Titles With Appeal

Often referred to as “Significant Finds,” this list represents important titles found by the Penn State Project Team in counties canvassed during the first two years of the Project. These 22 titles collectively span 107 years of newspaper history from 1878 to 1984, thereby representing early papers from the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Seventy-eight years of the Juniata Globe were located, as well as entire runs of several other titles.  All of the titles listed are in the possession of private citizens.

Of greatest significance is the fact that if this project were not being done, none of these would have been identified. By the end of their 30-County assignment, the Team discovered that 59%, more than half, of all titles found were in hands of private citizens, including newspaper publishers. These 22 titles represent only 16 individuals, who had, collectively, over 650 years of newspaper history in their possession!


Intriguing stories on four titles found in the unlikeliest of places follow!


  • Cresson Record 1906-1917, 1920-1923, 1926-1943
  • Weekly Sun (Barnesboro) – 1983-1984  (Entire Run)
  • Weekly Item (Gallitzin) – 1906-1917
  • Gallitzin Item – 1917-1934
  • North Cambria News (Hastings) – 1902-1953  (Entire Run)
  • Observer (Johnstown) – 1942-1956  (Entire Run)
  • Johnstown Observer – 1956-1980  (Entire Run)
  • Messenger (Huntingdon) – 1846-1847  (Entire Run)
  • Belleville Times – 1909-1973
  • Juniata Globe (Thompsontown) – 1893-1970  (Entire Run)
  • Turkeyfoot News (Confluence) – 1905-1912  (Entire Run)
  • Rockwood Leader1906-1907  (Entire Run)
  • Somerset County Leader 1908-1921, 1929-1951
  • Berlin Record – 1894-1932
  • Plain Dealer (McClure) – 1905-1908
  • McClure Plain Dealer – 1908-1974
  • Watsontown Record – 1878-1883
  • Record and Star (Watsontown) – 1884-1926
  • Argus (Benton) – 1910-1968
  • Catawissa News Item – 1878-1919
  • Houtzdale Citizen – 1924-1934
  • Citizen Standard – 1934-1966


The Benton Argus Story:  

In early June 1985, an anonymous phone call came into the Penn State field cataloging office. In a rushed voice, the caller quickly disclosed that the backfile of the Benton Argus could be found at a home in Bloomsburg, Columbia County, not at a private residence, but at a funeral home.  The caller hung up.

Until the call arrived, the location of the backfile of the Argus was unknown.  Numerous phone calls to Columbia County’s institutions and local historians yielded little information on the whereabouts of the title.  Even the former publisher of the Argus had few details to share.  When he retired in 1969 he sold the paper and according to him the current location of the paper was a “complete mystery”.

Benton, situated in the northern region of Columbia County, was first settled in 1792 and by 1860 tanning and lumbering were its main commerce industries. The Argus, one of two titles published in the small borough, was the longest surviving title of the two papers.  The Argus, a weekly paper covering the daily happenings and cultural life of the region, began in 1892 and continued until October 30, 1969 when it ceased operation.  The Independent Weekly, the other Benton title, survived only 4 short years from April 1874 to September 1877.   

For the Penn State cataloging staff, it was essential to find the Argus.  The 78-year run represented the northern Columbia County’s rich newspaper publishing history and community members were adamant about wanting the paper returned to the Benton community.

Thanks to the phone call tip, the case was cracked and the Argus backfile was found! 


The North Cambria News Story:

The entire run of the North Cambria News from the town of Hastings was found in the attic of a Cambria County home in 1986.  The daughter of the former publisher had kept the bound volumes “in safe keeping” in the hopes that the backfile would someday be preserved on film and shared with the community.   On August 12, 1986 the day she had long hoped for had arrived.  The uninterrupted backfile covering May 1902 to May 1953, the longest run of a Hastings, PA paper ever found, was cataloged and later microfilmed.


The Renovo Evening News Story, for 1886:

A private collector in Carrolltown, Cambria County held in his collection a rare wallpaper edition of the Renovo Evening News, a Clinton County newspaper.  When the Susquehanna River overflowed its banks in April 1886 destroying much of the town, the newspaper publisher of Renovo had nothing else left but wallpaper to publish its April 14, 1886 issue. This issue was the only surviving copy found for the entire year of 1886.


Finding issues of the Der Centre Berichter:

When a local Centre County antique dealer called to say they had found a few Centre Berichter issues in a trunk they recently acquired, the discovery was more than initially expected.  First published in 1827 by Adam Gentzel, Der Centre Berichter was the county’s oldest German-language newspaper published in Aaronsburg.  Since the mid-1700s when white settlers made their way to the interior of Pennsylvania, Centre County has had a strong German element to its heritage.  Towns such as Rebersburg, Millheim, Springs Mills and Aaronsburg were largely populated by German families who had moved to the area from southeastern Pennsylvania.  Locating the county’s German-language newspaper was a “must find”.  At the antique dealer’s shop, days later after receiving the initial call, the Penn State  staff not only found Berichter issues as promised, but found six other single issues covering a large enough span of time to establish five title changes – and evidence that the paper had moved to the town of Millheim!  These issues once used as the lining in an old truck were the only extant copies found of the German Press from Centre County.



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