TABLE OF CONTENTS
The SPI is updated at regular intervals and can be
found at the following address:
1. WHAT MATERIAL IS LISTED IN EACH CHECKLIST?
Each issue lists the full fiction content, indicating the length of stories with a short list of abbreviations (ss = short story; nt = novelette; na = novella), which stories are serials (sl) and which are part of a series with continuing characters with the overall series title or main characters indicated in [brackets].
Also listed are non-fiction articles (ar), poetry (pm), editorial (ed) and other regular columns (cl), and a variety of miscellaneous items (ms). As a general rule of thumb, everything with a byline is included in the checklist; anonymous material longer than a quarter page is listed, although in some cases where magazines ran large numbers of anonymously written news stories, these have not been listed individually. In most cases there is some overall title that can be listed (e.g. "Tinker's Notebook" in Union Jack).
An example of how a completed issue looks:
From this it is possible to see exactly what this particular issue of The Magnet -- Vol.XXIV No.816 (dated 29 September 1923) contains: an anonymously written editorial, a Greyfriars yarn entitled "An Island Mystery!" written by S. E. Austin under the Frank Richards byline, a short story by David Goodwin starring Richard Langley, a Ferrers Locke serial by "X", and an issue of the Greyfriars Herald which contained a story by Harry Wharton about his chums at Greyfriars.
Cross-referencing via the author index will show that Frank Richards was a house name primarily used by Charles Hamilton but also used by various other substitute writers. Also that Harry Wharton was the name of a character in the Greyfriars series of stories.
2. WHERE DO THE CHECKLISTS APPEAR?
When a complete, or a reasonably substantial listing for a particular magazine has been compiled, the information is transferred to the main Story Paper Index site (address above).
Incomplete and partial data is held centrally by the compiler Steve Holland, although some of the material can be found in the shared files areas of various newsgroups:
Both groups are freely open to anyone wishing to join, and access to the shared files area is open to all group members. You can find out more by visiting www.yahoogroups.com.
Both these groups also has in its shared files a complete listing of all story papers that this project hopes to index. Two companion listings of annuals and comics are currently in preparation.
As well as these shared files areas, the contents lists of various annuals regularly appear in the regular mailings of the CBandM news group.
3. HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE?
Anyone who owns an annual or a story paper (even if it's just one issue) can contribute. A simple listing of contents can be fed into the regular stream of contributions to the newsgroups listed above. Alternatively, you can contact Steve Holland directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . If the layout looks somewhat daunting, please contact Steve and he can guide you through any problems.
(The reason for the layout is to assist in creating an indexable version of each issue. Once re-formatted, these lists can be indexed by author, by title, by series, and even chronologically.)
In the case of some long-running titles such as The Magnet, The Gem, Union Jack, etc., partial lists already exist, and it is advisable to contact Steve to make sure that you are not duplicating work that has already been done.
4. WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT THE AUTHORS?
Plans are in progress for a separate site that will contain biographical information on the many authors, artists and editors who contributed to the story papers and background information on many of the papers.
If you have any knowledge on authors or artists who contributed to story papers or annuals, please do get in touch. A lot of information can be gleaned from papers that have yet to be checklisted (e.g. Chums, Champion, and many others who ran occasional "meet the authors" columns). Many classic authors ranging from Sir Walter Scott to Sir Henry Rider Haggard also had material reprinted or published in story papers, and material about these authors is also being sought, from simple links to full-length essays.
5. WHERE CAN I SEE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM STORY PAPERS AND ANNUALS?
There are no specific sites that offer illustrations
from story papers.
6. WHY BOTHER?
Basically because there has been so little research done into story papers in the past and every good historian knows that one of the main stepping stones to researching the history of anything is a good index to the subject matter.
Very few fiction carrying magazines published in Britain have been indexed. Not just juvenile story papers, but well-known adult and family magazines like The Strand, Pearson's, Cornhill, Blackwood's, etc. My own interest in bibliography -- sparked by the work of Mike Ashley (into science fiction, fantasy and horror magazines) and Bill Lofts (into boys' papers) -- was at times frustrated by the singular lack of any previous work to refer to, and trying to find the work of authors I discovered was virtually impossible. So I started compiling my own lists.
The breadth of this project is deliberately all-encompassing, and not designed to cover just those areas I personally find especially interesting. This is so the final Story Paper Index can be used to find the authors that *you* are interested in, not just the author's I'm into.
I work on the principal that if I can index (say) one annual, I hope that one hundred other people won't mind doing the same. That way, we have the contents of 101 annuals for the effort of compiling only one. Also, access to a range of titles that you would, perhaps, not have easily discovered, some of which may have stories by authors you like.
The sheer scale of this project makes it impossible for one person to do all the work, so this FAQ is also my way of setting out the goals of the project and asking for your help.
7. WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?
All correspondence and enquiries should be directed to Steve Holland email@example.com