Fossils: Historians of Amateur Journalism
Home Awards The Fossil History Collections Contact Links

Amateur Journalism Conference 2016

Fossils: Historians of Amateur Journalism National Amateur Press Association American Amateur Press Association University of Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin • July 21 - 23

University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library In May 2015, Fossils President Ken Faig proposed a conference at the home of the Library of Amateur Journalism (LAJ) — the University of Wisconsin-Madison — to commemorate the centennial of The Fossils’ purchase of LAJ from its creator, Edwin Hadley Smith, and to highlight the stewardship of UW staff in preserving and organizing it since they received it in 2004. The National Amateur Press Association voted to hold its 141st annual convention in conjunction with the Conference. The American Amateur Press Association designated the Conference as an official regional meeting. The Conference is presented with support from the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries.


The Conference is composed of a variety of sessions. Although all are open to anyone attending the Conference, some sessions are oriented toward AAPA or NAPA members.

Conference Schedule

Association-Specific Sessions

NAPA’s constitution mandates business meetings to approve officers’ reports, vote on resolutions, elect officers, etc., on three consecutive days. These business sessions will be scheduled on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so as to leave NAPA members available for socializing and attending joint sessions in the afternoons and evenings. Arie Koelewyn is chairman of the 2016 NAPA Convention Reception Committee.

Because AAPA conducts business via mail, its gatherings are social affairs with some discussion of ajay topics. This year, AAPA-specific sessions will be held on Friday and Saturday mornings. Barry Schrader is in charge of the AAPA agenda.

Although The Fossils are not scheduling any Fossils-only sessions, President Ken Faig has been working with the other representatives to line up speakers for the general sessions and to ensure appropriate facilities are available. The Fossils will host a luncheon open to all on Friday.

Joint Sessions on Friday, July 22

On Friday at 9:45 a.m., Susan Barribeau will describe UW-Madison's Little Magazine Collection. This is followed at 11 a.m. by a panel made up of Ken Faig, Jessica Isaac, and Robin Rider discussing the past, present, and future of the LAJ. Following the Fossil lunch, Memorial Library staff will exhibit items from the LAJ and associated collections. Other planned joint events for Friday: an auction of donated items and an informal dinner.

Joint Sessions on Saturday, July 23

A. J. panels continue on Saturday afternoon. At 1 p.m., Arie Koelewyn will describe the connection between letterpress printing and amateur journalism. At 2:45, Ken Faig, S. T. Joshi, and David E. Schultz will discuss H. P. Lovecraft & Amateur Journalism. Following the evening banquet, Jessica Isaac, will share some of what she learned while using the LAJ for research related to her PhD.

Planning is ongoing, so revisit this page to get the latest news. You an also e-mail a request for information about the Conference.


Registration for the Conference is a modest $10/person, plus $35/person for the optional Saturday night banquet. Registration for the banquet must be received in Madison before July 15.

You can download a registration form (PDF format) which can be filled out either by hand (please print) or on your computer. Print the form, write your check payable to "UW Foundation," and mail both to
    UW Foundation
    Attention Erica Perrin
    1848 University Ave
    Madison, WI 53726-4090

The University of Wisconsin has a Conference information and registration page.


UW staff arranged two hotel options for Conference attendees:

Area Attractions

The University has a page to help plan your visit to campus, including maps of the campus and other areas of interest. You can also explore the area near Memorial Library using Google Maps.

The Madison area has a lot to offer visitors. Find out more:

The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, is about a 2.5 hour drive from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During the summer it is open 10 am to 5 pm on Tuesday through Saturday and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday (closed Monday).


Madison's Dane County Regional Airport has direct flights to many airline hubs, and is served by American Eagle, United, Frontier, and Delta airlines. Those who plan on renting a car might wish to check out flights to larger airports that are nearby. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is a little more than two hours (130 miles) away. The 85-mile drive from Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport takes less than 90 minutes

Let Us Know Your Interest

With nothing quite like this Conference attempted previously, it's hard to know how many participants to plan for. Please let us know if you have an interest in attending.

Attending a gathering of amateur journalists is an experience not to be missed. For some, it's a chance to catch up with friends, some of which you may have never met in person. Newcomers will make friends quickly with fellow hobbyists. And Madison has the unique attraction of the LAJ.