Library can't find copies of early Black Sox reporting

Updated: December 6, 2005, 9:19 AM ET
Associated Press

URBANA, Ill. -- Rare copies of a sports newspaper that was credited with uncovering the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox gambling scandal are missing from a University of Illinois library.

Librarians discovered that two bound volumes of Collyer's Eye from the 1920s were missing this fall, around the time the White Sox won their first World Series in 88 years, said associate university librarian Karen Schmidt.

"As there was more and more interest in what the White Sox were doing, we began receiving more questions about their history," Schmidt said. "As those questions began to mount ... we began to understand the volumes were missing and that they are very, very rare."

University police are working with library officials to find the books.

Collyer's Eye was a weekly sports and gambling tabloid that wrote just days after the end of the 1919 World Series that games allegedly were fixed. Eight players were accused of participating in a gambling scheme to throw the series and banned from baseball for life in the "Black Sox Scandal."

The missing volumes contain copies of the newspaper from April 1920 to April 1922, and April 1924 to April 1926. The library still has the volume containing the earliest story on the scandal, from October 1919. But later stories on the case are missing.

Librarians and historians said the copies at the University of Illinois library could be the only publicly accessible reports on the scandal.

The library still has 15 other volumes of Collyer's Eye that were published as late as 1944, but they have been removed from shelves and cannot be checked out, Schmidt said.

"There really isn't anything out there exactly like this," Schmidt said. "It is not like you lose Time, but you still have Newsweek."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press