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!

Christmas with the Presidents

Holidays at the White House have evolved over the years from intimate family gatherings to national celebrations, ranging from an indoor snowball fight between grandchildren, to a first lady ride on a cherry picker!  Discover how U.S. Presidents of the past celebrated Christmas.  “Old Hickory,” President Andrew Jackson, threw an elaborate party for his grandchildren […]

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 […]

The Mayflower: Tales of Jumping Ship

  For a seemingly interminable 65 days the Mayflower was the floating home of pilgrims, officers and crew as they made their famous journey to America.  For some it was a graveyard, and for others, a symbol of life renewed. Those who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 are commonly known as pilgrims, but the sailors who […]

The Origins of Pioneer Day

On July 24, 1849, the residents of Salt Lake City were “awakened by the firing of nine rounds of artillery, accompanied by martial music.”  It was Pioneer Day in Utah, marking the two year anniversary of the first group of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to reach the Salt […]

Pesky Details: The Authenticity of the Lincoln Flag

The flags decorating the theater box where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated were almost an afterthought, but they became central to the legend and lore surrounding his assassination. On April 14, 1865, just hours before the President arrived at Ford’s, John Ford, the proprietor of the theater, thought it appropriate to adorn the box where […]

Let’s Talk Comics: Romance

It’s February, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and love is in the air! Typically you might not think of “romance” and “comics” together – but in the 1940s and 1950s as superhero popularity waned, romance reigned. And it was all started by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in Young Romance no. 1 (Sept-Oct. 1947). […]