Amateur Journalism History
The purpose of The Fossils is to
stimulate interest in and preserve the history of independent
publishing, much of which took place in the hobby known as amateur
Here are resources about amateur journalism and its history
available on this site:
Google Books includes several books related to amateur journalism:
- Martin Horvat put together a lot of information about
amateur journalism, much of it from Truman Spencer's book
History of Amateur Journalism. Because these pages were
previously located at the American Private Press Association
site, this section of The Fossils' Web site is known as Amateur Journalism History from
- You can also view the table of
contents of Spencer's History of Amateur Journalism
with links to the APPA pages.
- A scan of the entire History of Amateur Journalism
book is available at Hathi Trust Digital Library.
- Ken Faig's history of the Library of Amateur Journalism
(through 2003) went to press in spring 2005 as part of the
Fossil centenary book. The 55 page document is available in two
There are also magazine articles:
The Career and Reminiscences of an Amateur Journalist, and a History of Amateur Journalism,
Thos. G. Harrison, 1883, 330 pp
A Cyclopedia of the Literature of Amateur Journalism,
Truman J. Spencer, 1891, 512 pp
Ex-Presidents of the National Amateur Press Association,
William C. Ahlhauser, 1919, 93 pp
- “Amateur Newspapers,” St. Nicholas,
July 1882 (Vol. 9, No. 9, pp 717-27) captures the enthusiasm of
early NAPA publishers.
- “A Convention of Amateur Journalists,”
St. Nicholas, July 1883 (Vol. 10, No. 9, pp 708-9)
briefly mentions the 1882 and 1883 NAPA convention, then
describes political campaigns by using a hypothetical (and
- “Amateur Journalism,” The Illustrated
American, September 26, 1891 (Vol. 8, No. 84, pp 261-64)
offers a brief history of amateur journalism, but focuses on
NAPA's 1890s politics and the personalities involved.
- “Amateur Journalism,” The Inland
Printer, May 1899 (Vol. 23, No. 2, pp 179-81) describes the
hobby as practiced in the United States, England, and France,
and lists a number of prominent people who started as amateurs.
- “Amateur Journalism,” Papers Read Before
The Lancaster County Historical Society, May-June 1905
(Vol. 9, No. 9, pp 271-282) is a historical sketch with emphasis
on connections to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and papers
printed in the 1870s.
- “Amateur Journalists' Department,” Boys'
Life, March 15, 1911 (Vol. 1, No. 2, pp 11, 14-15) describes
the basics of amateur journalism.
- “Little Things,” St. Nicholas,
December 1920 (Vol. 48, No. 2, pp 110-118) tells the amazing
story of five young sisters whose paper’s circulation grew to
1,000 in the early 1870s and attracted the attention of author
Louisa M. Alcott.