American Newspaper Repository

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An early issue of the New York Tribune

The American Newspaper Repository is a charity whose purpose is to collect and preserve original copies of American newspapers. It was founded in 1999 by the author Nicholson Baker when he learnt that the British Library was disposing of its collection of historic American newspapers. He cashed in his retirement fund to successfully bid for the collection at auction. With support from the Knight Foundation and MacArthur Foundation, the repository was established in an old mill building in Rollinsford, New Hampshire.[1][2] While serving as a director, Baker researched and wrote Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper about the way in which other library institutions were destroying rather than preserving such originals.[3]

The collection was transferred to the care of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, part of the Duke University Libraries in 2004.[4]


The contents include runs of over a hundred different periodicals from between 1852 and 2004 including:

In total, there are about six thousand bound volumes and eleven thousand individual and bundled items. These include first printings of work by numerous famous authors such as H. L. Mencken, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost and Rudyard Kipling. The collection is an excellent archive of high quality rotogravure photographs which appeared in these periodicals. Other unusual formats include the first crosswords, needlepoint patterns, sheet music and full color reproductions of paintings of the period.[3]


  1. ^ About the American Newspaper Repository
  2. ^ Weeks, Linton (May 5, 2001), "Tiger on the Paper Trail", The Washington Post, pp. C01
  3. ^ a b Guide to the American Newspaper Repository Collection, 1852–2004, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University
  4. ^ Bonner, Paul (January 6, 2006), Collection donated to Duke a gold mine of newspaper history., The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina)

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