Ex post facto reference : Where can I find the Dayton Journal?

I love looking at the list of “search engine terms” in the stats section of this blog. It is a list of the phrases that people typed into search engines that led them to some section or other of this blog. You can view this information in various time increments, including today, yesterday, this week, etc. For instance, the “all time” most popular term to lead people here has apparently been “post mortem photography.” Geez, do I really talk about photographing dead people that much? Oops. Sorry! More likely, that is simply a topic I have written about that has been of interest to the broadest number of people.

But, getting back to my title. Sometimes, I look at the “search engine terms” list and wish I had a way to contact the person because it sounds like they have an interesting research topic. Or, they have searched for a topic on which I know I could have helped them find some great primary source materials — maybe something in the archives where I work! Hopefully, that’s what led them to my blog, and hopefully, I said enough in whatever static page they viewed, that they found those resources eventually anyway. But it still makes me wonder.

I’ve often thought about writing posts in response to search terms I read on my list, especially when the “term” was phrased as a complete sentence, as a sort of ex post facto reference transaction. (If they looked for it once, maybe they’ll do so again. Or maybe someone else will, at least. And this will ensure that next time, that person finds at least one answer, if they didn’t before.)

So today, I’m finally going to actually write one of those ex post facto reference responses.

One of yesterday’s search terms was : “Where can I find the Dayton Journal?”

First a tidbit of history : The Dayton Weekly Journal was published in Dayton, Ohio, from 1826-1904. (There were also some earlier editions of various “Journal” newspapers in Dayton as well.) A daily edition of the Dayton Journal newspaper was published from 1847 until 1949. In 1949, the Journal merged with the Herald and was published as the Journal Herald until 1986, when the paper combined with the Dayton Daily News (which is now the only “main” newspaper in Dayton, Ohio).

Daily Dayton Journal, 14 Apr 1861

An original paper issue of the Daily Dayton Journal, 14 Apr 1861, announcing the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

The Journal was the Republican newspaper for much of its lifetime, whereas the Dayton Empire, Dayton Daily Democrat, and Dayton Daily News leaned towards the Democrats. This info about political affiliation might be pertinent, depending on the nature of the research to be conducted in the newspaper. For instance, the Journal might have been more likely to report the activities of a Republican political candidate—unless, of course, those activities were scandalous, in which case they might get more press in the Democratic paper! (If you are researching politics, it would probably be best to check both, no matter what. In any event, the politics of newspapers is something that should be kept in mind.)

Now, back to the original question : Where can you find the Dayton Journal?

The most complete run of the Dayton Journal available anywhere can be found a the Dayton Metro Library (where I work). We have a complete run of microfilm from 1862-1949, as well as many scattered earlier issues on microfilm.

Microfilm of the Dayton Journal at the Dayton Metro Library

Microfilm of the Dayton Journal at the Dayton Metro Library

We also have original paper copies for much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (However, for preservation reasons, use of the originals is discouraged, and researchers are asked to use the microfilm instead.)

Bound volumes of the Dayton Journal at the Dayton Metro Library

Bound volumes of the Dayton Journal at the Dayton Metro Library

According to Guide to Ohio Newspapers, 1793-1973 (edited by Stephen Gutgesell, 1974), the Ohio Historical Society has quite a few issues of the Journal as well, and a few other places appear to have a smattering of issues. You can also check newspaper holdings online — and this works for newspapers across the country, not just the Dayton Journal — at the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America U.S. Newspaper Directory. For instance, here are the results of a search for “Dayton Journal”. Note that the database lists each individual masthead — every variation of the newspaper’s title — as a separate entry, which, while perhaps being the correct way to catalog it, does complicate the results page a little.)

Now, hopefully, that has rather thoroughly answered the question of “Where can I find the Dayton Journal?”

I could probably stop right here, but since as an archivist, I have a bit of a passion for manuscripts — and for telling people about them — I have to do you one better.

I’ve already told you that the Dayton Metro Library has an extensive collection of issues of the actual Dayton Journal newspaper — as well as the other newspapers I mentioned, the Empire, Democrat, and Daily News (and a whole host of others I didn’t mention).

But if you’re interested in the men behind the newspapers, you might also be interested to know that we have manuscript collections for both William D. Bickham (MS-017) (editor of the Republican Journal for 30 years in the late 19th century) as well as his counterpart at the Democrat, John G. Doren (MS-011, unprocessed), of the same era. For some reason, I find it a bit hilarious that Bickham’s and Doren’s papers are stored within a few feet of one another, when the two no doubt spent years engaged in politically-charged media sparring.

[Dayton Metro Library doesn’t have any of Daily News editor James M. Cox’s papers, so if you’re interested in him, you’ll want to check out MS-2 at the Wright State U. Special Collections & Archives.]

All in all, I suppose that was a really long way of saying, “You can find copies of the Dayton Journal at the Dayton Metro Library, OHS, and a few other places.” But if I haven’t made at least a handful of statements that start off “you might also be interested in…,” then I’ve only done my reference job halfway.

One response to “Ex post facto reference : Where can I find the Dayton Journal?

  1. Pingback: MVAR Recap 8/16/2012 | Glancing Backwards

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