Guide to the Research Collections



Newspaper Collection

The Newspaper Collection of the Research Libraries, located in the library's Annex at 521 West 43rd Street, contains files of more than 4,000 newspapers published in most areas of the world since 1800. Papers published before 1800 are usually to be found in the Rare Book Division, although some eighteenth-century British files are in the Newspaper Collection. Newspapers in the Balto-Slavic and Oriental languages, and in Hebrew and Yiddish, are generally found in the Slavonic, Oriental, and Jewish Divisions. Most files of foreign newspapers begin in 1900 or later, although there are some earlier files. The holdings of the Newspaper Collection include more than 42,000 reels of microfilm and approximately 22,000 bound volumes. Most of these bound volumes contain older files of newspapers. More than 150 current titles are received from all over the world. A small collection of reference books is maintained, including the standard indexes to the New York Times, London Times, Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal, along with other materials on journalism and newspaper history.

There are virtually complete files of most general newspapers (as distinguished from those of strictly local or neighborhood distribution) published in New York City from 1801 to the present, in English and other languages. Notable files include the New York Post (1801- ), New York Journal of Commerce and Commercial (1828- ), New York Herald (1835-1924), Brooklyn Eagle (1841-1955), New York Times (1851- ), World (1860-1931), and the New York Sun (1833-43, 1861-1950). Foreign language papers published in New York City include the Atlantis and National Herald (Greek), El diario-La Prensa (Spanish), Nordisk Tidende (Norwegian), and others in Chinese, Japanese, Finnish, Swedish, Italian, and German.

Some of the significant titles received from other cities of the United States are the Atlanta Constitution (1945- ), Boston Herald and Boston Herald Traveller (1952- ), Chicago Tribune (1947- ), Honolulu Star-Bulletin (1959- ), New Orleans Times-Picayune (1958- ), and Philadelphia Inquirer (1860-65, incomplete; 1942- ). The collection of California newspapers covers the period from 1850 to the present.

British newspapers include a good file of the London Chronicle (1757-98), the London Times (1785- ), the Manchester Guardian (1929- ), and others. A special collection of interest includes issues which appeared during the general strike of 1926.

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Continental European newspapers are less numerous, and the files less complete. There are generally representative files beginning about 1900 from most nations. Many others were added at the beginning of World War I, such as the Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt (1900-43). The incomplete file of the Paris Journal des débats covers the periods 1814-26, 1841-68, 1879-87, and 1892-1942. Files of other important titles are substantial although frequently incomplete. There is an interesting group of newspapers from all belligerent countries during the period of World War I. Among titles now received are Figaro (1880- , incomplete) from Paris, and the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung (1900-09; 1914- ). The famous La Prensa of Argentina is available in a complete run beginning in 1869, and there are copies of Mexico's El Universal (1933- ), and the Diario de Centro America (1949- ) from Guatemala.

Catalog and Special Indexes and Files

The catalog of the Newspaper Collection follows a regional arrangement in three main sections: the United States by state; New York City; and foreign countries. There are few subject entries in the catalog, which is primarily an alphabetical listing by title. Cards for materials in various divisions of the Research Libraries are also filed, however, including those from the Rare Book, Economic and Public Affairs, and Slavonic Divisions; and for items in the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago.

Among the special indexes and files in the Newspaper Collection are the following:

Columnists File.

An index arranged alphabetically by name of columnists, giving such information as the type or title of newspaper column written, names of newspapers in which it appeared, etc. (inactive, 1 card drawer).

Facts Index.

A card index arranged by subject and containing information accumulated in answering reference questions (semi-active, 22 card drawers). For example, under the heading "Hiss-Chambers Case" index cards provide dates and locations for news stories.

Other-than-Newspapers File.

An alphabetical index of subject cards pertaining to literature in the newspaper field (active, 1 card drawer). The titles may be found in either the Newspaper Collection or the general collections.

Vertical Files.

File folders contain miscellaneous information that may be needed either by the staff or the public (active, 3 file trays). There are folders under such headings as "Strikes--N. Y. City," "Newspapers on microfilm," "Library of Congress current list," and "Steiger Collection of German-American newspapers."

Rare Book Division

American newspapers published before 1800, and other newspaper rarities, are kept in the Rare Book Division. The division maintains an active Newspapers Check List in two loose-leaf notebooks arranged by city and town.

Early British newspapers in the division include files of the St. James's Chronicle (1768-78), Lloyd's Evening post and British Chronicle (1758-81, incomplete), and the London Packet (1772-78), of added interest because they were published during the colonial and Revolutionary periods of American history. Many important examples of early seventeenth-century English newspapers or "newsbooks" came to the division in the Lonsdale collection, purchased in 1947.2

Other holdings include a group of facsimiles or later souvenir issues of rare newspapers such as the Ulster Country Gazette, of which the division has over thirty editions, although lacking the rare original issue of January 4, 1800.3 There are also the productions of amateur and toy presses, Lilliputian newspapers, and other materials.

This is one of the most important collections in the library. Early files and rare issues are numerous, among them Bradford's New-York Gazette, Zenger's Weekly Journal (the best file known), Parker's Post-Boy, and excellent files of Holt's Journal, Gaine's Mercury, and Farley's American Chronicle. Going beyond New York, the representation of Philadelphia newspapers includes extensive files of Franklin's Gazette and Bradford's Journal. The library's holdings of newspapers published before 1821 are recorded in Brigham's History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820 (1947), although some files and issues have been added since its appearance. The division's holdings have been extended by photostat or microfilm files to include North Carolina newspapers before 1800, the Virginia Gazette, and the Kentucky Gazette.

Later American materials held in the division because of their value include the famous issue of the Vicksburg Daily Citizen of July 2, 1864, set by the staff of the newspaper but printed by Union soldiers after the fall of the city. Files of American Indian newspapers include a notable group of Cherokee newspapers for the period from 1828 to 1853.

Microform Reading Room

In the Microform Reading Room of the Central Building are kept microfilm copies of the New York Times (1851- ), the New York Post (1967- ), the New York Herald Tribune (1924-66), and the World Journal Tribune (1966-67). The New York Times Index from 1851 until recent years is also kept here; indexes for the last few years are held in Room 315.

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Economic and Public Affairs Division

Issues covering the latest six months or a year of a small number of newspapers on banking and investment are kept in the Economic and Public Affairs Division for consultation in conjunction with periodicals and other publications on these subjects. Older issues are microfilmed or bound and permanently located in the Microform Reading Room or the Newspaper Collection. Included in this group are such titles as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Post (Toronto), Financial Times (London), and Financial Express (Bombay).

Local History and Genealogy Division

A perhaps unique collection of anniversary and special issues of local United States and Canadian newspapers is available. The division is expanding its coverage of local and neighborhood New York City newspapers. Complete files of the Villager and the Village Voice are on microfilm in the Microform Reading Room (current issues are available through the Periodicals Section).

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The Schomburg Center has a good collection of African newspapers on microfilm. The Afro-American newspaper collection includes long, complete runs of newspapers dating from 1827 through World War I, such as the California Eagle, Cleveland Gazette, and Savannah Tribune. Current issues of black newspapers giving national coverage are microfilmed at the end of each year.

Slavonic Division

This division houses some 120 newspaper titles, mostly in Balto-Slavic languages. Approximately 40 of these come from the USSR, including Pravda (1917- ); and Izvestiya (1917- ); 4 are from Poland, including Trybuna Ludu (1948- ); and 1 is from Czechoslovakia, Rudé Právo (1948- , incomplete). There are papers from thirteen other countries, with the largest single unit being 52 titles from the United States and Canada. Current issues are available to the public as received; back files are available on microfilm.

Oriental Division

The division has many newspapers on microfilm from the United Arab Republic. Iran, India, Japan, and Korea. A number of titles are received from the People's Republic of China, Georgia, Armenia, and the countries of Soviet Central Asia. Current issues are held in the division for use by the public.

Jewish Division

This division contains one of the largest collections of Jewish newspapers and periodicals in the United States. The newspapers, which originate in many nations, are collected both in their original form and on microfilm. Many of the filmed titles are available for sale and are listed in the Library's Publications in Print and Titles Available on Microfilm, which is published annually. A detailed description of periodical and newspaper holdings in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino is given in chapter 10 of this Guide.

Manuscripts and Archives Division

Among the resources of the Manuscripts and Archives Division are collections relating to New York City newspapers, particularly the files of editors and publishers. Among these are the papers of James Gordon Bennett, editor and publisher of the New York Herald (2 boxes): John Bigelow, coowner and editor of the New York Evening Post (39-volume diary, 24 other volumes, and 38 boxes); Robert Bonner, publisher of the New York Ledger (3,500 pieces); Parke Godwin, editor of the New York Evening Post (17 boxes); Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune (5 boxes); George E. Jones, one of the founders of the New York Times (250 pieces); St. Clair McKelway, editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (4 file drawers); and Henry J. Raymond, a founder and editor of the New York Times (125 pieces).4

Prints Division

The Prints Division contains a great deal of material pertaining to newspaper cartoons, including original drawings by Thomas Nast and the proofs of the political cartoons of Rollin Kirby and Daniel F. Fitzpatrick. The James Wright Brown cartoon collection contains original editorial cartoons by American artists.

Additional Resources

Materials in the general collections include a number of trench and camp newspapers of World War I. Also important is a complete file of Yank for both World Wars, and an almost complete file of Stars and Stripes in the single edition of World War I and the 30 editions of World War II.5 The library's extensive holdings of the publications of free and resistance movements and clandestine publications for the World War II period include many newspapers. Papers published in countries formerly occupied by Germany and those published by the Allied occupying forces number approximately 600 separate titles dating between 1945 and 1949; these are augmented by 172 reels of filmed post-World War II German papers administered by the Newspaper Collection. Spanish newspapers of the period immediately preceding the Spanish Civil War are also noteworthy. There is a collection of Hungarian newspapers published during the uprising of 1956.