Recently we had a researcher ask if we had any copies of the annual publication “Christmas” in our collections. “Christmas: An Annual of Christmas Literature and Art” was published between 1931 and 1997 by the Augsburg Publishing House, now Augsburg Fortress (neither of which is related to Augsburg College). The publication’s relationship to Morrison County is through artist Lee Mero, whose brother, Dr. Frank Mero, was a dentist in Little Falls, MN. Lee produced illustrations for “Christmas.”
In checking our collections, we found that we have three copies of “Christmas,” one each from 1937, 1972 and 1974. I got to wondering if Augsburg Fortress or maybe Augsburg College (before I knew there was no connection) had issues available for researchers to use, so I sent emails to both. Bill Wittenbreer, Reference Librarian at Augsburg College, replied and told me that the publishing house and college are separate entities. He said that there are a few of the “Christmas” annuals within the college’s collection, but “no duplicates to share.” Kathleen Myers, Worship Arts Specialist of Augsburg Fortress, replied as well, saying, “The Christmas Annuals are now out of print. We do not have any library that would be available to your researchers.” She suggested checking eBay and other online sources for past issues.
This goes to show that sometimes items from popular culture can disappear quickly and may not even be available through an archive. If any of our blog readers have past issues of “Christmas” that include illustrations by Lee Mero, we’d gladly take them for our collections.
Thanks to Bill and Kathleen for their speedy responses to my inquiries.