Luzerne County

This account includes excerpts from the Monthly Reports leading up to and following the three site visits made to Luzerne County and extensive entries from The Journal for March and April of 1987.  Also included are links to our itineraries, a slide presentation, photographs and images.  It illustrates all aspects of a typical site visit:  scheduling, planning, tracking down titles, locating contacts, executing the site visit, and follow-up work in the office.

Just to clarify, we refer to counties as “large” or “small” based, not on area or population, but on the number of newspaper titles known to have been published and identified in bibliographies and county histories.  In the course of its history, Luzerne had published 253 titles.

*We later discovered there were actually 327 titles published in Luzerne County.

 Excerpts from the February 1987 Monthly Report

As if we had learned nothing from Wyoming County [which we visited in the winter and encountered some difficulties], we decided to tackle Luzerne next.  Luzerne is our largest county ever – of all our 31 [later reduced to 30 counties]– and although with 253 known titles it is minor compared to the urban areas of Pitt, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg, remember, we do have to find and then get to all the places wherein these titles are scattered. 

Considerable time was spent analyzing the holdings data received, calling those places who had not responded and arranging the schedule in a geographically efficient manner.  On two separate tours*, we will visit 36 sites in 14 different towns.  Five days were required just to put the schedule in place. 

Other pre-site-visit activities included preparing Certificates (thanks, Denise); pulling up OCLC records for the surprising number of Luzerne County titles already on OCLC (thanks Susan Bryson for cataloging all of those); preparing the ZAC listing of known titles and links. 

Planning was also required for our Slide-Show Presentation.  Each booking raises the question of which set of slides to use, so we combined them and rewrote the script to now show in our original presentation some of the activities at the other sites.  This is the first time we’re combining the slide-show with a site-visit.

 *As it turned out, we ended up making three visits to Luzerne County!


Undated handwritten note from Becky to Sue – found while rummaging through boxes and boxes of Newspaper Project Files: 

Of all the impossible schedules I’ve ever handed you – this one is the most challenging of all!

Undated handwritten note from Becky to Sue – found while rummaging through boxes and boxes of Newspaper Project Files:

Of all the impossible schedules I’ve ever handed you – this one is the most challenging of all!

Are we up for it?
Wherever we are
No matter how many titles we find at any one place
No matter how little time I scheduled to accomplish it
It was the best I could do.
It was FIVE days of planning!!!
Luzerne County will live in your memory forever…


March 3 – 7, 1987


Mar. 3 Tues.

Bring script, slides, flashlight,Left at 7:35am – Arrived 10:10am; handouts

10:30 am- noon PSU Lehman Slide Show/Talk 9 people Call Mr. Kavulich b/t 9-1pm

12:00 – 12:55pm Lunched with Joan and Marcia at the Commons

1:00pm – 1:30pm Record Current holdings at PSU Lehman


1:30pm Dallas Post (actual 3:30 – 4:00pm)

 2:30pm College Misericordia – Library (2:15 – 3:15pm)

 3:30pm Back Mountain Memorial Library (4:15 – 4:45pm)

 5:30 – 6:00pm Luzerne County Community College


 Mar. 4 Wed

9am – 7pm Wyoming Historical & Geological Society (finished paper holdings at 5:00pm)

5:20 – 6:30pm King’s College

Mar. 5 Thurs

8am – 9am King’s College (finished this yesterday)

9am –noon Wyoming Historical & Geological Soc. (cataloged microfilm; quit at 12:40pm)

1 – 5:30pm Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre) (had sandwiches in lounge)

6 – 8pm Osterhout Free Library (Diane will try to be there; we finished at 8:45pm!)

Mar. 6 Fri

9am Bratstvo (arr’d early but not open until 9; went for breakfast)

10am Wilkes-College – Farley Library (Plan 2-3 hours; we finished at noon)


1:30 – 7:30pm Standard-Speaker (Warnings: come early, wear jeans, issues wrapped, in loft, m’film reader in bad shape — You should have been here!)

Mar. 7 Sat

10am Wyoming Historical & Geol. Soc. (Back to Wilkes-Barre to finish; done at 2:20pm)

2:20pm Left and drove home; Arrv’d Boalsburg 5:45pm; Arrv’d Huntingdon 7pm; 5 days – 389 miles

[Note: Italicized text represents notes written in after schedule was in place].



 1st Site Visit to Luzerne County (March 3 -7, 1987)

Tuesday, March 3, 1987

7:30 am Beck arrived at my house.  Packed trunk and back seat full of goodies, coats, boots, briefcase, bags, etc. 

7:35 am ON the road to Lehman, Luzerne County – first trip to the largest County we will do.  On the way up we discussed our slide show – prepared introduction, decided who will talk first and how we were going to take turns reading the narrative to the slide show.

There was about 3” of snow in Centre County but as we traveled EAST it (the snow) got less and less (Thank God!)

10:10 am Arrived at the PSU – Wilkes-Barre Campus.  We unloaded the car – slide tray, notes, Rossell, etc.  Met w/Joan Diana, Librarian.  There were a few people gathered as we began to set up our slide tray, check the projector, lay out our notes and calm down. 

B Pic Mar 3 1987 slide show

March 3rd Slide Show at Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus, 1987.

Joan had beautifully prepared and organized the whole show – sending invitations out to 75+ people.  There was even coffee and pastries to be had. 

10:45 am We began our show.  (Even though only 9 people showed, it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm).  The other 66 invited didn’t realize what they were going to miss.

Joan thought the turn-out was low due to the skiff of snow, or because that Penn State isn’t highly thought of by surrounding institutions.  Anyway, the show went on.

Beck and I shortened the talk and added to one another’s remarks throughout the slide show.

(Executive Director Dr. Ryan had opening remarks to the spare audience and then Joan introduced us). 

11:30 am After the show we opened the floor up to questions. Many had helpful suggestions for tracking down ethnic papers. 

Photographer from PSU – Wilkes-Barre took pictures (group picture).

Of the nine people in attendance – 3 were from newspapers: 1) Citizens’ Voice 2) Dallas Post [and] 3) Times-Leader; the others were from Osterhout Free Library, Plymouth Public Library, 2 from Wilkes College and Joan and assistant.

12 noon We packed up everything and went to lunch w/Joan and assistant, Marcia. 

Beck and I had a chance to talk w/some of the guests.  The lady from Dallas Post even took pictures. 

12:45 After lunch at the Commons, Joan, Beck and I walked to her Library and inventoried their holdings.  They only had CURRENT newspapers which didn’t take too long to check and fill out LDRs.

1:50 Changed clothes (into jeans) and hopped in the car for our next visit.  Because we weren’t sure where we were going and Joan being as nice as she is – led us to Dallas and pointed us in the right direction.

Thanks Joan!!

 2:15 pm Arrived at College Misericordia.  Met w/Sister Gallagher and Mrs. Williams.  We quickly LDRed their current holdings and soon left by 3:15pm. 

3:30pm Found the Dallas Post office.  They only had the one title (didn’t have the entire back-file – lost in a flood).  In one half hour we were finished. 

C Pic Mar 3 1987 Dallas Post

The Dallas Post – Office Building, Dallas, Luzerne County, March 3, 1987.

D Pic Mar 3 1987 Back Mt Lib

Back Mountain Memorial Library, Dallas, Luzerne County, March 3, 1987.


4:15– 4:45 pm –  Inventoried the current holdings of the Back Mountain Memorial Library. 

5:30 – 6:00  Drive to Nanticoke to the Luzerne Co. Community College.  Since there were only a few people on this late shift no one knew about our coming or was really capable to answer our ILL policy questions.  Anyway – we did the best we could.  By 6:00 pm we were both tired!  Still had to drive to Wilkes-Barre and find our motel.

E Pic Mar 3 1987 Luzerne Com Col

Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke, March 3, 1987.

7:00 pm Arrived at the Station in Wilkes-Barre and ate dinner on the dining car and called it a day.  Long day. 

Wednesday, March 4, 1987

F Pic Mar 4 1987 Wyoming HGS Mar 4 1987

Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, Wilkes-Barre, March 4, 1987.

Up by 7:30 am – breakfasted at the Sheraton at Public Square and drove around the ONE way streets till we found the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society.  

9:00 am   Met w/Margaret Craft and her staff who had prepared holdings lists for the paper copy they had on the second floor. 

9:15 am Beck and I began our work inventorying the paper copy.  Somehow Beck had remembered that there was no heat, so we both dressed in sweaters, boots, etc.  As it turned out – there was plenty of heat.

Beck must have been confused with another upcoming or past site visit, because there was heat rushing out of the radiator and filling the small room we were working in.  We soon took off our boots and socks as the temperature rose. 

Anyway – back to cataloging.  Margaret had prepared an accurate listing, so both Beck and I used this list when looking at the various volumes and filling out LDRs accordingly. 

1:00 pm We stopped for lunch – went to Lowe’s.  (Carol, assistant at the Hist. Soc. recommended various places for us to try while in W-B, including Lowe’s).

2:00 pm Back to work.  I had wanted to try to get all the paper copy done before lunch – but Beck was fading fast and I gave in.  We had a good lunch.  We still had many volumes left – we always leave the best for last – volumes w/many titles; “Scattering papers” volumes

G Pic Mar 4 1987 Scattered issues WHGC

Scattered Issues found at the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, Wilkes-Barre, March 4, 1987
Montrose Gazette 1818-1829; The Messenger 1820, and others.

As 5:00 pm approached we were getting closer and closer to the end of the paper copy.  Margaret and the others had to catch a bus at 5 pm so there was no way they were going to let us stay and start the FM [microfilm].

5 pm Finished the paper copy and left the [Wyoming and Geological] Hist. Soc.  We had cataloged 103 today.  We were tired but there was too much day left in the day to quit.  So – off to another site we went.

5:20 pm  Found a place to park and entered the Library at King’s College.  Again only a small crew was around making it difficult to get the necessary answers to our ILL questions.  

Luckily, the Director came in while we were finishing up and answered the ILL policy questions.  We quickly LDRed their OR [paper] and FM [microfilm] holdings.  By 6:30 pm we were finished and starving.

H Pic Mar 4 1987 Nesbitt found at WHGS

The Nesbitt, found at Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, Wilkes-Barre March 4, 1987.

Went to a Chinese restaurant Kim Chi’s for good fast-food food. Then back to the room.  We wanted to collapse but we had too much work to do to get ready for tomorrow’s hectic schedule.  So we worked until 10:30 pm getting LDRs, etc. in order.



Thursday, March 5, 1987

Up and breakfasted at Boscov’s by 8:30 am.

9:00 am Back at the Wyoming Hist. and Geological  Society.  This time we worked on their FM holdings.  We both worked independently on their film holdings and made a fairly good dent in their holdings.  We had to leave the Hist Society by NOON to get to our next appt., Times-Leader.

I Pic Mar 5 1987 TimesLeader

Times-Leader Publishing Co. Building – Wilkes-Barre, March 5, 1987.

Beck went and got thick sandwiches at Boscov’s and [we] headed to the Times-Leader Office.

1:00 pm – Arrived at Times-Leader Office.  They had almost the same identical film we had seen at Wyo Hist and Geo Soc.  I was frustrated that we couldn’t have stayed at Wy H & G S. to finish so that we could just LDR when we saw these same titles.  Anyway, Beck tried to calm me down and even worked out a plan w/Carol (Librarian) for us to stay later than 5 pm.  It was all arranged for us to stay if need be.

Anyway – we went thru their FM holdings and just listed titles they had that were similar to Wy H. & G. S. – we would fill out LDRs later.

The Librarian was a talker.  She complained a lot too about not having enough time to do her work.  We could see why.

J Pic Mar 5 1987 Osterhout

Osterhout Free Library, Wilkes-Barre; March 5, 1987.


Beck and I worked steadily and cataloged those titles we hadn’t seen at Wy H. & G. S.  By 5:00 pm we finished.  We still hadn’t eaten our lunches from noon – so we went to the lounge and had lunch.



We decided to sit in the lounge and eat and then go to our next appt.

6:00 pm Arrived at Osterhout Free Library.  Met w/Librarian and assistant, who had been at the slide show.

Osterhout had many current papers even things on FM.  I took care of the ORs they had upstairs while Beck dealt w/the FM holdings. 

By the time Beck finished w/FM holdings we still had to go downstairs to the backfile of the paper copy. 

Time was getting short (they closed at 9:00 pm).  We worked fast and cataloged the necessary titles we hadn’t seen before.  Anyway, by 8:45 pm we were finished! 

K Pic Mar 5 1987 Osterhout loose papers

Osterhout Free Library, Wilkes-Barre; Loose issues
March 5, 1987.











L Pic Mar 5 1987 Osterhout film

Osterhout Free Library, Wilkes-Barre; Microfilm holdings, March 5, 1987.

We were nearly dead as we walked to our car.  Back at the Station.  Neither one of us was hungry – so we just had tea and coffee. 

Beck and I both worked on clearing up LDRs, etc., etc., until 11:00 pm.

Friday, March 6, 1987

Up bright and early – out on the road by 7:30 am.  We were both too tired last night to look at [the] schedule but figured we had to be somewhere early this morning. 

As it turned out we got to the Bratstvo Office by 7:45 am – they didn’t open till 9:00 am.

GREAT!   We were both mad – knowing we could have slept in 1 hr. longer.

Anyway – we found an Elby’s and had a long breakfast.

9:15 am Still waiting at the Bratstvo Office.  Finally Mr. Kavulich arrived.  He told us a little about the Slovak Catholic Union and we told him about our project.  He then showed us his backfile of the Bratstvo. 

He had lost the early years in a flood – so it didn’t take us too long to go thru the volumes he had.  

Luckily the three linking titles were already on OCLC – so all we did was just LDR.  We finished by 10:00 am. 

 Titles found at Bratstvo included: 

  • Bratstvo (1898);
  • Bratstvo (1944);
  • Pennsylanska Slovensk’a Jednota
M Pic Mar 6 1987 Bratstvo

Bratstvo Newspapers, Wilkes-Barre, March 6, 1987

10:20 am.  Arrived at Wilkes College. 

N Pic Mar 6 1987 Wilkes Col

Wilkes College Farley Library, Wilkes-Barre, March 6, 1987.


Met w/ Sue Topfer who had been at our slide show.  Sue showed us where the current holdings were kept and showed us the banks of microfilm. 

Sue had searched all her titles on OCLC and sent very accurate and complete forms to us very early on.  We were able to search all titles and have the OCLC records right there while we looked at their film. 

This was fantastic!  What would have normally taken 4+ hours we did in 2 hrs. 

We finished by NOON.  Wilkes College probably had 50+ titles in all.                                                           

Thanks Sue for all the great help!

 Next stop – Hazleton.

1:30 pm  After a short Wendy’s lunch we drove south to Hazleton and arrived at the Standard-Speaker Office. 

O Pic Mar 6 1987 Standard Spker

Standard-Speaker Building, Hazleton, March 6, 1987.

We were told they had film and paper in a loft, “Wear jeans”, he said






Anyway – we started inventorying the film – it was all mixed up in the drawers plus there were so many merging titles, plus the labels had fallen off several boxes making it difficult to inventory.

P Pic Mar 6 1987 Std Spker early issue

Cataloging an early title – The Plain Speaker – in the main Office of the Standard-Speaker, March 6, 1987.











Met two workers (photographers?) who asked us what we were doing and [we] shared our hand-held viewer with them.  

With the film completed – we climbed the ladder to the loft area. 

Q Pic Mar 6 1987 Std Spker loft

Climbing into the loft at the Standard-Speaker Office, March 6, 1987.

There, there piled 3 high in spots were wrapped bundles of newspaper volumes. 

Many of these wrapped bundles were unmarked except for dates.  

We would need to un-wrap these bundles to see what titles they were.

R Pic Mar 6 1987 Std Spker loft wrapped vols

Standard-Speaker loft!! TONS! And all wrapped! March 6, 1987.











[Beck now writing in the Journal…]       


            We were already worn out from the 1st 4 days of the week – looking at what lay ahead added to our fatigue. 

In any event, we tackled it. 

Found many titles – both title changes in their own paper, plus a few nice surprises (e.g., Independent Democrat).

The place was filthy – no where to work. 

 We sat on the floor and did the work. 

 We took turns moving the stacks of papers so we could rest in between.

S Pic Mar 6 1987 Std Spker Beck in vols

Standard-Speaker Office, Hazleton. Beck in loft with wrapped issues, March 6, 1987.

T Pic Mar 6 1987 Std Spker Sue loft

Standard-Speaker Office, Sue in LOFT! March 6, 1987.

6 hours later – all bundles moved, checked and returned to their original positions – we were done. 

Dusted ourselves off and headed out the door.

At each site that we visited, we recorded a list of all titles found there. These are all on lined yellow sheets.

Y Pic Yellow Sheet Standard Speaker Office p1-1

See what 6 hours in a loft does to us…  

Drove back to W-B – 45 mins. away – filthy, hungry, exhausted, ready to die of thirst.

Stopped at Kim Chi’s – got Chinese food and went back to our train car to eat.  It was about 9:15 pm. 

 We were wiped!

Z Pic StandardSpker  p1ZA Pic StandardSpker p2

Master Card File for Standard-Speaker Office

Saturday, March 7, 1987


With no appointments until 10 am when the Society opened, we had a leisurely morning and enjoyed a cup of tea and coffee in the room.

Checked out, breakfasted at Boscov’s, ran into all the WHGS [Wyoming Historical and Geological Society] staff having breakfast there too.

Got goodies and bread at the bakery.  Wandered over to the Society and began work at 10:15 am.

Zipped through what was still left – done by NOON.   Ready to leave.

Told Margaret Craft we didn’t’ see the Pittston Gazette.  Well, it was in the very bottom of cabinet along with several other titles – I had overlooked these.  We kept working until 2:20 pm.  Back to Boscov’s for a gourmet sandwich at the Deli – ate in sun-filled car.  Headed home.  Sue home 6 pm.  Me at 7 pm.

389 miles.  Long trip.  Really tested our staying power.  Sue good person to work with.  Who else would work every nite and not complain?!  Luzerne – half done!    [Or so we thought…]


[Back in the Office, Beck still writing in the Journal…]

Monday March 9, 1987

Nearly dislocated our arm joints carrying all our junk back to the Office.  Unpacked, checked mail, messages; tried to get organized with things we brought back [from Luzerne Co. visit] plus other work accumulated in our absence.

Wanted to take it easy – both still worn out from the 6-day week plus 9 – 10 hrs of overtime –

While in Luzerne Co., wondered about visiting Micro-producers in our area – should we inventory?  Decided to ask Barbara [Smith] about it.  Met w/her to discuss it and tell her about our trip.  11 am we went over – told her about Wilkes-Barre, slide show, Joan Diana, Dr. Ryan, publicity, goodies – thoughts about upcoming slide show – should it be at Lackawanna Hist Soc for a better attendance.  Dr. Smith said to do micro-producers as if any other institution.  Great!  One more thing to do!

Called Faye about this.  So far they are not doing anything about micro-producers and want[s] us to tell them what kind of reaction we get. 

Sue cleared up some non-Luzerne Co. titles – did monthly report (copied, assembled and mailed it out to Barbara Smith).

I called Micrographics in Hazleton to “feel them out”.  They have no negatives of newspapers but Mary Allen Scaliese said she could foresee no problem of our visit if they did have.

Talked to Dick Fitzsimmons about Scranton trip, and slide show.  Told him I’d send our file of contacts.

We went to microforms [in PSU’s Pattee Library] to look for lists of micro-producers in our area. 

Got a letter from Jack Hetrick with a letter from London – someone wants a Pittston Gazette from 1858.

Wanted to leave early but one thing and another and we didn’t.

[Sue now writing in Journal…]

Beck also did reimbursements – Great!  I need the $$$

Tuesday, March 10, 1987

Back to work – Beck worked on photocopying her cards to send to Fitzsimmons so he can invite these people to our slide show.

Received a photocopy of a letter Barbara got from Jeff Field [NEH, Preservation Office].  Jeff said “You and your team of catalogers continue to set national models for fieldwork”.


Nancy Greene called – someone called her looking for the Johnstown Observer.  Beck told her everything we had found out.  I talked to Faye about CURRENT LDR problems from UPC [Penn State Univ.] sites, etc., etc.

Beck made several calls to Kings, Wilkes College, to get additional ILL policy info and to double check some of their holdings.

I worked on putting the NON-Luzerne Co. current stuff together.  There were several (two) sites that wanted to know of changes we made of their records (LDRs) on OCLC.

Well – after a while I finally figured out how I was going to organize all this mess – plus send Faye the correct LDR w/a message attached to change existing LDR.

Beck rec’d phone call from Peter Curtis from University of Maryland.  Seems he is writing a proposal for the State of Maryland for the Newspaper Project.  We answered the questions he asked and hopefully helped him decide on staffing, etc.  Maryland has 1300 newspapers.  We told him that could easily be done on one year.

           Left at 2:30 pm. 

Wednesday, March 11, 1987

Arrived at work by 8:15 am.  Tired – both of us – but just too many things to do.   Where to start?

I continued to work on organizing how to take care of LDRs from institutions which already input its holdings.  It’s so complicated – so many things to consider.

It’s just that it is a new procedure to fit in w/everything else that we do that makes it a real challenge.

Beck was patient and helped me through it all.  She helped me by writing a form letter to be sent to institutions wanting to know of changes we make to their OCLC holdings records.  Thanks Beck!

Beck worked on writing letters.  Wrote a long lengthy letter to the person in London requesting a newspaper belonging to the Northumberland Co. Historical Society.  She also then wrote to Jack Hetrick to tell him what she had done.

Beck made phone calls – called Richard Tyce (Hazleton – PSU) to check about slide show.  Tyce wanted to change the date/time.

Beck was a little put out by Tyce’s action but rearranged the schedule.  She then made calls to re-book different times for various sites since the slide show time was changed.

Beck also called MDM (Microfilm Data Management (W-B) – they kept zero newspaper film there.  GREAT!                       

Barbara called to say that she talked to David Hoffman about micro-producers – and that L. C. [Library of Congress] would take care of them.  Barbara also mentioned that she asked D.H. about some of the questions we raised in our Feb. Monthly Report.  (About re-doing our work once titles were microfilmed, i.e., Ross Library).  Barbara said that the State Library wants of know of all the changes, so they must be equipped to handle this at their end.


Barbara also mentioned that maybe, just maybe will do something the night of our TV appearance – so keep that date open.

Beck and I looked over our upcoming schedule to see if we could really stick to it.  Denise searched the titles from the Wiant Museum – most were on [OCLC].

Hopefully having the 113 titles we have for Luzerne Co. will be a broad enough base and thus we will not be picking up many on the next trip – just LDRs.

Beck made reservations at the Station in Wilkes-Barre for two nights next week and also at the Best Western in Hazleton for the remainder of the week.

Thursday, March 12, 1987

Beck and I continued our work from yesterday.  I worked on going thru and getting in “Pitt-Ready” form all NON-LUZERNE CO. things.  I found most of these titles on OCLC – so all I needed to do was to fill out LDRs.

Beck wrote letters – thank you letters to the people of Luzerne Co.

Early morning – Mr. & Mrs. Folk, State College Genealogical Society members, came by to ask us about early Northumberland and Northampton newspapers.  We were able to track down possible titles at Kauffman Library.

Beck photocopied State Library’s microfilm listing for them – for Northumberland and Northampton.  They seemed to appreciate the help.

Beck and I had lunch w/ Peter Gottlieb – (went to Maple Room).  Peter and I then went over the Major Repository File I created on ZAC.  Peter wants to take this one step further and add actual holdings and locations.

Also searched OCLC for titles we will see next week.

Barbara called.  She had talked to D.H. about micro-producers.  He said that (after talking to Bob Harriman) the L.C. [Library of Congress] will do the big firms but we should do Pa. micro-producers if they have only Pa newspapers. 

If they have out-of-state newspapers we are to let Bob Harriman know.

Friday, March 13, 1987

Another day in the office – time to get caught up before another trip.  

I worked on getting Wilkes College LDRs in Pitt-Ready form. 

Almost all LDRs had to be updated as to what was already on OCLC.

(I think I finally worked out a routine as to how to check and update LDRs on OCLC vs what we actually see out in the field).

Faye called several times today – once about holding[s] already in OCLC vs dates we picked up while at Juniata College, Susquehanna University, etc., etc.  

We told Faye just to send them all back to us to start from scratch and then we would send them to her.  – Also about the Blair Press. 

Beck worked on tracking down a newspaper called the Miner (W-B).  

Well after 4 calls to the brother of the publisher and the brother’s landlord back and forth, back and forth, Beck set a time for all 4 of us to meet at the brother’s apt. to go in and see the paper.

Good job Beck!

Beck then began to think and tentatively set up Pike and Wayne Co. for early April.  Beck made a call (or two) to those of the Pike Co. Hist. Soc.  ETC., ETC.

We pulled everything we could think of and more.

*See you on the Road 

*Second trip to Luzerne Co. – Mon – Friday – 3/16 – 3/20.



March 16 – 20, 1987


Mar. 16  Mon.  

Left at 7:50am              Arrived 10:35am                                                                                   

10:45am     SVIT        (10:35 – 10:55am)    (Call Mr. Mertz to confirm Tues)

 11:00 – 11:30am         Citizen’s Voice         (Checked in to The Station)

 12:30 – 1:00pm         Garsas (Lithuanian paper)     (actual 12:30-2:30pm)

 Sweet Valley (40 mins. from Wilkes-Barre)

3 – 3:30pm   Surburban News    (actual 3:45 – 6:30pm)      (Ok if we’re late. They work late on Mon.)

                        Call Mr. Peck in pm; remind him; get address)


 7pm   The Miner or Hoyt Library    (open til 9pm)      (Sherman Apts, 7:20 – 9:30pm)


Mar. 17  Tues.

9am    Sunday Dispatch       (actual 9:15 – 10:20am)     (Note: wear jeans; in a loft)


11am     Hoyt Library    (actual 10:50 – 11:10am)   (Harry Mertz did not show at 11am;     Went here instead – then to Plymouth Library)                                                                 

11:35-12:35                 Plymouth Public Library      

 West Pittston

2pm     West Pittston Library   (have Exeter Echo!)     (Ask for directions to Exeter)


3:30pm   Mr. Richard Peck       (actual 4:00-6:30pm)      (has Pittston Gazette back to 1859!)

 (Beck forgot purse in W. Pittston; Sue went back to get it- thanks Sue!)


 Mar. 18  Wed. 

9am              Sunday Independent             (actual 9:00 – 10:45am)

10:30am     Plymouth Public Library       (did this yesterday so went by Garsas Office in W-B)

11am       Garsas Office.     (To see Florence’s Wyoming Valley Observer – V. 1 No. 1)                     


Noon?   Back Mountain Public Library    (saw variant title for Dallas Post)

 Sweet Valley

 Ask for Clearbrook Lodge and/or Rachets Glen); (Doris says we can work straight through; bring sandwich for supper; will be here ‘til 8 or 9pm)

1:00pm      Wiant Museum   (actual 1 – 4pm)   (Sue: how did we get there by 1pm)

Mountain Top

5:20 – 6pm                  Mountaintop Eagle Office

6:15 – 6:40pm    Mr. Yurkanin   (unscheduled visit arranged from M. Eagle Office)

6:45-8:30pm      Kirby Library   (Also met Steve McGinnes who came to Library)            (Left for Hazleton)


 Mar. 19 Thurs.

9:00am      Miner’s Village     (actual 9 – 10:00am)


11:00am     Hazleton Area Public Library  (actual 10:20-1:15pm)  (lunched; prepared for slide show)

3:45 – 5:30pm       Penn State Hazleton Campus   (presented slide show; 5 people; recorded LDRs)        

5:30 – 6:30pm      Best Western  (Emptied briefcases in room; completed LDRS)


Mar. 20  Fri.

8:00am     MMI Preparatory School

9:15 or 9:30am     Mr. Thomas Zubach    (call him if running late; actual 9:25-10:30am) (10 miles to White Haven)

 White Haven

10:30 or 11:00am       Journal-Herald       (10:45-12:30; 1:15-3:45)  (12 miles to Mountain Top)

 4:15pm            The Paper            (Finished at 4:35pm)

 Mountain Top

2 or 2:30pm         Mrs. Jane Yurkanin      (All Mountain Top visits were done on Wed.; headed home 4:35pm)

 Later     Eagle Office     (Arrived Boalsburg 7:45pm; traveled 528 miles!!)

Still later                     Kirby Library

[Note: Italicized text represents notes written in after schedule was in place; notes w/directions attached to original document].



2st Site Visit to Luzerne County (March 16 – 20, 1987)

Monday, March 16, 1987

Ready or not – it’s back on the road again to Luzerne Co. hopefully to finish up.

7:50 am Left Boalsburg in Beck’s car and headed on Rt. 80 East to Wilkes- Barre. 

Arrived at the SVIT Office at 10:35 am and quickly cataloged the couple of issues the publisher had.  Seems he had recently sent everything else to the Balch Institute in Philadelphia.  Left by 10:55 am.

Next stop Citizens’ Voice.  Arrived at 11:00 am.  Met w/Librarian who showed us the paper copy and the microfilm of the recently started paper.  We checked the film and found it to be silver negative done by MDM of W-B.  We had found out that MDM doesn’t keep master negatives – so was this the master negative we were looking at?  We told the Librarian about our find – she was regretful that we brought this to her attention.  She hoped they weren’t using the only copy.  We then left by 11:30 am.

We had a half hour before our next appt. – so decided to check into our room at the Station – which we did.  (It was a good thing we did as we were very late getting back that night).

12:30 – 2:30  Cataloged the Garsas and other Lithuanian newspapers we found there.  Mrs. Eckert was distant at first but soon warmed up – she even told us that she has the backfile of the Wyoming Valley Observer, which she worked on before coming to the Garsas.

GREAT!  We made an appt to come see Mrs. Eckert again later in the week to catalog her earliest Observer which she was going to find for us and bring to the Garsas Office.

We then left the Garsas and headed north to Sweet Valley to the Suburban News.  Stopped near Dallas for a quick bite of food at Wendy’s.

3:45 pm Arrived at the Suburban News.  Beck has had one deal-of-a-time getting any info out of these people.  Anyway – the   XXX__ brothers were just as cautious as ever.  There was a moment, even while we were there, that they weren’t going to show us everything, but boy, they wanted to have their paper filmed.  Beck told them that we couldn’t recommend it to be filmed w/o seeing it.

It was amazing but somehow they showed us everything including the early, early County Impression backfile.

 They were jerks, what more can I say.  

Beck and I worked sorting out their backfile – they have the Suburban News and two editions – Sentinel (Berwick) and Mountaintop Star.  Talking to other publishers, the __XXX___ are not too highly regarded.

By 6:30 pm we finished at Sweet Valley and beat it back to Wilkes-Barre to try to find Sherman apartments. 

We tore to W-B and w/great directions and guidance by Beck we found the apartment building.

7:20 met w/landlord Darlene and all three of us went to the apartment of the publisher of the Miner.  The publisher had fallen several months ago and hit his head and has been in a coma ever since.   The landlord was now responsible for his property and the disposal of the items. 

Darlene being the kind, decent person she is – allowed us to go into the apartment and look for the Miner,

             Well we found it! 

ZD Pic Mar 16 1987 Miner

We found it! Becky and Darlene sorting and organizing the scattered issues of The Miner. They found holdings from 1941 to 1983. March 16, 1987.

Published by Burton Ellison Howards, according to a 1961 issue, The Miner was “a constructively progressive rank and file paper, serving in the interest of industrial peace and prosperity–devoted to community progress,” Jan. 20, 1961. The title also published a Pittsburgh edition called the Pittsburgh Miner.

Source: Chronicling America (accessed January 5, 2013.


In the hall closets we found the backfile for some years.  Darlene helped us sort it and I quickly cataloged it while Beck filled out the LDR.  Darlene signed the release [form] as its owner and said she would put it in storage.

[Sherman Apartments:  Went through room 1307 the property of Mr. Burton E. Howards.  Titles found included the Miner and the Star Beacon – both from Wilkes-Barre, and the Carbondale Miner].

                       We finished by 9:20 pm.

What a day – we were nearly dead!

We headed back to our room at the Station (3 mins. away).  Thank God!

For dinner – Beck and I had to eat cold subs at a nearby restaurant since everything else was closed.


Tuesday, March 17, 1987

Up early and on the road

9:15 am arrived at the Sunday Dispatch Office in Pittston. 

It was St. Pat’s day and everyone at the Sunday Dispatch was wearing GREEN – everyone except us.

Anyway – the publisher showed us the backfile in a loft.  Beck and I climbed up the ladder and inventoried the file.  None of the file was bound – all loose but neatly organized in wooden koopy-holes.  The inventory went quickly and we soon left. 

Left at 10:20 am.

We then drove to Hoyt Library in Kingston.  We were to go to see Mr. Harry Mertz but he went on vacation instead – so, in order to keep the pace – Beck filled in our time with two other sites – one being the Hoyt Library in Kingston.

10:50 am Arrived at Hoyt Library, Kingston.  They have a beautiful new library – no papers there except for CURRENT holdings. 

Anyway – we listed what they had and left by 11:10 am.

Next stop Plymouth Public Library.  Arrived by 11:35 am.  They had FM [microfilm] and OR [paper] holdings.  The film was the same as what we had seen at the Wyoming Hist and Geological Society – so it didn’t take long

Beck worked on OR LDRs (mostly current).  We finished by 12:35 pm.  Beck and I then went to lunch at some Chinese place – great interior, food was ok.


After lunch we then drove to West Pittston.  We had asked the Librarian at Plymouth Public [Library] about the haunted house in West Pittston on Chase St.  She told us that the people living there hadn’t expected the publicity they had gotten – and that now they were writing a book on their experiences. 

Beck and I found Chase St. and drove past the house.  Nothing seemed odd or out-of-place, just a normal looking house.  On the doors, however, a sticker was placed which read “Pray the Rosary”.  

For more on the Jack and Janet Smurl haunting and subsequent published book and movie, entitled, “The Haunted” and see this link.  


2:25 – 3:35  Beck and I cataloged the Echo and Exeter Echo we found at the West Pittston Library.  The Librarian there even called the ex-publisher’s family to find more information – they (the family) couldn’t tell us any more than we already knew.

Next stop Mr. Peck, Harding, Pa. (near Pittston).  As we got to Mr. Peck’s house – Beck looked around for her purse – nowhere could it be found.  Beck said she must have forgotten it at West Pittston Public Library. 

While Beck went in to meet w/the Pecks – I drove back to West Pittston Pub Lib and then drove back (15 – 20 mins out of the day).   [Margin note: Thanks, Sue!]

As I returned to the Pecks once again – I found Mrs. Peck and Beck sitting in the dining room – why hadn’t Beck started the inventory, I wondered.

As it turned out – Beck and Mrs. Peck were downstairs looking at the backfile when Mrs. Peck saw a MOUSE.  The two then ran upstairs! ________

As I got into the house, Beck asked what I thought of mice. I just stomped my foot indicating I’d step on it if I saw it I said, let’s get to work!

So, Beck and I went downstairs.  The Pecks must not spend too much time down there – as there was filth, dust and dirt and cobwebs everywhere.

I went and found a broom and starting cleaning away some dirt – Beck had no intentions of going back among the volumes to work – so I put on her boots and began to pull volumes off the shelves.

One entire length of the room was volume after volume of the Pittston Gazette.  The Peck’s Family published the paper and they had the entire file back to 1882.

Beck and I worked fast and quickly inventoried, cataloged, sorted and re-stacked the volumes.  We found along w/the Pittston Gazette, two Scranton papers –  Tribune–Republican and the Scranton Truth.

By 6:30 pm we were finished.  We were both filthy dirty – and dead tired. 

           We hadn’t even seen the mouse!

We then drove back to W-B – exhausted! 

Wednesday, March 18, 1987

Up not quite so early – but breakfasted and headed to the Sunday Independent, right across the street from The Station.

9:00 – 10:45  We inventoried the backfile of the Sunday Independent.  We weren’t sure whether we were going to see the file or not – Beck had talked to a bitch who wasn’t even going to let us see everything.  But once Beck and I got there – the office manager showed us the film.  He was standing right over me while I looked at the film – he didn’t even know that the early issues were called the Independent.

All the while Beck was talking to the publisher, who couldn’t have been nicer.  He even was going to let us see the paper copy tucked away.

By 10:45 am we were finished.  We had got to see the entire file!


Next, stopped at the Garsas Office to see if Florence brought in the Wyoming Valley Observer [as promised].  We arrived at 11:00 – and just stayed a minute.  Florence had copied the Vol. 1 No. 1 Wyoming Observer for us!

Well we still need to track down the title change info.  Florence also gave us the name and address of the former publisher. 

After the Garsas à we headed for Sweet Valley area to find the Wiant Museum. 

On the way we stopped at the Back Mountain Library in Dallas to search for the variant title in the Dallas Post.  We found it – recorded the info and made our way again to Wiant Museum.

Wiant Museum was somewhere beyond Sweet Valley.  Beck had a map – but as it turned out we needed more than a map to get us there.  We asked several people along the way until we finally found it. 

At 1:00 pm we arrived.  Met w/Doris Harvey who owned the private museum that her mother and father started.  Doris had sent us a listing of what she had – which we searched on OCLC and brought the records w/us.  With this good head start – we were able to go through the collection much faster than we had thought.

Doris’s parents had saved many titles which we hadn’t seen anywhere else.  Seems her parents had gone to the dump after the 1936, 1972 floods and gathered up what the Corp of Engineers told people to throw away. 

By 4:00 pm we finished.  We LDRed/cataloged some 41 titles, some nice Luzerne Co. titles. 

With finishing so early – Beck decided that we better go to Mountaintop and do our work there.  Even though Mountaintop was scheduled for Friday – there was going to be NO time to do it.  The Journal-Herald Office was going to take most of the day.

While at Wiant – Beck made calls to Mountaintop sites to see if we could come now – they all said “YES” – so off to Mountaintop we went.

We left Doris – she was so nice – she even asked us to stay for dinner.

We jumped in the car and off to Mountaintop we went. 

[Along the way I made a wrong turn – would have gotten here sooner if I’d found the right road]

5:20 – 6:00  We talked with Stephanie Gruber, publisher of the Mountaintop Eagle.  She had been such a great resource person – while we were there she was still giving us people to call. 

6:15 – 6:40  Met with Mr. Yurkanin who published the Mountain View which connected (linked) w/the Mountaintop Eagle.  Mr. Yurkanin had the entire backfile.

6:45 – 8:30  Inventoried the holdings of the Kirby Library.  What a beautiful Library.  The Library had an entire volunteer staff

Anyway – Kirby had Mountaintop Eagles, Mountaintop Star, one volume of the Wilkes-Barre Record and two titles which we had zero information on: Western Poconos Press-Tribune and its linking title the Press-Tribune.  There was no place of publication – we guessed Mountaintop.  Even when we asked several “locals” they didn’t even remember it.  It was published in the 1970s.

Steve McGuiness, a name Stephanie gave us, came to the Library w/the linking issue between the Mountaintop View and the Mountaintop Eagle.

(Beck had called Steve and he gladly came by the Library to show us his newspapers).

By the time we left the Kirby Library in Mountaintop (8:30 pm) we were dead tired.

We still had to drive south to Hazleton and check in to the Best Western.  Checked in at 9:00 pm and ran to the restaurant for dinner.

Needless to say we died when we hit the bed.

This day might have topped our best and busiest day ever.

 WE visited 7 sites in 4 towns!

Beck and I were both glad to fit Mountaintop in today – seeing how Friday’s schedule was packed w/sites.

Thursday, March 19, 1987

Up by 8:00 am – had breakfast and on the road by 8:30 am.  This morning headed to Eckley Miner’s Village.  Finding Eckley was easy – was all nicely marked.

We arrived at 9:00 am.  The Curator who had met us had the volumes of the Press (Freeland), Semi-weekly Progress (Freeland) and the Valley Vigilant (St. Johns) all laying out for us.

We quickly went through the volumes – cataloged when necessary and recorded the remaining holdings.  By 10:00 am we had finished and were heading to our next appt. at the Hazleton Public Library. 

10:20 – 1:15 pm Inventoried the newspaper holdings of the Hazleton Public Library.  They had newspapers in three areas – current holdings, FM [Microfilm], and newspapers in special collections. 

Beck and I both worked on the film holdings.  I cataloged while Beck recorded LDR info.  I usually have a good jump on the work by the time Beck comes back from getting things signed and policies worked out.

After the film – we pulled (Beck did the digging) titles from their special collections area.

Beck found tons of titles.  The Director said we could look around – and Beck did just that.

I cataloged and LDRed while Beck moved more and more out.  Beck found titles that they didn’t even know they had and many titles we hadn’t seen before.


They also had the paper copy to their FM.  All in all, we found some nice things.  We even told Jane, Ref. Lib., what they had.

1:15 pm we were finished.  Headed to the Knotty Pine for lunch.  We even took time to shop after lunch (bought more film [for the camera]). 

We then headed back to our room to change and get ready for our slide show.

3:40 pm Arrived at PSU – Hazleton Campus.  Met w/Rich Tyce and set up our equipment and readied ourselves. 

3:30 pm [sic] We began our show.  FOUR people showed up for the talk.           

Anyway, we enjoyed it – several questions were asked after the show.  We even found out that there was a Hazleton Historical Society that had newspapers. 

            (We may plan a second trip to Hazleton later). 

We ended our talk at 5:00 pm and then went and cataloged the current holdings. 

5:15 pm Finished for the day.  Went back to room to work and then 6:30 pm had leisurely dinner.  NICE!

Friday, March 20, 1987

Checked out of the Best Western – ate breakfast and headed to MMI Prep School in Freeland. 

Arrived at 8:00 am and quickly inventoried the Freeland Tribune and the Semi-weekly Progress.  Seems the School acquired these titles from someone and kept them.  Good for you!  

The President of the School came and talked to us and gave us names of people to call.

*When are we going to track these people down?!

Anyway by 9:00 we finished and drove to our next Appt. – Mr. Thomas Zubach.

Arrived at Zubach’s home at 9:25 – what a waste. Tom wasn’t even there – his mother told him they (the PSU ladies) would be here today – Tom didn’t believe her – so, when we arrived he was out somewhere.

Beck and I had a nice chat with Tom’s parent and soon, after his mother called the coffee shop where Tom usually hangs out, he came home.

Tom published many things – had his hand in many unsuccessful things – he did however have the backfile of his two papers – 1) Freeland’s Suburban Penny Saver and 2) Mountain Traveler.

We did as much inventorying and cataloging as we could – the basement where the papers were was a sight.  Tom “talked at the mouth” constantly – it was hard for him to keep focused long enough to answer our questions.

What a mess – we were both so frustrated.  Anyway, Beck LDRed as much as she could and then we decided we had enough, so we left.  Left by 10:30 am.

We then headed to White Haven to the Journal-Herald Office.  Beck knew that this place was going to be the most difficult and challenging of them all!

This is why we wanted to clear Mountaintop sites from the Friday schedule.

10:45  Arrived at the Journal-Herald Office.  Talked to the publisher Jay Holder – he showed us the files in the basement. 

Everywhere we looked we saw piles of newspapers – thrown here and there.  Seems that the basement flooded in 1972 and the newspapers stored on the floor got wet and were just tossed on whatever was higher.

Beck and I looked at each other – where to begin?  Mr. Holder said he had the entire file of the Weatherly Herald and the White Haven Journal plus other White Haven things. 

Sure enough – after 4 hrs. of working in the basement we had found everything.  Beck did all the heavy work lifting volume after volume while I recorded holdings and cataloged when necessary. 

By 3:35 pm we had (Beck had) moved the last volume back into its slot and we packed our workforms and left.

Mr. Holder had come downstairs several times to check our progress and to tell us that the weather was changing and was now (3:30 pm) snowing. 

(People in the NE always think twice when it rains or snows). 

Anyway, we left the Journal-Herald Office.  One more stop to go.  We went to the Office of The Paper in White Haven – no one was there.  So we decided it was time for coffee and a quick call home before leaving.  (We were going to forget The Paper and just start home). 

As we were leaving, Beck saw someone go into The Paper Office.  Beck and I parked the car and went in the Office.  Sure enough it was Mr. Handlong.  He gave us the backfile (all 3 issues) and Beck asked all her questions and then we left.

4:35 pm  headed home.                                               

Stopped in Lamar for supper.  Arrived in Boalsburg at 7:45 pm.

 528 miles!

We were both pooped!!!


Sunday, March 22, 1987 

Beck and I only had one day to rest – today.  Slide Show time at the Huntingdon County Historical Society.

Nancy Shedd had asked us to give our “dog and pony” show to the members as part of their Centennial Celebration this year of 1987.

I drove over to Beck’s by NOON and went over the slide show intro w/Beck.  Yesterday I changed 5 slides to make the show somewhat local.

Beck and I arrived at the Gallery beside the [Huntingdon County] Historical Society.  Nancy Shedd and Joanne Dolnikowski had brought over early newspapers of Huntingdon County and others for display.

            2:15 pm we began our talk – 15 people were in attendance. 


The talk went well – we gave back The Standing Stone and The Standing Stone Banner – back to the people of Huntingdon.  We had gotten photocopies from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin!


After the show many people asked questions. 

            Two people even brought 3 papers we hadn’t seen before. 


Our show lasted a little over an hour but we didn’t leave until 3:30 pm. 

Had a good time!

Monday, March 23, 1987 

Back to the office – tons of mail to open, which we did.  Among our mail was our annual evaluation from Dr. Smith.  Well, we both got great reviews PLUS, Dr. Smith nominated us for the University Library Award!

            We could hardly believe it!

            We were in shock! 

After reading this it was hard to concentrate on our work – we both already have swelled heads and today’s news didn’t help.

Anyway – back to work.  Beck took care of some of the mail; I put up stars.

Bill called – he is having a difficult time contacting Jim Streeter, Mr. Kriner, etc., etc.  Oh well – keep at it Bill. 

2:30 – 3:15  Had Teleconference at Dr. Smith’s office with the 4 librarians at the PSU Campuses in the Northeast.  We all talked about what and how they (the 4 sites) should “lobby” for funding for $$$ to do microfilming in the NE in 1987-1989. 

Beck and I then talked to Barbara about our recent trip. 

Back to the office – spent rest of the day doing Luzerne Co. statistics.  Beck also did the reimbursements – so the day went.

Tuesday, March 24, 1987 

Back to the office – Beck and picked up where we left off yesterday. 

Beck needed the “Needs” and “Finds” to send letters out – so I got on ZAC and started inputting Luzerne County titles and holdings. 

Beck made calls to find more Wyoming Valley Observer.  She called Florence Eckert in Wilkes-Barre and even the former publishers – now in Stroudsburg. 

We also took time to photocopy tons of stuff and sent stuff back to Dr. Smith. 

Librarian in Everett sent us two articles that appeared in Bedford County newspapers – including one from the Bedford Gazette. 

Sam Miller from the Huntingdon Co. Historical Society talk on Sunday called about titles we found in Newton Hamilton. 

Spent the entire day on ZAC – all in all we found 159 titles out of 320 = 50% 

We probably have some more digging to do in Wilkes-Barre.


10:30 am   Dick Fitzsimmons from Scranton Campus came to talk about upcoming slide show in April.  He gave us several names of people to contact – Dick will try to get as many as possible to our “dog and pony” show.  

Wednesday, March 25, 1987 

Beck and I went to Pattee – got the key from Jim Petro to Stow-away and went to find the one copy of the Pittston Gazette and Luzerne Anthracite Journal for someone in England.   

Well we got to the storage area and looked at all those volumes, boxes, etc.  Where in the hell to begin? 

After about the 7th box we found it!  I was about ready to give up.  Back to the office to get it copied. 

Denise thought that we could get the newspaper copied at [Penn State] Engineering Copy Center – so she walked it down – cost $10.00. 

Tomorrow will send it to London…   [Note: Remember, “scanning” not yet available]

Rest of the day I worked on Luzerne Co. “Needs” and “Finds”. 

Beck began and nearly completed arranging our trip to Pike and Wayne County for early April.

Good Work Beck!


 Nancy Greene called early in the day – we had a good talk about everything.  Late afternoon took the newspaper back to Stow-away. 

Thursday, March 26, 1987 

Beck got on the phone and was on all day calling and setting up site visits in Wayne and Pike County.  We will go the second week of April. 

Oh, we got the Pittston Gazette in the mail to London (England).  Sent the roll w/the newspaper copy separate from the letter.  Hope he appreciates all the work we (Denise too) did in getting it to him. 

 I worked on the NON-Luzerne County titles picked up.  Cataloged and LDRed most of the stack.  

Also organized Luzerne Co. titles (159 titles) into smaller manageable stacks, i.e. Pittston titles together, White Haven, Plymouth, Times-Leader links, Standard-Speaker links together. 

This way it won’t seem overwhelming when we catalog.

I did get a chance to search a few of these small packets on OCLC – so we can take some home to work on tomorrow (vacation – make-up day). 

By 3:00 or so Beck finished setting up Pike and Wayne and started making calls to Luzerne Co.  Thru her calls she found the Freeland Progress in N.J. 

Beck called the N.J. Newspaper Project and told them – the person Beck talked to said they had no way to deal w/private collectors. 

Jerks!  What an answer!  We can deal w/it – so Beck called the people in N.J. and cataloged the newspaper over the phone. Obviously, N.J. is doing the project superficially!!! 

Friday, March 27, 1987 

Beck and I decided to take the day off for a much-needed rest. 

Monday, March 30, 1987 

Back to the office – 

Beck got back on the phone and made calls to Pike and Luzerne Counties.

Beck made the final contact to Pike County and confirmed the visit for next week.  She then made at least one thousand calls to Luzerne County – trying to track down more Luzerne Co. titles.

Beck called the Hazleton Hist and Museum and found they had papers.  We will need to go back.  Found papers also at a print shop in Hazleton – we will need to go see what he has.

Called Tyce to see if they really did have the Anthracite Tri-District News – GOOD GOD – Pattee has it on microfilm and even has the master negative.

NO!  Well, we checked in LIAS and Labor Archives Storage and sure enough they had it!!!!

Tomorrow will go to microforms to catalog the 30 years we missed.   [Margin note:  “keeps us humble…”] All day I cataloged Luzerne County titles and completed LDRs.  Finished 20 by the end of the day.


Morning hour Beck and I went thru mail.  Tech Committee Bulletin from D[avid] H[offman] told how READEX wanted to film some early PA titles and retain ownership and duplication of the titles.  Well, Beck and I argued round and round about this, Beck thought it was a good idea – a way to get more titles filmed at someone else’s expense.  I thought it was wrong – why let READEX retain duplicating rights so we could buy back our (Pa) titles at whatever price READEX sets.  Anyway, we called a truce – stalemate.

Tuesday, March 31, 1987

Last day of the month!

I began where I left off yesterday, cataloging and LDRing Luzerne Co. titles.

But first, Beck and I ran down to microforms to catalog the Anthracite Tri-District News, Hazleton and to look up the NY Herald article for Mr. Shore, Huntingdon.  Beck cataloged while I looked thru NY Herald.  I didn’t find what I was looking for but Mildred did find titles that we may have missed – GREAT!

Just what we wanted to find at this point.  Seems that these newly acquired (1980) titles didn’t make it on any of the lists we checked.  Anyway – I recorded the 5 which I believed we missed. 

Back upstairs – Beck wrote a few thank-you letters and I cataloged.  Denise was searching OCLC. 

Once Denise finished I searched OCLC – Pike, Wayne County titles, and Luzerne Co. stuff and at least a thousand other titles.

After lunch more of the same.  Beck did make a call to Mr. Kline in N.J., holder of the Freeland, Luzerne Co. papers. 

2:30 – 3:15  Surprise Birthday Party for Denise in Rare Book Room. 

Billy called, a jerk guy from Hazleton and after much talk and promises not to let on who told her, Billy gave Beck the name of the person he sold his paper to.  Vigilant (Hazleton).  GOOD JOB!!!!


From the March 1987 Monthly Report 

  1. Luzerne County

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 Catalog) 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 one 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. 

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. 

  1. Cataloging

– 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.  A copy of the form is below [Appendix A]. 

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

C. Extras 

1. 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

2. We’ve sent Dick Fitzsimmons a copy of our Lackawanna County contacts, and in conjunction with Dorothy Allen of the Lackawanna County Historical Society, he is arranging a Slide /Talk Presentation to precede our site visit there next month. 

3. 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 regarding site visits.


4. 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].

5. Dr. Barbara Smith arranged a telephone conference with northeast campus librarian 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.

6. 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.
7. 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.
8. It was bound to happen sooner or later…  We met up with our first varmint 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.D.  Still MoreRight 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. Examples: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 Gruber 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. 

As 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.



[Form for recording a repository’s holdings/changes on OCLC]

LIBRARY: ____________________________________________________________

OCLC participant? ___________       Symbol: ___________________

Are you currently inputting holdings for newspapers (serials) into OCLC?

Yes: _____________              No: ____________

If so, may we update your LDRs if necessary?                    Yes: ______    No: _____

Do you need the changes sent to you, to update your files?           Yes: ______    No: ______

Do you have an automated system (online catalog)?                      Yes: ______    No: ______

Rationale (why do we do this)

–          Creating a Union List

–          Print-out needs to be accurate

–          Cannot enter holdings unless OK to update your LDRs

OCLC Searched: _____________           Date: _______________

Changes reported to Institution.               Date: _______________



April 15 – 16, 1987


April 15  Wed.

10:30 or 11:00am       Hazleton Historical Society   (actual 10:30 – 2:00pm  – toured museum too!)                                                         

2:00 or 2:30pm     Citizens Publishing Company    (Mr. Jnov – had nothing!)

 3:30pm                     Globe Print Shop          (Neil Bottley; 2:45 – 3:10pm)   (call Joan for dinner) 


5:30pm                          Met Joan [Diana] for dinner

6:35 – 8:30pm                Mrs. Carolyn Mertz            (Opened vault door; packed up the Pittston Gazette to take back to PSU Campus.  Drove back to Hazleton).    (No Certificate)


April 16  Thurs

9:30am         International Printing, Mr. Frank Ciampi    (finished at 10am) 

10:30 – 2:45pm        Hazleton PSU Campus     (Cathy Stone to call campus library; ring buzzer;  (Closes 10pm) (Unload Pittston Gazette, Sunday Dispatch, Booster (Pittston)  (Had lunch 12:30 -1:45); (Denise: Please do a certificate for Curt Reed  4/9/87)

[Note: Italicized text represents notes written in after schedule was in place; notes w/directions attached to original document]



3rd Site Visit to Luzerne County (April 15 – 16, 1987) 

Wednesday, April 15, 1987

7:45  Left Boalsburg – went to fleet service to pick up cargo van 

8:00 am  On the road to Hazleton.  The van was so noisy!!

10:00 am  Arrived at the Hazleton Historical Society.  Harold and Les were waiting for us.  We all talked awhile and then began inventorying their holdings.  They had 4 – 5 new titles we hadn’t seen before and the backfile of the Hazleton Sunday Times, a short-lived paper. 

 Ate a hot dog with Les and Harold and even took a tour of their 2-floor museum.  They had gathered tons of items and were nicely displayed. 

2:00 pm  We left and walked up the street to the Citizens Publishing Company.  They had only two papers which really didn’t fit our definition of a [news] paper – so we didn’t include them. 

We then jumped in the van and headed to visit Globe Printing.  Neil Bottley, owner.  Neil only had a few (2) papers – one Phila paper and one N.Y. paper.  By 3:10 we left and headed for Genetti’s Best Western. 

We got a room – took five minutes and then changed clothes and got ready for our trip to Pittston. 

Beck called Joan Diana at Wilkes-Barre Campus and decided where we were going to meet.  Beck and I then jumped in the van and headed to Pittston – some 45 mins away. 

5:30 pm  Met Joan in Pittston and went to the NOOK for dinner. 

(6:35 – 8:30 pm)  Went to the vault belonging to the Mertz’s who owned the building the Pittston Gazette was once published in.

It took 3 men and a boy to open the vault door.  Finally the door opened!! 

What a rat’s nest!!  Papers thrown everywhere!  Where to begin?

Well, I jumped in the vault and started handing bound and loose newspapers to people.  I guess 3 – 4 really helped, so they could walk them to the van for Becky to load.

The vault was located in this poor girl’s kitchen – so we had to walk thru her apt. to get to the van parked outside the door. 

Needless to say – it was a mess, dirty, dusty, shreds of newspapers were everywhere. 

 By 8:30 pm we finished and headed back to Hazleton.  Beck and I weren’t sure why Joan wanted to be there – she had put on gloves like she was going to work – but not one newspaper touched her gloves!!  I guess she just wanted to be there for all the excitement. 

Beck said she (Joan) was so cute – she stopped the people carrying the volumes out to look at the dates and the headlines.

Joan is from Pittston (born and raised) so she had a lot of interest in seeing the Pittston Gazette.           

Anyway – Beck and I then drove back to Hazleton w/the van packed w/newspapers.  Probably a ton of newspapers filled the van.

We were both so tired and dirty – we both could taste newspaper dust in our throats. 

We finally got to Hazleton and called it a night.

Will unload at the Hazleton Campus tomorrow.


We guessed that there were not any early Pittston Gazette, pre-1900, but there were 1950 – 1965, which we had not seen before. 

Will inventory the collection tomorrow when we unload the van.

Thursday, April 16, 1987 

Up somewhat early – we were both tired!  Had breakfast and checked out. 

First stop of the day was at International Printing.  This was the shop which printed the Anthracite Tri-District News. 

Well, we arrived at 9:30 am.  We quickly inventoried the file which was identical to the film at PSU minus 1966.  We were done by 10:00 am. 

We then drove to the Hazleton Campus where the Pittston Gazette was going to be unloaded. 

Luckily, maintenance men came and unloaded the van while Beck and I inventoried the collection. 

Went to lunch w/Rich Tyce at Franklin’s.  Came back and went to work again.  Found Jubilee Editions and other anniversary editions (many copies of each) which we thought should be kept at Pittston Public Library, etc.  We have copies to give to Joan to give to wherever. 

[For an intriguing coincidence connected with the Jubilee Edition of the Pittston-Gazette, see Professor Jones].

2:45 pm  We finished and left for home. 

            Home to Boalsburg by 5:20 pm. 

311 Miles 

Friday, April 17, 1987 

Beck and I both wiped – so we decided to take a vacation day today.


Excerpt from the April 1987 Monthly Report

A. The Site Visits 

1.  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.


Excerpt from the May 1987 Monthly Report

“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-LEADERthe 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 [Luzerne] 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). 

Luzerne County Statistics – 55% FOUND! 

  • 327 total titles were published in Luzerne County based on our research done in county histories and bibliographies published at the time. 
  • Of the 327 titles known to exist, 120 titles were found (located and cataloged) 
  • Of the 179 titles found, a whopping 120 were NEW titles that were not identified in any known sources. 

See Chronicling America for current list of Luzerne County titles – Select Pennsylvania and Luzerne County.

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.






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