Repeating Henry’s Story–How Many Papers Do I Need?

On the surface it may seem advantageous to research an item that appears in more than one newspaper at the same time. It is and it isn’t. The drawback to national or regional coverage of an item is that much of that coverage is repetitive in nature, particuhenry-goldensteinpicturelarly if a story is picked up by a wire service and used by numerous newspapers. The vast majority of articles will contain the same details.  And we’ve discussed before, details are no more likely to be correct just because they are repeated multiple times.

And there is the question of how much time should be spent looking for these items when they are likely simply repeating each other? For some stories reading the same item over and over is not an efficient use of time and resources.

I’m not exactly certain how many newspapers mentioned the death of Henry Goldenstein in Kansas City, Missouri, on 7 July 1921. But I’ve eventually decided to focus on three newspapers–ones in the Kansas City area where Goldenstein died, ones in Golden, Illinois, where Goldenstein was from, and ones from Quincy, Illinois the county seat of the county where Goldenstein was from. Chances are that items in other papers were significantly copied from something appearing in one of those publications.

Of course there’s always the chance I miss something by not looking in all those other papers.  The reference in the Rockford, Illinois Morning Sun, as shown in this post was a summary of what appeared irockfordn the Quincy, Illinois, newspaper at about the same time. The chance that I miss something is small enough that I’m willing to risk it. After all, there is only so much time.

Note: the Rockford, Illinois item was obtained on


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