April 7 – 10.
It was bound to happen sooner or later… We met up with our first ‘varmit’ while inventorying the backfile of the Pittston Gazette at a private collector’s home. (It was a mouse). Even though we clapped our hands and made loud noises to scare him off, we were sure he was sitting somewhere in safety watching us all the while.
Needless to say, we were both on edge, and on the look-out for his unexpected return.
Right about now you are probably wishing we HAD decided to eliminate the narrative portion of this Report, nevertheless…
It is sometimes just the little things that occur as a result of the Project that are the most rewarding.
The Editor of a newly-established newspaper, called The Paper (White Haven, Pa.) was asked the routine question of whether he had an index to his paper. He stopped, thoughtful, paused a little, and then said, “No. But the whole newspaper is on disc. We could easily start doing that. It hadn’t occurred to me to index it…”
When asked the same question, Stephanie Grubert of the Mountaintop Eagle explained that she had thought of it but wasn’t sure how to go about it. We described some of the kinds we had seen in other places. She started the paper in the 1970s and remembered everything in it, but she knew a more concrete index would soon be in order.
Our Project Assistant, Denise Conklin, has diligently input all our findings on ZAC (personal computer). She then prints out a comprehensive list of titles published in a given county. The title list includes place and dates of publication and whether we found a title or not. These lists are sent to the many interested contacts in the field who request them or would find them useful. We recently received two lovely acknowledgements of same.
A newspaper publisher in Wilkes-Barre was using as a service copy its master negative film. Library staff there were unaware of this until we told them their micro-filmer did not retain the master negatives and this was probably it. They are anxious to investigate this further.
At a recent slide presentation in Hazleton, two attendees, one a seasoned Historical Society member from Schuylkill County, the other a novice from Luzerne County, were introduced. They spent time sharing ways and means of incorporating a Society, finding operating funds and becoming more established in the community.
Several people on this trip asked for information on how to preserve their newspapers. We carry with us handouts on basic preservation techniques, and where institutions can purchase acid-free boxes and other items. We left quite a few with interested persons.
With 1,361 miles logged this month, we were away on site visits most of the time working in four counties. The gruesome details follow.
April Highlights include:
A truly historic day was April 13th; Micor Micrographics Corporation made its first pick-up of newspapers for microfilming at the Daily Review Office in Towanda [Bradford County].
An impressive array of dignitaries gathered for this auspicious occasion. [The event was publicized in the local Towanda newspaper, the Daily Review, on Friday, April 10 (see article above) and on Tuesday, April 14, 1987, p.3]
Phase III of the Project is now in force – the preservation of a part of Pennsylvania’s history as recorded in its newspapers!
We can be grateful that an agency such as NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) saw fit to undertake this awesome task.
The debut of the Penn State Team, Dr. Barbara Smith, Sue Kellerman and Beck Wilson on WPSX-TV “Taking Note – The Pennsylvania Newspaper Project” was viewed by a small group of loyal friends. As a result of the show we received two phone calls, and one walk-in who lives in Elk County.
A rare find! A long run of a German newspaper was found at the Lackawanna County Historical Society. The SCRANTON WOCHENBLATT ran from 1865 – 1918. The Society had 1879 – 1918. Very few German papers have survived in the counties we are visiting, and none in large numbers. These papers were tucked away in a low cabinet with the “doors” pushed against the wall. Only recently were the contents discovered when the cabinet was moved.
The Site Visits
Pike County was done in conjunction with Wayne County, and 82% and 77% of the titles published there were found.
A return trip was made to Hazleton, Luzerne County, to follow-up on leads acquired at our Slide/Talk Show, and to remove the ton of paper of the PITTSTON GAZETTE from Mr. Mertz’s vault to the Penn State Hazleton Campus. The backfile was no longer wanted by the owner, so it is being stored until it is filmed or housed somewhere on a permanent basis.
The first of two trips to Lackawanna
County was scheduled for April 28 – May 1st. Dick Fitzsimmons at the Worthington-Scranton Campus achieved the remarkable feat of filling 28 seats for our Slide Presentation in Scranton. It was a lively, productive session. Many attendees lingered afterwards to share information and to provide additional leads.
For this meeting we created a special pre-site visit “needs” list, called “Help Help Help”, which included titles we did not expect to find in Lackawanna County; we knew that they were based on the surveys which local institutions had sent to us. [See examples of titles below].
We distributed these to the audience to alert them to specific titles we hoped to find. One member raised his hand and said he knew where at least 12 of them were. (He hadn’t sent me his holdings list!). We’ll see in May when we return to this county whether this produces any positive results.
Dick Fitzsimmons provided us with a tremendous amount of contacts, history, and politics of the area. We appreciated all his help.
If anyone is wondering whether four counties are too many to be done in one month, the answer is YES!
“Help Help Help” List – Sample listing of titles still being sought:
Truth (Archibald, Pa.)
Bulletin (Blakely, Pa.)
Advance and Jermyn Advocate (Carbondale, Pa.)
Anthracite Press (Carbondale, Pa.)
Lackawanna Reformer (Carbondale, Pa.)
Abington Eagle Clarion (Clark’s Summit, Pa.)
Local News (Dalton, Pa.)
Dunmorean (Dunmore, Pa.)
Review (Jessup, Pa.)
Taylorport Journal (Minooka, Pa.)
Miner’s Tribune (Olyphant, Pa.)
Nove Zhittia = New Life (Olyphant, Pa.)
Independent (Peckville, Pa.)
Recorder (Priceburg, Pa.)
Bauer America (Scranton, Pa.)
Druid (Scranton, Pa.)
Hirnyk (Scranton, Pa.)
Hyde Park Cambro-American (Scranton, Pa.)
Jednota (Scranton, Pa.)
Minator (Scranton, Pa.)
Przeglad (Scranton, Pa.)
Pwnch Cymreig (Scranton, Pa.)
Sonnabend Journal (Scranton, Pa.)
Sunday Breeze (Scranton, Pa.)
Svoboda (Scranton, Pa.)
Tygodnik Pennsylvanski (Scranton, Pa.)
Voce Italo-Americana (Scranton, Pa.)
Volkszeitung (Scranton, Pa.)
“The story of the press of Luzerne County will never be fully told. The editorial activity has been so self-sacrificing, the journalistic effort so strenuous, the publications so numerous, the changes so frequent, and the ramifications so tortuous that it is doubtful whether anyone will ever have the courage, as well as the time, to attempt to explore the Luzerne County highways and byways of newspaperdom back to the period covered by Mr. Harvey in his sketch of ‘Wilkes-Barre’s Earliest Newspapers’. Colonel Smith… writes about the first daily newspaper; but no attempt has been made to set down the brief histories of the innumerable journals that have come and gone in the last century of printers’ ink-spilling.
Indeed, it is doubtful whether such a study would be worthwhile. In Wilkes-Barre it might be, but in other parts of the county it would not…”
So writes Mr. Harvey in his history of Wilkes-Barre ¹, and what a gauntlet to throw down to the Penn State Team, fanatical in their search for papers, and overly zealous in their attempt to “set the record straight”. Mr. Harvey is right on one count – the story never will be told – because too little from Luzerne County survived to tell the tale. But would “such a study even be worthwhile?” What a question!
And indeed in Wilkes-Barre a portion of its newspaper history was constructed, with the links of the TIMES LEADER the current paper, which had 39 titles to its historical credit (running a close second to the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE with 44 [title changes]).
Freeland, Mountain Top and Hazleton also fared well in newspaper survival, but the rest of the County is poorly represented indeed. The full story will never be told.
Luzerne County was cataloged this month and Mr. Harvey’s detailed history was one of several consulted in our attempt to set the record straight. Our worst statistic, only 55% of the titles published in Luzerne County were found (179 out of 327).
¹ Harvey, O.J. (1930) A history of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, from its first beginnings to the present time including chapter of newly-discovered early Wyoming Vally [sic] history, together with many biographical sketches and much genealogical material. Wilkes-Barre, Pa. [Raeder Press] p. 104.
Lackawanna County was completed with our second tour, May 19 – 22. We visited 19 sites in 10 towns. Since all the major institutions had been covered on our previous trip, this tour was thoroughly enjoyable – finding long-lost, obscure papers from small communities and meeting preservation-conscious people who doggedly held on to their newspapers, knowing that someday a Project like NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) would happen.
Two people reneged on their site visit and canceled with us at the last minute, both deciding that they preferred not to participate (for a variety of reasons). One person is an ex-publisher who has the backfile of his paper (1938 – 1945) “rotting in his attic and wishes to leave it so”. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Finding these caches is difficult enough; locating them and being refused access is really hard to accept!
OLD COUNTIES – NEW FINDS
Mrs. Elizabeth Sheetz of Centre County called to say her brother has a copy of the Mountain Times, one of only five missing Centre County titles.
Mr. James McIntosh of Blossburg, Tioga County, sent his collection of papers to us via his brother (currently working on a degree here at Penn State). Among his titles was a new one from Tioga County and several others were added where only single issues had been found before.
While browsing in an antique shop in Huntingdon one Saturday, we found 10 months of the Watchman (1887) from Newton-Hamilton, Mifflin County. The owner eagerly agreed to participate in the Project.
The Curator of the Wayne County Historical Society sent us Xeroxed copies of the Booster from Honesdale. It was a new title not found on our Wayne County tour.
A weekly publication from Honesdale, Wayne County, the Booster was “Issued for the purpose of conducting a direct publicity campaign between the retail storekeeper and the customer …”Only four issues of the Booster were located at the Wayne County Historical Society. The Society held: August 5, 12 and September 16, 30 1916.
CATALOGING AND RELATED
– We now have dial access to OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) via Compuserv, and it is considerably more difficult – harder to connect and to stay connected, slower than before, and often necessary to send messages twice to be received. Guess all the bugs aren’t worked out yet.
– Many Non-Pa. titles were cataloged this month, are soon to be copied and sent to Pittsburgh. The Lackawanna Historical had a total of 185 titles, 67 of which were out-of-state.
– Denise Conklin continues to check OCLC for titles held by East Stroudsburg University. Their list boasts 1300+ newspapers and Denise is pulling existing OCLC records in preparation for our August visit.
… continue to flow into [our office] West 308! It is very tempting for our contacts to seek help on various questions, since they assume that we have all of the resources of the Pennsylvania State University at our disposal.
Interestingly enough, many of the questions have nothing whatsoever to do with newspapers. Our most recent request was for a copy of the Hail Mary in French… (the prayer, not the movie).
I wish we had kept a log of all the questions we’ve been asked. It’s the only thing we didn’t document.
Our most distant query, geographically speaking, came from Professor Maldwyn Jones of University College, London, England. His research on a prominent Member of Parliament, Mr. John Henry Puleston, led him to the United States, more specifically, Pittston, Pa.
Professor Jones discovered in Winifred Gregory’s Union List of American Newspapers that an 1858 issue of the Pittston Gazette and Luzerne Anthracite Journal was extant at the Northumberland County Historical Society (NCHS). He wrote the Society asking about the issue.
The NCHS had meanwhile sent their collection to [Penn State] for permanent storage, so the letter was forwarded to us.
Professor Jones said that Mr. John Henry Puleston, Member of Parliament, had come to Pittston in 1857 and edited the Pittston Gazette and Luzerne Anthracite Journal until spring of 1860.
Could a copy of the only existing issue be sent to him?
It could; and we did.
For weeks we didn’t hear whether it had been received by Professor Jones (it traveled by boat!). Finally he called to say he had received it and was very pleased. (The University had made an excellent copy of it).
While all this was going on, we had since removed another file of the Pittston Gazette, the entire back file, to the PSU Hazleton Campus, and had found a special Jubilee Edition which talked about past editors of the paper, and illustrated the article with photographs.
We had sent a copy of that article to Professor Jones as well.
When we mentioned this to the Professor on the phone, his delight was effusive – a photo of Puleston had actually been found! It seems information on Mr. Puleston is hard to come by.
Even in that article, written in 1900, the editor of the Pittston Gazette Jubilee Edition was having a hard time tracking down the file of the paper edited by Puleston and said then that no issues for the period 1857-1860 could be located.
Anyway, Professor Jones wanted to know when we would be inventorying the U.S. Collection at the British Museum. Said he: “It’s quite extensive, you know”.
– Historical societies frequently inform us that the Project will be discussed at their next meeting. The Carbondale Historical Society’s was the first whose announcement we’ve seen in the paper. The brief announcement was titled “City Historical Society to plan upcoming events” and reads in part:
“On the agenda will be a report on the organization’s participation in the local arm of the United States Newspaper Project, a project to inventory all the newspapers in the United States so that the resources can be used by researchers”. [Carbondale News, May 20, 1987, Carbondale, Lackawanna County].
[See BELOW for an account of that portion of the Meeting, appended 10/8/2012]
– Dr. Barbara Smith gave us an update on the notes of the Technical Committee Meeting of May 13th. It seems the filming done by Micor [Micrographics Corporation] is exceptionally good, with excellent targeting.
– Barbara Kurimchak at the Historical Society of Philadelphia Site has been diligently cataloging the holdings of the Balch Institute for the past several weeks. She is almost finished and will send us a list of the ethnic papers published in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties which are housed in the Balch Institute. It is hoped that many of the titles on our “needs” lists for those two counties will be accounted for.
– We now have five Northeastern counties left to complete: Susquehanna, Monroe, Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton.
ADDENDUM to the Monthly Report – Added October 8, 2012
Here follows an account of the Meeting of the Carbondale Historical Society and Museum, Inc. as it concerns the Agenda Item discussing the US Newspaper Project.
Item 11. On Wednesday, May 20, 1987, two cataloguers from the United States Newspaper Project, Rebecca Wilson and Susan Kellerman, spent the day in Carbondale cataloguing the newspapers in the collections of the Carbondale News, the Carbondale Historical Society, the Carbondale Public Library, and in the private collections of S. Robert Powell and Nan Waters. The goal of this project is to find and catalog all of the newspapers published in the United States since 1719. When the project is completed, a computer file will exist which will give any researcher the ability to find out whether or not a paper exists and, if it does, where it can be found.
Ms. Wilson and Ms. Kellerman were assisted in their efforts by Society members Henry J. Loftus, Donald W. Powell and S. Robert Powell. The majority of the day was spent working with the newspapers in the Carbondale Public Library’s collection. The Carbondale Public Library owns the largest collection of newspapers published in Carbondale and the surrounding area that exists.
While the cataloguers were hard at work, Society member Rosemary Kelly, observed the proceedings and expressed her approval by treating everyone to lunch at Bob McDonnell’s Restaurant. At several points during the day, Ms. Wilson commented that this was the first time – after having catalogued at hundreds of sites in 26 counties of Pennsylvania – that she and Ms. Kellerman had ever had historians/cataloguers from the local area offer their assistance for the entire day of cataloguing.
Although a number of titles were found, many were not. If anyone has any of the following newspapers, please contact Hank Loftus at 717-282-0385:
Advance and Jermyn Advocate
Democratic Standard and Know Nothing Expositor
Leader (any copies from 1932 to 1944)
Review (all issues)
JERMYN Advocate (Jermyn)
— Courtesy of Second Vice President Henry J. Loftus, Jr.; from the Society’s Newsletter, June 29, 1987, Vol. II, Number 3, p.3.
For more on Mr. Henry Loftus’ involvement in the Project, see Mr. Vladimir Geeza – Will he or Won’t he?
June was spent in the office [at Pattee Library, Penn State University] trying to get caught up on the work accumulated through extensive site visits in April and May. We also managed a week’s vacation for some much needed R & R.
Cataloging and Related Tasks
– Sue spent a great deal of time checking, correcting and re-submitting existing OCLC (Online Library Computer Catalog) records for newspaper holdings. Many of the institutions visited in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties had holdings on OCLC which had to be updated and/or corrected.
– The University of Scranton was the only one to question any of the changes made. It seems some of their current holdings were attached to dead titles and they wanted to check with us as to why we had made the changes we did. A phone call got it all worked out.
– We finished cataloging Wayne County and began workforms from Lackawanna County. Sue also cataloged still more titles that Dr. Charles Mann [Head, Rare Books, Penn State] keeps finding in the Rare Books Room. (Thanks, Charlie. Enough!)
– Mr. T. R. McIntosh brought in a second set of papers from his brother in Tioga County. These were also cataloged.
– All in all, 145 workforms were sent to Pittsburgh, and 92 LDRs
No site visits were scheduled in June, but lots of activity still occurred.
– Carbon County’s schedule was put in place for July 1 – 3.
– Made several unsuccessful calls to locate papers from Jermyn, Pa. (Lackawanna County). Field contacts had given us several leads – but so far nothing has turned up.
– Began the preliminary arrangements for our extended tour in Monroe, Northampton and Lehigh Counties scheduled for July 26 – August 22nd.
Have secured reasonably priced accommodations at East Stroudsburg University and the Olde World Inn in Bath, Pa.
We have put a tentative schedule in place for the 4 weeks; it will be confirmed closer to the visit dates.
East Stroudsburg University has over 600 titles. Lehigh University and Lafayette College both have over 200. The race against time continues…
- Project Assistant Denise Conklin will continue to staff the office during our absence, and some time was spent this week outlining tasks to do while we’re gone.
- Richard Fitzsimmons has been actively campaigning for microfilming funds for the Northeast.
- A call from Representative Lynn Herman on June 30 was less than reassuring, but he will request the needed $86,750 as a budget amendment, if he is given an opportunity to do so.
- Called Dennis Phillips at the [Penn State] Allentown Campus and we’ve set the Slide Show Presentation for July 28th. Interested and appropriate people from four counties will be invited.
- On the bright side:
We mentioned in our last Monthly Report [May 1987] that two contacts had reneged on us. In a last attempt to see their collections, we wrote them an explanatory letter when we got back to the office. One responded, and I am happy to report that the file of the Mid-Valley Journal from Olyphant, 1938 – 1944, is now safely housed in the Carbondale Historical Society in Lackawanna County! A better fate than rotting in an attic in Peckville… [But how did it happen? Here’s the inside scoop!]
Lastly, a word of thanks to the people on the Fifth Floor of Pattee Library, Penn State University, who continue to provide us with prompt, courteous and cheerful services. We appreciate all that you do for us. wjm 7/1/87
July 1 – 21, 1987
July’s Monthly Report is out early, and it covers activities up to July 21. This is our last week in the office this month. On Sunday, July 26th, we leave for East Stroudsburg, Pa. to begin our Extended Field Work. The original schedule was supposed to cover Monroe, Northampton and Lehigh Counties. We’re such optimists! As it happens, we will only be visiting Monroe and Northampton, and it will be a miracle to get those two completely done.
August’s Monthly Report will include activities from July 22 – August 30.
Initial “holdings data” reports we had received from upcoming counties did not truly reflect what the institutions held. Follow-up phone calls revealed one library with 630+ titles [ESU- East Stroudsburg University], three libraries with 200 or more each, and two with 100+ each. We also located many more places we need to visit, which had not responded to our original surveys at all. None of this is new, but until we actually get into it, it is hard to predict what we will find.
On the plus side, most of the titles that we know about were searched and found on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), so that will speed up work in the field. The titles held by most of the places we have to visit are Non-Pa. titles: current items from across the nation that support the curriculum.
An interesting phenomenon was that in the course of searching titles on OCLC and bringing up the DHs (holdings data), we would find that many of the institutions we plan to visit would have their holdings on OCLC, but these titles did not appear on the list of titles they sent us (which would indicate that the Library doesn’t know it has those titles). All of which points up once again to the tremendous number of side benefits being derived from the Project.
Attached to this report are our Schedule and the addresses and phone numbers of places where we can be reached. We’re excited about the upcoming work (and praying it can be done in the time allotted
As can be expected a tremendous amount of preparation has been involved in getting ready for this [site visit], and special thanks go to Denise Conklin, Project Assistant, for painstakingly searching all 600+ titles of East Stroudsburg University on OCLC. Good work, Denise!
We had a marvelous visit to Carbon County, July 1 – 3, 1987. We thoroughly enjoyed the historic, attractive town of Jim Thorpe – receiving from the originator a history of the reasons why Mauch Chunk, East Mauch Chunk, and Upper Mauch Chunk “merged in 1954 to become Jim Thorpe”.
Sounds like a newspaper title…
Most of the Carbon County titles were already filmed, an unusual but welcome occurrence in our area.
We still made two important discoveries here – one of them quite by accident.
We were visiting the basement of Mr. Edward “Ed” Gildea, a small-town newspaper publisher, and found among his own backfiles a 20+ year run of the Coaldale Observer from Coaldale, Schuylkill County!
It seems that the publisher of the Observer, Mr. James J. Gildea, went out of business and gave his backfile to our Mr. Ed Gildea because he liked his name! They are not related. Local residents seem to think it is the only existing long run of that paper. What a nice surprise!
Ed publishes The Valley Gazette in Lansford, Pa. He interviewed us and took pictures, says he will write an article about the Project. He is extremely interested in what the Project is doing and made notes on all the titles we had found.
The other important find was: the 100 year run of the Evening Leader from Lehighton. It belongs to a Private Collector who had it stored behind a wall in a deserted building which he owns. As we stood in the damp, musty room he ripped away sections of brightly painted paneled walls to reveal volume after volume of the Evening Leader…
The Lehighton Evening Leader began publication in July 1902. By July 23, 1921 the paper changed its name to the Evening Leader. The Evening Leader continued to be published daily except Sundays until December 31, 1970 when it ceased. The backfile found behind the paneled wall was filmed by PaNP in 1988.
He plans to sell the issues to recoup some of his losses on the building. We explained about the Project – asking him to reconsider his decision to sell it piecemeal, and trying to convey some sense of its historical worth. He agreed to think about it.
(We wrote to Bill Hamill. Maybe it could be filmed using the stipulation that the contents would not be publicly distributed – an arrangement that may be worked out with some publishers who do not want their paper freely circulated).
Several days were spent confirming the appointments that were tentatively in place in June. Some arrangements were reworked as various summer-scheduling problems arose: staff and contact people were away on vacation; collections being moved or shifted; shortened summer hours; broken air-conditioners (bring fans…), etc.
Sue searched OCLC for all institutions based on any lists they had sent us; input all Monroe, Northampton and Lehigh County titles on ZAC (personal computer) so we can have “HELP!” lists before we go (to distribute at our Slide Presentation), and updated Rossell printouts; she also created holdings folders for each large institution we need to visit.
It’s finally beginning to look as if we are ready.
Work continued on completed LDRs (Local Data Records) and cataloging Lackawanna County titles. Wayne County was revised, copied and sent to Pittsburgh.
It appears no funds were allocated for microfilming newspapers in the State Budget this year. Haven’t heard where that leaves us or what the next step is to be.
Dr. Barbara Smith proposed we write our contacts in the field and have them contact their legislators. What was successful in 1985 may work again.
We have a Slide Presentation scheduled for July 28 at the Northampton Area Community College. Dennis Phillips from the Penn State Allentown Campus arranged the meeting and invited colleagues from four counties.
His timing on the invitations was perfect – people were opening their invitations as I was making my calls [to visit them]; many indicated their intention to attend.
During our absence, Denise Conklin will be in charge of all office activities and we will be in regular contact with her. Messages can be relayed to us through her. By consulting the Schedule she will know at all times where we are.
July 22 – August 31, 1987
As mentioned before, this Monthly Report covers the last part of July and all of August.
THE Site Visit
It doesn’t seem possible, but our month long site visit is over; all the planning, worrying, organizing, calling, packing and preparation which preceded our visit proved worthwhile. The trip covered two counties: Monroe and Northampton, both having institutions with major holdings (38 sites in all were scheduled in advance), and a slide show planned early in the tour to familiarize contacts from four counties with the Project and our upcoming visit.
The entire trip went smoothly; we finished several sites ahead of schedule and filled in the time with new contacts which Project Assistant Denise [Conklin] relayed to us on a regular basis. Apparently all the newspapers ran our articles and several people called in with papers. (One fellow in Hellertown, near Bethlehem, called Denise at 9 a.m.; we were at his house by 11 a.m. He was suitably impressed with the turn-around time).
Taking along all potentially useful data and supplies proved beneficial; we were able to maintain our correspondence and do other “office work” from East Stroudsburg University (ESU).
One “surprise” we received occurred at Lehigh University when someone casually mentioned whether we knew about their Readex Collection of titles on micro-card.
We didn’t. But fortunately we had seen the whole set at ESU and by using those records, we were able to list Lehigh’s holdings of 100+ titles in just a few hours.
The only other unexpected cache was at the office of the Bethlehem Bulletin. Bernie Fetsko said he and his father had published 5 – 6 papers and he had saved copies of all of them.
We planned 1 ½ hours to be there. We arrived at 8:30 a.m., and left at 4:30 p.m. after digging our way through 26 different newspapers which Bernie & Alexander Fetsko had published throughout a 40 – 50 year publishing history.
Several titles were bound together in each volume – a nightmare for inventory-taking – and that slowed us down considerably.
That was our last and only visit that day, as luck would have it, but we had to forfeit any thoughts of finishing early and going sightseeing!
The one omission in this carefully constructed plan which should have been built in was: time to regroup and reorganize in the field.
After each day’s activities, certain lists and records have to be maintained to keep all the files in order for the next day. Failure to build in that time resulted in accrual of lots of overtime.
a) Brief “checklist of items” to take on an Extended Site Visit: boxes of blank workforms, boxes of LDRs, OCLC records (with DHs) for all known titles, Rossell in all formats, schedule of visits, maps, room reservations information, Card File of contacts’ names and addresses, slide show data & slides, hand-held viewer, gloves, flashlight, dirt shirts, camera & film, ZAC lists, prepared workforms, ILL forms, release forms, Certificates, restaurants guide, cash advance, band aids, envelopes, stationery, stapler, stamps, tape, telephone calling card…
Monroe County (July 26 – August 9, 1987)
East Stroudsburg University (ESU) graciously hosted us during our stay in Monroe County. (Our home was a dorm room in Linden Hall). The Public Affairs Office and the Kemp Library both acted as contact centers for us to receive mail and messages. Staff members were extremely courteous and helpful, making every effort to assist us throughout our stay. The Library also provided us with access to an OCLC terminal, a telephone and a typewriter.
We visited eleven sites in Monroe County, but the bulk of the time was spent at ESU, which had 765 newspaper titles on file.
b) In the midst of cataloging at ESU, we paused one morning to present our Slide /Talk Show (fondly referred to by Dick Fitzsimmons as our “Dog- and- Pony Show”) to 20 attendees at the beautiful Library of the Northampton County Area Community College. Thanks to Dennis Phillips of the Penn State Allentown Campus, his decision to hold the presentation there ensured a good turnout. That was a much more centrally located area for the people who were invited. Many of our contacts attended the show, and we were as usual very well-received when we visited their institutions later on.
Northampton County (August 9 – 22, 1987)
“Home base” was an efficiency in Bath, PA, for this half of the tour. Bath was ideally situated in relation to all the sties we visited in Northampton County – Bethlehem, Easton, Bangor, Northampton, Nazareth and Bath.
As in Monroe Co., we were well-received in the major institutions and given much assistance. Lehigh University was particularly sensitive to our needs and eager to help. We met with the Head of Serials who asked several appropriate questions regarding how the changes we were making on OCLC would affect their archival tapes and the appearance and entry of their holdings (DHs and LDRs) on the OCLC database.
Easton Area Public Library, another major holder, was equally accommodating. We spent a rushed but very productive day inventorying 111 titles!
In Our Absence…
… Project Assistant Denise Conklin handled things so efficiently that we returned to discover no one knew we had been gone. Denise fielded all messages to us, answered mail and call-ins as necessary; sent out correspondence; checked OCLC for questionable titles; and kept the home fires burning.
One of the call-ins had heard an announcement about the Project on an Allentown Radio Station; another had seen our show on Public TV.
Interesting People We Met:
– A barber in Bangor who claimed to have the very first issue of the Daily News (Bangor) to come off the press in 1894!
At 3:30 p.m. we stopped by Dale’s Barber Shop in Bangor. Dale’s wife met us at the shop to show us the framed issue of the Bangor Daily News. This issue, dated volume 1, no. 1 August 6, 1894 was the only surviving issue ever found!
– A publisher who almost wouldn’t admit us because he is being sued by someone who slipped on a copy of his newspaper which was lying on the ground. His papers, stored in an attic, were accessed by stepladder…
– An energetic, 63- year-old grandmother who has been a seamstress (the best!), a hairdresser, a newspaper publisher, and is now working on her BA at Northampton Area Community College.
PARTIAL JOURNAL ENTRY Wednesday, August 19, 1987
5:35 – 6:15 p.m. Next stop – Hellertown. Denise had found the woman who published the Saucon Valley News. This woman, a grandmother, started this newspaper in 1982 to 1985 when she had to quit due to expenses.
She told us it cost $900/month to have the paper printed (she did all the work – from reporting, writing, selling ads and delivering).
She offered us freshly squeezed lemonade while she told us all about her paper. She hopes to someday publish it again.
– A retired car salesman who laminated hundreds of issues of newspapers to preserve them. He serenaded us on his organ as we worked.
– “Mr. Delaware Water Gap”, Francis “Casey” Drake, fascinating Curator and Founder of the Dutot Museum in Delaware Water Gap, Pa.
A Few Numbers…
Many of the sites visited on this tour were large academic institutions holding non-local newspaper titles which required only an LDR or OCLC-record update. Others had fewer but more interesting” titles, requiring original cataloging.
A rough count produced the following:
Institution Titles Cataloged or LDRed
East Stroudsburg University 765
Lehigh University 288
Lafayette College 176
Moravian Archives 129
Easton Area Public Library 111
Monroe Co. Historical Society 81
Northampton Co. Historical Society 58
Moravian College 24
Bethlehem Bulletin 26
Bethlehem Public Library 25
Other sites (combined) 130
A Title was counted each time it was seen (on film, paper or micro-card), since a separate LDR had to be created for each format.
On this trip:
- 26 days in the field
- 38 sites visited
- 1,680 miles logged
- 1,813 titles recorded/cataloged
[Lest this account seems far too idyllic to be true, here’s a “reality check” about site visits in general and “A Less-Than-Perfect-Week” in particular]
– We visited Juniata College Library in Huntingdon to assist them with assembling their titles to be sent for microfilming. They contributed $2,000.00 to the Project for newspaper filming.
– Finished cataloging the last of the 147 titles found in Lackawanna County. Completed and mailed out linking title histories to publishers and editors in
– Carbon County who requested same. So far, not one publisher whose paper had over two title changes has known the history of his paper!
– Becky has submitted a letter of resignation from Penn State to accept a position at Susquehanna University’s Roger M. Blough Library.
– Sue and Denise will do site visits in Susquehanna County, and Lehigh County will have to be reassigned to the Harrisburg or Philadelphia site.
– Sue will stay on the Project for 3 – 5 more months to complete the paperwork now stacked to the ceiling in our Office. A tentative work schedule has been drawn up, and a proposal is in the works to reflect the upcoming changes.
– Met with Dr. Barbara Smith to review the month’s activities.
– Input Monroe and Northampton County data on ZAC to produce statistics and “needs” and “finds” lists.
Updates From Last Month:
We mentioned in July’s Monthly Report that Ed Gildea, publisher of the Valley Gazette, had expressed an interest in writing an article about the Project. It was such an explicit article – we’ve provided the citation. At this point, we’re much more careful what we say to people… [Valley Gazette, Valley Views Section, August 1987, 182nd issue, pp. 3-7] .
We also mentioned that a private collector had 100 years of the Lehighton Evening Leader and wanted to sell it bit by bit. We were delighted to see him at our slide show in July expressing interest in our “needs” and “finds” lists. Perhaps he has reconsidered…
And something of the upmost importance – an article was sent to us from a Mr. Rockmaker, revealing some shocking scores… Please see attached correspondence.
September 1987 [This Monthly Report written by Sue]
The atmosphere in the Office at West 308 Pattee Library had a distinctly different air during the month of September for several reasons.
– No site visits occurred. We continued the follow-up work from our Extended Summer visits to Monroe and Northampton Counties.
– With only one more county to schedule, the race against time seemed to be temporarily won, and we could relax somewhat and tend to office work without the pressure of too many more counties to cover in the immediate future.
– Site visits for Susquehanna County were put in place, and after Northampton County, it appears to be fairly straightforward and even somewhat “laid back”.
– A certain sadness prevailed as Becky sorted through the files to remove her things, and spent time gathering final statistics on site visits to include in future reports.
– It was a time for reflection – on what we had set out to accomplish, our struggle to construct the best, most efficient plan to do the task, ways to improve it once it was in place, and to see now that most of it is behind us.
– Time was spent doing mock site visits with Denise Conklin in Labor Archives, to prepare her for her upcoming site visit to Susquehanna County.
– For Becky, the conclusion of an awesome Project, covering 29 counties in beautiful Central Pennsylvania, unveiling newspaper collections in a series of incredible places, and adding this information to a permanent data base.
– For me, a time to look ahead to the termination of the Project – tasks still to be accomplished between now and March of 1988.
Cataloging and Related Activities
– Work continued as usual in an attempt to pare down the mound of data collected this summer.
– Searched on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) for titles found at the Moravian Archives, and for other miscellaneous titles. Completed cataloging and put all in Pitt-ready condition.
– Sent the balance of Lackawanna County to Pittsburgh.
– Cataloged all of Carbon County Titles.
– Received on ILL (Interlibrary Loan) 39 years of the Druid (Welch) newspaper from the University of Scranton, which was out on loan when we visited them. It was cataloged and returned to them.
– Submitted a proposal to Dr. Barbara Smith requesting a Project Extension to March 1988 to complete all outstanding office work. This was forwarded to Mr. David Hoffman for approval.
– Submitted an outline to Dr. Smith detailing work activities for Denise and me through December 1987. (Becky’s last work day was September 18th).
– Scheduled site visits for Susquehanna County, our 30th and last. Dates for site visits are October 12 – 15. This visit includes a private collector in Throop, Pa. (Lackawanna County). He was a late call-in.
– Wrote 40+ thank- you letters and other correspondence items in response to various requests for information, holdings, “needs” and “finds”, etc.
– Spent some time assembling raw data on newspapers held by private collectors, still a significant portion in our area. It is still our hope to write an article on this (soon) to alert other states to this potentially valuable source of material.
– Returned to Juniata College (Huntingdon) to continue assembling newspapers to be microfilmed. The original list they had been given did not include everything that was to be filmed.
– Sent 11 slides with captions to Bob Harriman at the Library of Congress, for a slide show he is putting together on the Project.
– Had our regular meeting with Dr. Smith regarding Project progress.
– Examined LDRs (Local Data Records) from 10 – 12 counties to create our list of “titles recommended for microfilming” to send to Bill Hamill, Microfilming Coordinator. All counties now have such a list except Susquehanna County.
… of the month was an interview by an intern, Doreen Naughton, who is writing an article for the Research/Penn State Magazine, to appear in the spring or Summer 1988 issue. As usual, we got carried away. All the old enthusiasm returned and we talked on and on telling Doreen lots more than she probably wanted (or needed) to know.
* * * * * *
Lastly, a note of thanks and an affectionate adieu from Becky to all the friends and colleagues who shared in this unforgettable experience – at Pattee Library, at the University of Pittsburgh, at the State Library in Harrisburg, and at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She will miss you all. ede/
October 1987 [This Monthly Report written by Sue]
October was a short month since I was on vacation for two weeks. My return to work began with the site visit scheduled for October 12 – 15 in Susquehanna County – the last field trip planned for the Penn State University Site.
The “mock site visits” done in Labor Archives in September resulted in a smooth operation as Project Assistant Denise Conklin rose to each occasion throughout our eight scheduled visits.
She functioned very well in the tasks I normally performed and I assumed Becky’s role. The transition was easily workable since Becky and I had shared all aspects of the Project from the very beginning, and Denise quickly caught on to the routine.
The Site Visit
The field work that began in the little town of Aaronsburg, Pa. in February 1985 ended in Forest City in October 1987. 14,922 miles stretched in-between, with 462 sites visited. Who could have foreseen then the adventure that lay ahead?
Susquehanna County, with its orange and red leaves, crisp sunny autumn air, and friendly, hospitable people, was the way to end it. County #30! Almost half of the State’s 67 counties – done.
The Susquehanna County Historical Society presented its own challenge during our 11-hour visit and Denise and I scrambled to record their voluminous holdings.
To keep us alert and active, they had arranged the microfilm chronologically (instead of by title), had overlapping holdings, and several on one reel – three of the most difficult conditions to contend with.
We finished at 8 p.m. having recorded 84 titles on paper and 29 on film The other seven sites were fairly routine.
On the way back, we stopped at a Private Collector in Throop, Pa. who had called in after seeing our TV show; he reported having a vast newspaper collection in his basement. And he did. He had significant long runs of titles from Lackawanna County – we had seen only one or two issues when we visited that county in May. Many titles from Pottsville (Schuylkill County) were there too. Additionally, he had records, day books, blueprints, foreman’s journals and photographs (1920s and 30s) from the defunct Hudson Coal Mining Company. This bit of information was appropriately passed on to Dr. Peter Gottlieb [Head of Labor Archives at Penn State]. (Denise, now also working in Labor Archives, was thrilled with this discovery!)
Cataloging and Related Tasks
Workforms flowed through our office in West 308, Pattee Library, as I sent Carbon County titles off to Pittsburgh, cataloged Monroe and Lehigh County titles, and searched OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) for miscellaneous non-Susquehanna County titles picked up during our last site visit. Denise continued filling out LDRs (Local Data Records) from the abbreviated notes accumulated during our site visit to East Stroudsburg University in July.
– The Research/Penn State article written by intern Doreen Naughton was submitted in final form to Dr. Barbara Smith. Watch for this exciting piece in the March 1988 issue.
– The microfilming phase continues, with the crew following our path throughout Central Pa. Bill Hamill [Microfilming Coordinator] is coming to Penn State in early November to discuss titles to be filmed from the Northeastern counties.
Two important people are connected with Susquehanna County. The noted psychologist, B.F. Skinner, was born in the town of Susquehanna and his home was pointed out to us by local residents.
The other was Joseph Smith, founder and first president of the Mormon Church, who courted a local girl and spent much time in Susquehanna County.
A somewhat controversial story reports that before founding the Church he was allegedly a fortune hunter. It is reported that Church members are seeking out and expurgating 1820 – 1840 issues of newspapers bearing any negative reference to his activities. One local publisher noted columns which had been neatly razored out from his newspaper backfile for that time period. ede 11/87
November 1987 [This Monthly Report written by Sue]
Most of the month of November was spent in Photo-duplication, copying LDRs (Local Data Records) and workforms to send to Pittsburgh. Data collected over a long period of time suddenly comes together at a certain point and when that happens, many workforms attain completion. Statistics for November show 600+ LDRs and 100+ workforms – more than we sent out in all of 1985! For this reason, it is hard to estimate an accurate count on a monthly basis.
Cataloging & Related Tasks
Other work accomplished in this area:
– Searched holdings on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) for Moravian Archives, Moravian College, East Stroudsburg University, and Lafayette College. These institutions all had partial or no holdings on OCLC, which had to be verified, updated and corrected based on our findings Corrected records then had to be sent to each institution, along with a list of their holding, which they requested. Our service of sending holdings lists to institutions has turned out to be greatly needed and appreciated.
– Denise continued work on LDRs from East Stroudsburg University. Many of these were finally completed this month, copied and sent to Pittsburgh.
– Many other Northampton County titles were cataloged and sent to Pitt.
The Readex Newspaper Collection
– There exists on microfilm a collection of miscellaneous newspapers called “Harrisburg Newspapers”. Approximately 66 titles appear on 53 reels of film. Several libraries own this collection and it was examined and cataloged many times by Project Librarians across the State until Barbara Nichols Randall decided to compile an accurate title/date list of the collection with corresponding OCLC record numbers. This list consequently saved many hours of repetitive work.
– The Readex Newspaper Collection, a microprint collection of micro-opaque cards and more recently on microfilm, presents a similar situation, but one that will affect many states nationwide since this collection is made up of early U.S. titles published in many states. The recent decision of Readex to expand their area of coverage beyond 1820 makes this collection even more appealing and valuable to research and university libraries. We cataloged portions of this collection at two separate institutions (Penn State University and East Stroudsburg University). The third time we ran into it, at Lehigh University, we decided to use ESU’s records to create LDRs (Local Data Records) for Lehigh University.
– It became evident that a list of the Readex Collection of Early American Newspapers, with box title, exact newspaper title, dates and OCLC numbers would be extremely useful to all librarians working on the U.S. Newspaper Project, and to institutions holding the collection. Done once, this list could be used as a reference guide to the collection each time it is encountered in field work. Becky and I had talked several times about doing such a list, and had done some preliminary research on it. We consulted Dr. Smith and Jack Pontius, and had examined lists put out by Readex.
This month I created on our personal computer a file for inputting the Readex titles, and have input about 77 records. So far, the format appears feasible and will produce a workable list which will allow librarians to identify any title by box label, correct newspaper title, date, place of publication, or OCLC record number. Since several titles can appear in a box, and box titles are often generic and so not reflect title changes and linking titles, this list will allow quick identification of the contents of each box. This should save hours of “inventorying” for field librarians. It is possible the list will be completed in December.
A good start was made this month on this project.¹
– Continued to meet regularly with Dr. Barbara Smith
– Talked to Bill Hamill about the extension of HSP into the Harrisburg area, and the possibility of my continued participation on the Project.
– Received notice that the Penn State University Site’s contract has been extended to March 18, 1988.
– Pulled several newspapers from our office collection and from Labor Archives Storage – to be used in the Research/Penn State article being written by Doreen Naughton.
¹These lists were completed and later published, in 1990: Kellerman, L. S. and R. Wilson (1990). Index to the Readex Microfilm Collection of Early American Newspapers. New Canaan, CT: Readex Corp.
Kellerman, L. S. and R. Wilson (1990). Index to the Readex Microopaque Collection of Early American Newspapers. Harrisburg, Pa.: State Library of Pennsylvania.
December 1987 [This Monthly Report written by Sue]
Three years seems to have just whizzed by. Looking at the attached cumulated figures and statistics, I can see where the time went. But how did it go so quickly?!
At times the figures appear paltry; at other times I am amazed at the incredible amount of data that was sought out and collected. Once Becky and I tallied up the number of “bits of information” needed to document one issue of one newspaper title at any one institution; it was an average of about 85 bits of information. Multiply that total by the total number of issues, times the number of titles held, times the total number of sites visited and we’re probably close to seven digit figures here! Since no additional site visits are in the offing, the figures attached to this report are final statistics (except for cataloging).
December was a relatively short month, since I used several vacation days.
Cataloging and Related Tasks
Most of the time was spent cataloging accumulated workforms and xeroxing those workforms to send to Pittsburgh.
We finally finished documenting East Stroudsburg University’s holdings – 725 records!! – and sent those to Pittsburgh as well. Thanks to Denise for her assistance and perseverance in this time-consuming task.
– Prepared for [Microfilming Coordinator] Bill Hamill’s visit. Xeroxed the Master Card File of Names and Addresses of sites visited and in the Northeast counties; listed in order of priority titles most critical to be filmed; provided OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) record numbers for easy identification of titles.
– Met with Bill on December 10. Reviewed data with him for the Northeast, and examined listing of 79 titles Bill had microfilmed this year. We discussed the upcoming changeover from Micor to Matco (as the new microfilmer for the Project). As of December 1, 1987, 14 counties had had the “first Sweep” of titles selected and microfilmed.
– After Bill’s visit, I checked his list of filmed titles against our original list of “titles recommended for filming”. A new list emerged on which titles should be included in the second sweep. This list was sent to Bill, Dr. Barbara Smith, Becky and David Hoffman.
– Attended a telephone conference of the Technical Committee on December 17. Dr. Ruth Carter, David Hoffman, Bill Hamill, Nancy Halli, Dr. Barbara Smith and I were present. Items discussed: progress reports from each site, titles filmed in 1987, possibility of informing Senators and Representatives about our progress, disbursement of Project-owned equipment, and future titles to filmed from the Northeast counties.
– Karen Nadeski, Penn State Serials Cataloger, stopped by to look at the Penn State newspaper holdings records. She took some with her to examine more closely and to decide how best to incorporate the data into the LIAS database.
– Had regular meetings with Dr. Barbara Smith on Project progress.
See attached Penn State Site Project Statistics for 1985, 1986, and 1987. LINK to STATS PAGE!!!
Highlight of the Month
…Dr. Kopley, researcher and scholar of Edgar Allen Poe, and the missing nine issues… see the full story!