Fossils: Historians of Amateur Journalism
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Amateur Journals at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has at least two collections of amateur journals.

Rare Books Stacks

According to Ken Faig's "A History of the Library of Amateur Journalism," Foster Gilroy donated several thousand amateur papers to the Library of Congress in 1901 and then, in 1932, Ernest R. Burton donated 229 issues of 112 titles. A 1936 search by Library staff determined that some of these papers were housed in the rare book room on the second floor of the Jefferson Building. A 2014 search of the Rare Book stacks by Reference Specialist Abby Yochelson turned up two archival boxes labeled "Amateur Publications" and two more labeled "Amateur Papers."

Some of the contents can be referenced from the LC Online Catalog. Select "Browse", then use the drop-down arrow to select "CALL NUMBER (LC Class. No)" and type "AP2.A12" in the search box. After pressing the "Search" button, you will see several screens of listings.

The amateur journalism boxes held in the Rare Book stacks are tricky to retrieve, so advance notice is required if you want to examine them in person.

These four boxes do not have many papers published before 1901, so there are likely additional holdings of early amateur papers elsewhere in the Library.

Also available in the stacks are bound volumes of The Fossil (1909-1965) and The National Amateur.

"X" Collections

The Online Catalog includes an entry titled "[Amateur journalism]" with the note "A large collection of amateur publications." These are in the Library's "X" collections, hundreds of boxes holding hundreds of folders of short, pamphlet-type material.

The Internet Archive, which has linked to images from the X Collections, includes the following 31 entries related to amateur journalism. The bulk of the papers are from the 1930s through the 1950s, with a number of earlier dates reaching into the nineteenth century and a few from the early 1960s. The Internet Archive provides an image of the first page of each item in a collection...a total of 7,778 images of 6,804 items (307 of of these are duplicates) in the 31 collections. For small items, multiple images appear on a single page.

Most collections are primarily of journals whose titles begin with the same letter, although all collections have at least a few other titles mixed in. Within a collection, the journals generally run from oldest to newest. For each year, the smaller page sized journals generally appear before the larger.

In collection 1305, the first 46 items have Library of Congress classification X-PN 4826 and include: NAPA items from 1944-1955; UAPAA items from 1941-45; and journals announcing reorganization of UAPA in 1940s. All other items in these collections have classification X-PN 4827.

Link No. items Date range Titles start with...
1305 86 1899 - 1961 "A", plus a few "P", "U", "W"
1306A 290 1876 - 1944 "A"
1306B 143 1944 - 1958 "A"
1307A 261 1872 - 1948 "B", plus a few "C", "J"
1307B 103 1898 - 1962 "B"
1308 141 1886 - 1962 "D", plus a few "E", "G", "O", "W"
1309A 336 1845 - 1950 "C"
1309B 242 1899 - 1961 "C", plus a few "M", "O"
1310 232 1930 - 1961 "E"
1311 117 1933 - 1956 "F"
1312 92 1900 - 1960 "F"
1313 279 1884 - 1962 "G", plus a few "W"
1314 233 1898 - 1959 "H", plus a few "E"
1315 147 1884 - 1961 "I"
1316 237 1884 - 1957 "J" and "K"
1317 339 1877 - 1963 "L", plus a few "E", "H"
1318A 328 1884 - 1950 "M"
1318B 273 1950 - 1962 "M"
1319 297 1857 - 1962 "N", plus a few "O", "R", "W"
1320 224 1932 - 1962 "O"
1321A 320 1877 - 1957 "P"
1321B 104 1952 - 1962 "P", plus a few "O"
1322 256 1877 - 1950 "Q" and "R", plus a few "C", "M"
1323A 358 1877 - 1944 "S"
1323B 182 1944 - 1958 "S"
1324 165 1898 - 1962 "S", plus a few "I"
1325 357 1873 - 1961 "T", plus a few "A", "B", "H", "M", "P", "S"
1326A 252 1932 - 1960 "U" and "V", plus a few "C", "G", "M", "N", "O", "P", "W"
1326B 50 1917 - 1962 "U" and "V", plus a few "M", "O", "W"
1327A 295 1872 - 1960 "W" and "Y", plus a few "C", "G", "O", "S"
1327B 104 1900 - 1961 "W" through "Z"

If you want to access any X collection in person at the Library of Congress, be sure to make arrangements beforehand. They are stored off-site and can require more than a week to be brought to the Library.