Nine Missing Issues
I pulled out our “Help – Please Find” folder from the files and began to look through the numerous sheets of paper we had gathered over the years requesting information on various newspaper issues. People from South Carolina to Colorado had heard about us and the Pennsylvania Newspaper Project, and had contacted our office in hopes of our locating missing (presumed lost) issues of newspapers detailing the exact bit of information they needed.
One person was looking for 1849 or 1850 issues of the Democratische Berichter from Centre County in hopes that it would reveal an ancestor’s store advertisement; another person needed the September 1922 issues of the Evening Times from Sayre which would hopefully list his grandfather’s obituary revealing the exact date of death; another was looking for the missing years, 1924-1926, of the Pottsville Journal, and on and on.
Also in the “Help – Please Find” folder were pages of notes dated March, 1985 we had taken while visiting Dr. Richard Kopley, English professor at Penn State University’s DuBois Campus. An Edgar Allen Poe scholar, Dr. Richard Kopley had used newspapers extensively in his study and research and was in need of our help to locate the nine missing issues of the Philadelphia Saturday News, And Literary Gazette, critical to his research.
Needing a change of pace from cataloging, I decided to search on OCLC for these “lost” issues listed in the folder. For the most part, the issues “presumed lost” were still lost – no holdings were found for any of the titles. Except one. I could hardly believe it, but there on the screen was the Philadelphia Saturday News, And Literary Gazette, with holdings listed for July 9, 1836 – December 19, 1838, at the Library of Congress!
The nine issues Dr. Kopley needed should be in that run!!!
I called Dr. Kopley to see if he still needed to know the location of these issues; he did, and was thrilled by the discovery! He had given up all hope of finding these nine issues. In fact, he had even written in his soon-to-be-delivered paper (and later to-be-published book) that all issues could be accounted for except nine. He said he would have been extremely embarrassed if someone would have later told him that the missing issues were at the Library of Congress.
Dr. Kopley excitedly took notes while I relayed the information to him. He could hardly believe it!! The timing was perfect. A call was already planned to the Library of Congress by the time I hung up the receiver.
As I sat in the office, overwhelmed with satisfaction, I thought once again about the importance and value of the U. S. National Newspaper Project, and how lucky I was to be a small part of the whole.
Postscript: In September 2012 Sue contacted Dr. Richard Kopley and discovered that locating the ‘nine missing issues’ impacted his scholarship resulting in several publications and lectures. Dr. Kopley’s email response to Sue’s email of September 11, 2012 is published below with his permission.
From: Richard Kopley
To: Sue Kellerman
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 12:10:18 PM
Subject: RE: Finding the 9 msg issues of the Philadelphia Saturday News, and Literary Gazette
Yes, your finding those missing issues of the Saturday News was a great contribution to my work, and the consequence has been evident in two publications and one talk (perhaps to be a third publication). My 1991 booklet, Edgar Allan Poe and The Philadelphia Saturday News (Baltimore: Enoch Pratt Free Library and Poe Society, 1991) is the first of these two. I later included a revised version of the essay in a book, Edgar Allan Poe and the Dupin Mysteries (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008; reprinted in paperback in 2011). This revised version is Chapter II, “’The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and The Philadelphia Saturday News,” 27-44. I have also mentioned your contribution in a lecture I’ve given abroad, which I hope to have published as “Adventures with Poe and Hawthorne” in The Edgar Allan Poe Review next year.
So, there you are. I hope this is helpful. I am unendingly grateful to you.
Good luck with your work!
From: Sue Kellerman
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:37 AM
To: Richard Kopley
Cc: Sue Office
Subject: Finding the 9 msg issues of the Philadelphia Saturday News, and Literary Gazette
Hope your fall semester got off smoothly and you’re doing well.
I’m currently on a 6 month sabbatical. I was awarded a sabbatical to document the PA Newspaper Project, 1985 – 1988 for NEH. I’m thrilled to finally have the time to focus on my work from 25+ years ago!
Richard, of all the many accomplishments of the PA Newspaper Project one of the most important was to advance scholarship. As I think about this achievement I think about you.
As you may remember in 1988 I was able to locate 9 missing issues of the Philadelphia Saturday News and Literary Gazette, July 1836 to December 1838 for you. I remember too how thrilled you were to finally have these papers within reach as you were soon to deliver a paper on Poe.
Richard, did you use the Philadelphia Saturday News and Literary Gazette as a cited reference source in your 2008 Edgar Allen Poe and the Dupin Mysteries or any of your other published works?
Ultimately I’d like to use this “discovery” of the 9 issues in my research.
For more information on The Philadelphia Saturday News, and Literary Gazette, see: Chronicling America (Accessed January 14, 2013)