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2004-2005 Visiting Fellows

James E. Tierney, Professor Emeritus
University of Missouri - St. Louis

First, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Friends of the Library for awarding me my research grant, for it allowed this long-term project the opportunity to make substantial progress. The eighteenth-century periodicals that I indexed during the tenure of my grant are simply not available in the St. Louis area, and consequently the Firestone Library's resources made it possible to complete this portion of my project. I shall always be obliged to the Friends of the Library for the generous support of this project, and they shall always be acknowledged in whatever future publications result from this work.

Second, I am very grateful for the valuable and courteous assistance I received from the Library staff during my time at the Firestone. Whenever I or my research assistant had questions or needed help in discovering one or another volume, they were always anxious to address our needs and inevitably had the correct solutions or directions. This support maximized our time and research efforts. I'm particularly indebted to Margaret Rich, the coordinator of the Friends research grants program, who patiently fielded all of my questions before coming to the Library, secured a campus parking permit in a convenient lot, and made all the necessary arrangements for the demonstration of my project to library staff.

Except for a few warm days early on, the Dulles Reading Room itself was a very pleasant place to work. I particularly appreciated the selection of reference works lining its walls (which I used daily), and I profited most especially from access to the computer terminal in the rear of the room, which allowed me to find online resources important for my work.

Finally, it was a pleasure-actually inspiring-to work among such a group of bright scholars, each of whom was industriously pursuing some line of research leading to the discovery of new knowledge about the past. I regret only that my stay wasn't long enough for me to participate in more seminars offered by fellow scholars on their research. My own presentation proved very valuable, particularly in that it led to connections with Princeton University Press staff members and to some sage advice regarding the management of my project.

Research Accomplishments
Despite having had several grants at major research libraries for the same type of work on this project, my work in the Firestone Library was unique. In all former cases, I had the advantage of working with indexes already compiled by James Osborn and his staff in the 1930s. In effect, my former fellowships involved collating the data on the original Osborn index cards with the texts of the periodicals and supplementing the Osborn cards with periodical data to fill the fifteen fields that have been added to Osborn's records. Furthermore, I had always had the advantage of the research completed by Osborn's indexers in identifying persons, places, events, etc., alluded to in the periodicals. (While indexing itself is a time-consuming activity, research in secondary literature is almost equally so.)

However, my work in the Firestone involved indexing afresh, because Osborn has not indexed the periodicals that I worked on at Princeton. In effect, I was not collating and supplementing previously compiled data but rather creating entirely new indexes. Moreover, completing these new indexes required extensive original research in secondary resources to identify allusions to persons, places, events, etc. in the periodicals. In practical terms, it meant that the process went much more slowly, and I was not able to cover as many periodicals as I had in former one-month fellowships when using previously compiled Osborn cards. Much to my disappointment, for instance, I didn't have sufficient time to produce an index for one periodical I had proposed in my research grant application (The Crisis of 1775), despite working every hour that the Dulles Reading Room was open during my 32-day stay in Princeton.

Nonetheless the work I did accomplish contributed substantially to the enhancement of the database. During my stay, I indexed 927 pages of four periodicals, which produced 449 new records for the database. In addition, almost all of the research necessary to identify persons, places, events, etc., alluded to in the periodicals, was completed during my stay. In short, data for eighteen fields were gathered for each of the 449 new records. Since returning home to St. Louis, my data entry operator has entered all of these new records into the database. As a result of this experience, the processing of these records at the Firestone has given me a new perspective on the time required to create totally new indexes, a matter I shall take into account when applying for future grants and fellowships.
With much appreciation.


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