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Bullet of Mystery – Part 2

May 20, 2011 |  1:41 am

July 11, 1901, Lionel Comport lionel_comport_nd_crop

In case you just tuned in, I’m posting a small case study of research I did with Caroline Comport on her grandfather Lionel Comport for her master’s thesis. Researching Los Angeles is a treasure hunt, and every time I dig into the resources I find something new.

Bullet of Mystery – Part 1
If you’re a fan of detective stories, you may remember that Sherlock Holmes routinely read all the newspaper coverage as part of his investigations (and no, we won’t be putting on disguises or bringing in the Baker Street Irregulars). But the papers are a good place start.

As you may recall, Caroline and I were conducting our research from a booth at Foxy’s in Glendale, where we were examining online resources. (Free Wi-Fi plus toasters. What’s not to like?) 


Our first visit was to the Library of Congress’ search engine for historic newspapers. Coverage is spotty, unfortunately, and the Los Angeles Herald was only available from 1905 to 1910. Still, there was a chance that other newspapers picked up the story, so we gave it a try. Alas, no luck.


Our next step was Google’s News Archives, where we found links to The Times stories on ProQuest. Google’s archives include quite a few small U.S. newspapers, but most of them are from later in the 20th century.

  LAPL Newspaper Access  

So far I had been using online sources that are available to anyone. But people who have a Los Angeles Public Library card may also search the Newspaper Archive, where I found a brief update on the Comport shooting in the Ukiah Republican. 

We were unable to locate any other news accounts online, which means Caroline will be taking a trip to the Los Angeles Public Library’s History and  Genealogy Department to read the microfilm of the other papers that were active at the time.

Coming up next: where else to look.