Top Acquisitions of 2019

Negro Romance, nos. 2 and 3 (Aug. and Oct. 1950 respectively).

Each year the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room adds new items to our collections. That includes new-to-us items, which are often very old. Take a look at just a few of the new items that we added in the past year!

Massachusetts Spy (Boston, MA), October 27 to October 30, 1770.



Boston News-Letter (Boston, MA), March 10-17, 1718. This rare issue is from the first continuously published American newspaper, which was founded in 1704.

Massachusetts Spy (Boston, MA), October 27 to 30, 1770. This is the first issue of the newspaper published by famed American printer Isaiah Thomas.

Tree of Liberty (Pittsburgh, PA), July 16, 1803.  This issue contains reporting on the Louisiana Purchase as the news of the purchase first became known in the United States.


Tree of Liberty (Pittsburgh, PA), July 16, 1803.  

Tree of Liberty (Pittsburgh, PA), July 16, 1803, detail from page 3.














Southern Sentinel (Alexandria, LA), June 13, 1863. This issue of the Southern Sentinel, published in the war-torn South, was printed on the paper that was available at the time—wall paper. This will join the several other Civil War issues of Southern newspapers in our collections printed on wall paper. To see another example of this, take a look at this issue of the Vicksburg, MS, Daily Citizen.

Nachrichten Für Die Truppe, Europe, May 20, 1944. A single sheet newspaper issue published by the Psychological Warfare Division of the Allied forces and dropped by Allied aircraft over Germany from just weeks before D-Day.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Communist Historical Newspaper Collection. This collection of American and British communist newspapers covers from 1919 to 2013 and includes major titles such as the Daily Worker.

New Fun, April 1935.

Comic Books  

New Fun, April 1935. This over-sized comic book is considered one of the earliest comic book titles ever published.

Negro Romance, no. 2 (August 1950) and no. 3 (October 1950), pictured above. Negro Romance is known for featuring positive African American characters and stories rather than the stereotypes seen in other comics from that time.  We are now the only public institution owning all four issues of this rare comic book.

Showcase, no. 4, October 1956. This comic book issue features the first Silver Age appearance of The Flash.

924 items donated from the 2019 SPX Annual Expo. Every year since 2011 the Library has acquired independent comics and cartoon art pieces at the annual Small Press Expo. To get a better picture of how this works, take a look at our previous blog post September = Comics.

Image of shelf containing selection from the materials acquired at the 2019 Small Press Expo.

So here’s to everything good that came from 2019. Happy New Year!

Let’s Talk Comics: Folklore, Comics, and Santa Claus

Dr. Daniel Peretti, Assistant Professor of Folklore at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, is the author of “Superman in Myth and Folklore” (University Press of Mississippi, 2017), as well as other essays on folklore, myth, and popular culture. His current research focuses on Santa Claus, ritual, and the traditions of Christmas. Here Dr. Peretti answers […]

Alexander McCall Smith and the World of Mma Precious Ramotswe

The following guest post was also written by Marissa Ball, Head of the Humanities & Social Sciences Section in the Researcher and Reference Services Division; Peter Armenti, a reference specialist in the Researcher and Reference Services Division; and Ashley Cuffia, a science reference specialist in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. On October 24, 2019, […]

Let’s Talk Comics: War and Military

  From the beginning comic books have published war stories and adventures, profiling every branch of the military and visually portraying every aspect of modern warfare. Even before the United States entered World War II, Captain America fought Adolph Hitler  on the cover of Captain America no. 1 (1940). Contemporary comics on war and the […]

Let’s Talk Comics: Librarians

Dr. Barbara Gordon, Librarian? Yep that’s right – not only was Batgirl a crime-fighter alongside Batman and Robin but she also had a PhD in Library Science and ran the Gotham City Public Library. A recent visit from some fellow librarians in Washington DC for the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference gave me a […]

The Joy of Reading Comics

With one of the biggest comic book collections in the world, we take our role of preserving comics seriously. Many scholars have come to study our collections to learn more about art and popular culture. But we also know that comic books are seriously fun to read! Which is why we’re now trying to make […]