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Thread: WHERE ARE THEY? - 1916 issues of The Harley-Davidson Enthusiast

  1. #1
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    Default WHERE ARE THEY? - 1916 issues of The Harley-Davidson Enthusiast

    I want to browse the 1916 issues of The Harley-Davidson Enthusiast. Does anyone know of any issues, reprints, downloads, images or libraries of ANY of the 1916 issues August through December?

    The reason is, I want to find out if The Harley-Davidson Enthusiast has a story about my grandfather, Charlie West, who made a 1916 trip from Illinois to Kentucky. The story is covered by two small articles in MotorCycle Illustrated in 1916.

    Thanks for any help or suggestions!

  2. #2
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    I have collected Enthusiasts for decades, and never find any of the pre '20 issues. They were only published sporadically (no monthly) before '20 and the circulation was very small. There are some out there but I've never heard of any that were available in PDF or any other online form. And originals are now commanding such high prices if they could be found as to be kept locked in a safe. There is one common reprint available done by Clymer, but it is the only one I am aware of.
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  3. #3
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    I have never seen a 1916 Enthusiast, and have looked for many years. If anyone has one, it would be great for the hobby to have it scanned, and digitized.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  4. #4
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    Dear Eric, how about digitising later issues as well for the Virtual Library? I have a full set of the VL years, August 1929 to December 1936, all originals, then couldn't stop and collected 1937 and 1938 as well. Butch Baer is selling books of the corresponding Indian publication, by year, with some success. I don't think there are copyright issues, but this project has been on the back burner with me the last ten years because I thought it needed an Index, and that would be some serious manhours.

  5. #5
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    Robbie,

    Thank you for your reply. It is unfortunate that pre-1920 issues of The Harley-Davidson Enthusiast are so scarce. You mention that they "were only published sporadically (no monthly) before '20", and this certainly seems to be true. It appears that there were only nineteen or twenty different issues before 1920 because the February 1920 issue is issue number 21. (The issue of December 1922 is number 55, so the magazine was monthly, or nearly so, by 1920.)

    These nineteen or twenty issues before 1920 probably do not include the Enthusiast's forerunner titles, of which there were at least two. One of these is the Harley-Davidson Bulletin. Here is the cover of its March 1915 issue:

    Notice that just under the title it says, "Issued now and then by the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Not published monthly."

    And the other Enthusiast forerunner title is simply Motorcycle News. Here is the cover of an undated issue that the current owner believes to be from around early 1916:


    Here's a photo from the inside where we see that it, too, is "Published now and then by the Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Milwaukee, U.S.A. Not published monthly.":


    And one more image from inside the undated issue:


    Both of these forerunner issues are currently for sale buy-it-now on eBay. The title of the first is: GENUINE Harley RARE RARE RARE March 1915 Bulletin Magazine. The title of the second is: GENUINE Harley RARE RARE RARE 1st Issue Motorcycle News Magazine Early 1916 ish. Seller is ratsown. I thought it worthwhile to get these images into this thread so they wouldn't be lost. Who knows when, if ever, these two issues will resurface.

    Jeff, Charlie's grandson

  6. #6
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    Jeff, other than July 1920 (anyone have an extra?) I have every issue from Feb 1920 to the current time. You are correct in your assumption, 1920 was the first year of monthly issues. At one time I had a lead on 8 different issues but a high roller collector I won't mention by name found out about them and made a much larger offer on them than I could afford. Those were the last few I ever ran across. Good luck in your search, hopefully someone who has them will share some of the info. Most of those collectors refuse to copy them for fear that their items will lose value. To some it is only about the money...
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubone View Post
    hopefully someone who has them will share some of the info. Most of those collectors refuse to copy them for fear that their items will lose value. To some it is only about the money...
    Very sad (and ignorant) that speculators have that mercenary attitude about our American motorcycle history. Genuine literature will always be desirable, just like an original van Gogh, and there are millions of copies of his work. Just plain stupid, and selfish.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  8. #8
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    Dear Eric, we agonised over this in the early days of the Virtual Library and decided that copies for technical information are different from original literature, which has a small but select following. Early on, we were loaned a bunch of valuable original Henderson and Cleveland literature for scanning from an estate, and this did not affect the fancy prices the original literature then fetched at auction. Some of those early Harley brochures in the Virtual Library might fetch hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but are there for us to enjoy as a benefit of belonging to the AMCA. I'd like to see the Enthusiasts from 1920 up scanned (and preferably indexed) as a service to members, and do not believe it would affect the value of the original hard copies. But that's a serious project, and needs volunteers to step up for it.

  9. #9
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    Members like Robbie, and Chris Haynes have been beyond generous with their literature collections, and the time it takes to scan, and post it. Collecting ancient motorcycle literature can be just as rewarding, and interesting as the motorcycles themselves because there is a whole unexplored world in the pages of trade journals, and factory literature. The true historians, and enthusiasts in our hobby realize this stuff has a value beyond money. By the way; good to hear from you, Steve.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  10. #10

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    I thought about not sharing my Bike lit.It has been somewhat rewarding sharing so others can learn about their machines history.Bruce Lindsay was an inspiration to share.

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