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Farewell to the Newseum

Los Angeles Times – Michael Hiltzik [h/t Barclay Walsh]: “…At any newspaper worth its salt, articles and photos were clipped and placed in cross-referenced envelopes, along with archival copies of every edition. As reporters we were drilled never to start writing a story without “checking the clips” to see what had been written about our subject before. But what has happened to these treasures with the passage of time, especially as their owners have gone bust? Some papers donated their morgues to their local libraries — that of the Buffalo Courier-Express, my first daily newspaper employer, now resides at the Buffalo State University library, bless its soul. Some sold them off to commercial firms, which will make them available via a searchable database or provide you with a facsimile of the front page from the day you were born, for a fee. Some historical archives can be found at the Chronicling America online collection of the Library of Congress at no charge. Writers of financial history know that archives of the Commercial and Financial Chronicle, a weekly founded in 1865 more than two decades before the Wall Street Journal, have been placed online by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. But others have been strewn to the winds — saved, if at all, thanks to heroic individual efforts. They include the creation of the American Newspaper Repository in 1999 by the author Nicholson Baker, who rescued the remains of the British Library’s excellent collection of American newspapers from dispersion or pulping by buying the collection at auction and installing it in what he described in the New Yorker as “six thousand square feet of space in a nineteenth century brick mill building in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, with room to shelve all the papers and to hold a small reading room.”…

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