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Supporting the Library of Amateur Journalism

Edwin Hadley Smith (1869-1944) began his project to create a comprehensive collection of amateur journals in 1896. In 1916 The Fossils acquired the Smith collection, which became known as the Library of Amateur Journalism (LAJ). It had grown to a repository of over 29,000 amateur papers and thousands of other pieces of memorabilia dating from the 1850s. Over the years, the collection, housed in New York City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Stayton, Oregon, was augmented with contemporary amateur journals and other relevant items.

In 2004 The Fossils donated it to the Special Collections Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where it is located in Memorial Library. The Special Collections staff has made progress sorting and inventorying materials. However, with many different projects underway, the department can only assign limited resources to the effort from their ongoing budget.

By making a donation to the University of Wisconsin Foundation and restricting its use to support the Library of Amateur Journalism, you can speed the effort to sort, inventory, and catalog the thousands of items in the world's largest repository of amateur journalism material.

Two ways to support

There will always be an ongoing need to catalog new items, preserve existing items, and plan for the growth of the collection. In addition, there could be special projects, such as digitizing the collection and making it available on-line.

The University identified two ways to support these goals:

When you make a donation, be sure to indicate which LAJ effort you wish to support -- either the current work or the Hawes endowment.

Making your donation

Once you have decided which effort you want to support, you can send your tax-deductable donation directly to the University of Wisconsin Foundation. The Foundation provides a variety of convenient ways to do this.

Donate by Check

If you want to send a check, fill out and print the Printable Gift Form (PDF format). On the "I/we want to designate my/our gift to" section be sure to write either

            "Interns to inventory the UW Libraries Library of Amateur Journalism (LAJ) Collection" (to support the current work)
            "Leland M. Hawes, Jr. Endowment Fund for the Library of Amateur Journalism" (to support the endowment fund)

Send your check and form to
      UW Foundation
      U.S. Bank Lockbox
      Box 78807
      Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807

Donate On-line

The University of Wisconsin Foundation has created a link dedicated to Library of Amateur Journalism donations. The default is to use the gift for the Hawes endowment fund, but you may enter "Current LAJ Work, Not Endowment" in the Gift Note memo line of the web form if you want your gift to be used in that way.

Donate Stock

If you have stock with appreciated value, there could be tax advantages to using it for your donation. To do so contact the Foundation for further instructions.


If you want to make a bequest to support the LAJ in your will, the UW Foundation suggests the following specimen language:
For the Hawes Endowment Fund
I hereby give, devise and bequeath to the University of Wisconsin Foundation, a non-profit, non-stock Wisconsin corporation with its principal offices in Madison, Wisconsin, the sum of X dollars ($X) to be used {to add to the principal of the Leland M. Hawes, Jr. Memorial Endowment Fund for the} Library of Amateur Journalism Collection in the Special Collections Department of the University of Wisconsin Library in Madison, Wisconsin.

It is understood and agreed that should the purpose for which this bequest is instituted cease to exist, then the Foundation may devote said bequest for such other uses and purposes as it determines to be in accordance with my original intent in making this gift.

For ongoing work, substitute the following for the text that appears {in braces} above
{for expenses associated with the cataloging, housing, conservation, maintenance and development (including digitalization initiatives) of the}

A final note...

The Fossils would like to keep track of donations that members make to support the Library of Amateur Journalism. If you make a direct donation, please contact us and let us know.