June 19 - Before Google There was Romeike

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On June 19, 1902, Henry Romeike, owner of a press clipping service in New York City, wrote a payment receipt for Paul Laurence Dunbar.  Paul's financial records show that he made similar payments to Romeike for many years.

Henry Romeike's Press Cuttings, 110 Fifth Avenue, New York.
Received from Paul Laurence Dunbar, Esq.
The sum of Five Dollars, being subscription for 100 Notices to be sent.


Receipt from Henry Romeike's Press Cuttings, June 19, 1902.  Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 2).

Romeike served clients around the world who wanted to know what was being written about them in the press.  His agency provided articles cut out of periodicals, with a slip of paper attached indicating the name, date and place of the publication.  

Mr. Romeike numbered among his clients most Americans of prominence and many royal personages.  Few persons of any prominence were disappointed when they applied to him to learn the world's opinion of themselves as reflected in the public press.  Politicians, lawyers, and heads of great enterprises found it of great value to know what the newspapers had to say of themselves and of their adversaries.  His efforts coined the word "romeiked," meaning books or pamphlets compiled from press clippings.

"Death of Henry Romeike."  The New York Times (New York, New York).  June 4, 1903.  Page 9.

Henry Romeike wrote a letter to the editor of a New York newspaper praising the value of his work, and explaining the phrase "the romeike habit."

"The romeike habit" is really the Baconian or inductive system of keeping thoroughly informed through the medium of newspaper clippings.  Nothing is assumed, for anyone addicted to the habit collects his data from many newspapers and no doubt keeps a scrapbook for handy reference.  It is a scientific and instructive habit, and it is invaluable to writers on any subject, to statesmen, and to people in public life.

"A Habit and Its Moral:  How Mr. Romeike's Industry Shows the Tribune's Superiority."  New York Daily Tribune (New York, New York).  May 6, 1900.  Page 12.

During Paul's career, Romeike's company sent him thousands of clippings from American and European periodicals in which he was mentioned.  Paul collected his clippings in scrapbooks with the help of his wife Alice and mother Matilda.  When he was in England in 1897, Paul was eager to read stories about himself from American newspapers, so he told Alice he would consult the Romeike office in London.

What the papers say about my breaking the contract, I do not care a fig about.  I wish you had enclosed some of the clippings.  I think I can get Romeike's news service over here.  Indeed I am sure of it, so you must not trouble yourself about writing him.

Paul Laurence Dunbar to Alice Ruth Moore, June 22, 1897.  Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 5).

After Paul's death, Alice paid $10 for Romeike to provide her with his obituary notices.  Paul had an unpaid bill with the agency, so Alice advised them to contact the executor of his estate.

Dear Madam:  I acknowledge receipt of your favor in which you enclose money order for $10 for collection of obituary notices referring to the late Mr. Paul Laurence Dunbar, which I send you under separate cover.  I also note what you say in regard to our bill against the late Mr. Dunbar, which we have sent according to your instructions to the lawyer of the estate.

Albert Romeike to Alice Moore Dunbar, no date [1906].  Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 8).