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A complete 350 page Bibliography of newspaper and perodical material on, about or by the inventor Nikola Tesla for the years 1886 through 1920. Each citation is cross referenced by date, author, publication and subject. It is the most complete bibliography compiled on Tesla. In additon and, unlike Tesla Bibliographies in the past, each citation has been verified against the actual articles as found on microfilm or in existing bound peridocials.
It should be noted that hundreds of incorectly cited articles that have appeared in previous Tesla bibliographies have been corrected in this Bibliography and hundreds of additonal citations added making this Tesla Bibliography the most comprehensive and accurate ever published. It is well suited for use in libraries.
Although The 395 page Bibliography also serves as the index to the 4000 page Tesla Collection -- a complete full text collection of newspaper and periodical on, about or by Tesla for those years -- the Bibliography stands seperately as a one volume bibliography.
The Tesla Collection and its Bibliography is sponsored by the Tesla Memorial Society and has a forward written by William H. Terbo, Nikola Tesla's closest living relative.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
The genesis of the Bibliography began nearly five years ago while I was co-producing and editing a documentary-video on Nikola Tesla. While researching for the video I was appalled to discover how little primary source material was available on the inventor. There were, of course, an assortment of biographies and several bibliographies in print, but period magazine and newspaper articles were hard to find and, what little I was able to locate, did not provide me with what I felt was an accurate picture of the man within the context of his times. I wanted more of this sort of material because I thought that it could become an important aspect of the documentary.
There was an interesting selection of periodical and newspaper material halfway around the world at the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade. But much of the museum's older paper items were both extremely fragile - in some cases, so brittle that it would fall apart in ones hands - and still un-cataloged, except as lists of titles and dates. It was not really available to all but the most trusted and ardent researchers. In order to do a complete search, hundreds and hundreds of storage boxes would have to be examined. Because time was short, and a completion deadline loomed before me I was forced - for the video-documentary at least - to rely on the available secondary source biographical material. Therefore, I concentrated on only the biographical aspects of Tesla's life without presenting the man as his contemporaries saw him.
As most anyone who has ever studied Nikola Tesla must reluctantly admit, as soon as I began delving into the inventor's life I soon found myself smitten by the Tesla 'bug'. So, after completing the documentary - and purely to satisfy my own curiosity - I began researching Tesla on my own. Familiar material didn't much interest me. Letters and personal records, although of great importance, had been mined by Tesla's biographers and had formed the core of their books. What I was searching for neither these books, nor the archival records from which these books were sourced, could teach me.
I soon came to understand that if I wanted to learn how Tesla's world had seen him, then I would have to go through everything that had been written about the man when his celebrity was at its height. Indeed, that is exactly what I did do. From the articles that appeared on Tesla almost weekly in the technical press and through the scores and scores of full page Sunday Supplement articles which filled the "tabloid" newspapers of the period, I read it all. And, as I began to dig up this material and read it, I began to discover things about Tesla and his work that the biographies either hadn't gotten to, or hadn't gotten right. It didn't take me long to realize why. It had simply been too difficult and time consuming for any writer to plow through this wealth of material in anything but a cursory manner. To get to it all - besides the not inconsiderable expense of photocopying everything - it would have taken months if not years of dedicated work. Because of time constraints, and/or the unavailability of the material, what many writers had done was to select samples and using these samples speculate what the whole might have been. In fact, in the Tesla video documentary, that's exactly what we had done. Not only did I find this discovery something of a revelation, but it also forced me to rethink what I had taken as truth from the biographies I had read or seen about other famous persons. If this had been true of Tesla, then it could have been true of almost any celebrity.
Today, as Tesla is being rediscovered and his scientific renown is once again entering the cultural mainstream, the reader has relied on Tesla's biographies to learn about his once great fame and how his celebrity was the equal of Edison's, and even greater than Marconi's. Because these readers, and the writers whom they've read, have never extensively studied the media coverage that had - at the height of his fame - been accorded Tesla, the level of that fame had to be taken on faith. In fact, many things about Tesla must be taken on faith and, therefore, much misinformation about the inventor and his achievements has found its way into the public consciousness.
It didn't take me long to realize that if there was going to be a true and honest rediscovery of Tesla and his achievements, then the material that I was uncovering had to be cited and listed in a form that would make it readily available not only to professional writers and academics but also to anyone who has the Tesla "bug."
Almost as soon as I began work on this project I established certain parameters. The newspaper and periodical material would cover the years 1896 through 1920. Not only were these the years during which Tesla completed his major work, but this was the period that contained the most difficult material to locate.
Newspapers posed a bit of a problem. During this period, few newspapers outside New York City were indexed and, therefore, it would be impossible to collect comprehensively from these regional sources. But, at the turn of the century, nearly half of the 11 daily newspapers published in New York City were indexed. Consequently the decision was made to concentrate, in-depth, on the New York newspapers. Not only did Tesla live and work in New York, but this was the era of Pulitzer and Hearst when the mass media, as we know it today, had begun to flourish. In addition to newspapers, almost every major national magazine either published or had offices in the City. Since New York City was the center of this media explosion, and a principle source for the burgeoning news services, newspaper coverage of an icon, such as Tesla, usually found its way around the country. Therefore, by concentrating on the New York papers, the bibliography would present the best possible newspaper coverage on Nikola Tesla without unnecessary duplication.
When we gathered together and began using existing Tesla bibliographies, we were dismayed to discover the number of inaccuracies. Lists of articles that were supposed to be in an American electrical journal were actually published in Britain. Newspaper articles that were listed as having appeared on certain dates and in certain newspapers were not to be found on microfilmed copies. Consequently, for the title of an article, page number or even who published what piece - these bibliographies could not always be relied upon.
There were reasons for these inaccuracies. Inaccurate translations, incorrect citations in earlier bibliographies copied into later listings and the fact that most of the listings in these bibliographies were made from clippings. Most daily newspapers publish several editions and occasionally an article appeared in only one of these editions. Because few newspapers on microfilm contain every edition published, many clippings may not be found on microfilm. To remedy this situation - for the New York newspapers at least - on the days listed for a missing citation, we searched through every New York paper published that day in hopes that another newspaper might have covered the same story. This procedure involved looking through over 500 separate reels of microfilm.
For us to complete the project, all of these incorrect citations had to be corrected. Whenever using a self-indexed publication - usually indexed semiannually - we went through every indexed volume, not only searching under "Tesla" but also under related topics.
A few final points about The Bibliography:
All articles that appeared as a series are grouped and listed together even though they may have appeared months apart.
Titles in the Date Index are written exactly as they appear on the original articles. In the cross referenced sections titles may have been shortened for reasons of space.
Publications sometimes change names. If the name change was minor it is listed in the Publication Index under the key name. If the name change is more pronounced, its various titles are listed one under the other.About the Author:
Iwona Vujovic is a member of the Tesla Memorial Society and functioned as producer and Editor for the Tesla Video "Nikola Tesla: Genius Who Lit Ther World." Born in Poland and fluent In Serbian, she has been researching Nikola Tesla for over fifteen years and is an authority on Tesla as a media icon. Serving as Director of the Tesla Project she has spent five years putting the collection together.
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