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
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
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.
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
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
With much appreciation.