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Early American History Resources Acquired

The People's Friend(Danville, Kentucky, 1818-1819), Bartgis's Marylandische Zeitung(Fredericktown, 1785-1789), the Boston Scourge(1811), the Georgetown Centinel of Liberty(1796-1800), the Georgia Gazette(Savannah, 1763-1770): These are only a sample of titles of the 700 newspaper runs the Library recently acquired. Early American Newspapersoffers microfilm of virtually every newspaper published in what would become the United States, from 1704 to 1820. This monumental set, comprising more than 11,000 reels of microfilm, is based upon the famous History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, by Clarence Brigham, and its acquisition represents a more than five-fold increase in our holdings of early American newspapers. Readers may find here, for example, the first printing of the Constitution in each state, and they may follow public controversy and debate it engendered. In advertisements, legal notices, and news columns of these newspapers researchers find raw material for social and economic history of the colonies and of the new nation. Literary scholars have at their command an enormous stock of text produced in every region of the nation and in varying time periods and for distinct groups of readers.

The collection is highly complementary to another extremely large set acquired this year, the Shaw-Shoemaker collection. Formally entitled Early American Imprints, 1801-1819, the collection of 36,763 titles is based upon the exhaustive bibliography of United States imprints compiled by Ralph Shaw and Richard Shoemaker. The collection of more than 40,000 fiche includes not only books on every subject, but also broadsides, pamphlets, resolutions in territorial legislatures, and other very rare materials, such as Rules of Work of the Housewrights in the Town of Beverly, formed and accurately corrected by a Committee Chosen for that Purpose (Salem, 1805), and James Winchester's Historical Details, having relation to the campaign of the North-western Army, under Generals Harrison and Winchester, during the Winter of 1812-13 (Lexington, Kentucky, 1818).

Shaw-Shoemaker continues the Early American Imprints microform series based upon Charles Evans' exhaustive American Bibliography (1639-1800), filmed mostly from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, and it supplements the American Periodicals Series. Our readers now have at their command virtually every book, pamphlet, broadsheet, government document, periodical, or newspaper published in this country prior to 1820.

The two new collections, together with our holdings of the Evans and APS sets, are located in the General Microforms Section on the second floor in Regenstein Library. The bibliographies upon which the sets are based are held in the General Reference Department. Cataloging records for the individual titles in the sets are being acquired for the Library's online catalog as they become available.

For more information, contact Frank Conaway, Social Sciences Bibliographer, at 702-8454, or febc@midway.uchicago.edu">febc@midway.uchicago.edu.

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