Guide to the Research Collections
|Section -- I -- GENERAL MATERIALS|
|15 -- RARE BOOK DIVISION|
|Serials (Billings *KS)|
Except for individual rarities, the terminal date of 1800 is used in the Rare Book Division's collection of serials. Numbering about 10,350 pieces, the collection includes some 1,800 volumes of bound newspapers and 4,000 issues of unbound newspapers; 2,000 periodicals; 2,500 almanacs; and some 50 directories.
The extensive holdings of almanacs include the only known copy of the 1649 edition of Danforth's Almanack, printed at Cambridge, Massachusetts. There is a special catalog for American almanacs published before 1821 and other rare almanacs in the division.
The directories in the Rare Book Division include those printed in America before 1801 and a few later nineteenth-century rarities. The major collection of U.S. city directories through 1869 is in the Local History and Genealogy Division. There are numerous other types of directories in other divisions of the library.
Newspapers in the division constitute one of the library's important collections. 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 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, including North Carolina newspapers before 1800, Virginia Gazette, and 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.
Early British newspapers in the division include files of St. James's Chronicle (1768-78), Lloyd's Evening Post and British Chronicle (1758-81, incomplete), and London Packet (1772-80), 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.28 The division's complete file of The London Gazette (1665-1800) is continued to date on film in the general collections.
Other holdings include a group of facsimiles or later souvenir issues of rare newspapers such as the Ulster County Gazette, of which the division has over 30 editions, although lacking the rare original issue of January 4, 1800.29 There are also
The library's collection of rare American periodicals is excellent, with particular strength in eighteenth-century sets. Holdings are recorded in W. Beer's Checklist of American Periodicals, 1741-1800 (1923), although other titles and volumes have since been added. Only very rare or irreplaceable material is held in this small subclass. Descriptions of the periodical holdings in the library appear in a separate chapter and in the discussion of subject fields in which there are noteworthy collections.