Thank you for the additional information. What has occurred makes perfect sense to me after doing a little digging. AOL's IMAP server and POP server are actually the same. So whether you put pop.aol.com or imap.aol.com doesn't matter. What matters is the type of server you have chosen (POP3). Usually, putting an IMAP server in a POP3 configuration wouldn't work because they are two different servers, but not so with AOL.
It doesn't matter if you don't follow all that... I'm just thinking out loud sort of.
Now, you want to save any email that you have downloaded, not just delete them, correct? I mean, you ideally would like to put all those emails back where they were so you can have them saved in your AOL email again. Tell me if that's accurate.
And finally, how many emails are we talking about? Very approximate ballparkish number is XXXXX Looking more for an order of magnitude. Do you think you have 1000 emails in there, 10,000, 100,000, etc. As rediculous as this sounds, I have over 100,000 emails in my gmail account. It's the electronic version of the show Horders... once it gets to a certain point, you just don't clean it up.