Going, Going, Almost Gone

The historic newspapers that for years dwelt in the basement of the Main Building then in the first basement of the Collections Deposit Library have almost all been removed from the CDL, and are now either waiting scanning in the Perry-Castañeda Library or are in the temperature, humidity-controlled environment of the Library Storage Facility at the J. J. Pickle campus.  Last to go will be the “bits and pieces,” unbound issues of newspapers now stored in acid-free boxes, some waiting to be catalogued.

Still in the first basement of the CDL are volumes upon volumes of the London Times, 1947 volumes of the Tokyo, English-language, Nippon Times, and several bound volumes of the Philadelphia Public Ledger.

Later discoveries fall into some of the old categories.  More issues of New Orleans newspapers, more issues of Charleston papers.  There are at least two volumes of papers dating to the 1790’s, back when the Constitution was being written.  There is one more farming magazine, the Louisiana Farmer, which seems to be the only one now in existence.  The New England Postal Record is only held by one other library, which is also true of The Revivalist, a Nashville paper.  The people sent out by UT in search of newspapers bought papers no one else thought of collecting.  UT has these rare religious-oriented papers:  Church Advocate, Lexington; The Classmate, New York; Free Christian Commonwealth, Christian Commonwealth, Louisville; Watchman of the South, Richmond. 

Several volumes of The Commoner remain at the CDL.

Newspapers for other causes are also represented.  Labor Action, “A Paper in the Interests of Labor,” (price one cent) is here, as is The Militant, “Published in the Interests of the Working People,” (price five cents), and The New Militant, “Weekly Organ of the Workers Party of the U. S.”  UT may have a full run of The Commoner, a paper published in Lincoln Nebraska by William Jennings Bryan, three times candidate for president against the gold standard, banks and railroads, but perhaps most famous for his attack on Darwinism at the Scopes trial.  Part of The Commoner is in the PCL, part in the CDL, and 1901 to 1905 may be somewhere else.  It is available on microfilm from the New York Public Library for the cost of reproducing the film; it will be available at the Library Storage Facility or ordered and sent to the Briscoe Center for free.  Some day, eventually, UT may put it on line for all the world to see.

New additions to the Historical Newspapers on UT’s Digital Repository can be found here.
National Intelligencer, Washington, D. C., November 1805 to October, 1806
Charleston City Gazette, July 1830 to December 1830
Evening Truth, Baton Rouge, July 3,4, 1899, souvenir issue:  “We present to you to-day with this little souvenir to commemorate the first State Reunion of Confederate Veterans.”


If you are interested in contributing funds to speed The University of Texas’ massive project of scanning and putting on-line historic newspapers online, please contact Linda Abbey, of UT’s General Libraries, phone (512) 795-4366 or online to the Historic Newspapers Preservation link.

About the Author

Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.

Mary Bowden