May 18, 2022

NYPL Receives Grant for Amateur Periodical Collection

From the New York Public Library:

NYPL has received a three-year grant from the Aeroflex Foundation and Hippocampus Press to process one of its hidden gems, the General Research Division’s Amateur Periodical Collection. The grant will allow this significant collection to be catalogued for the first time, which will provide greater access as well as help identify items for digitization in the future.

The Library’s collection contains nearly 3,000 titles, approximately 8,000 items, and spans from 1872 through the Second World War. The earliest group of amateur periodicals was first acquired by the Library in 1906, when Bertram Adler donated about 70 amateur periodicals. In 1914 the library purchased another collection of amateur papers and magazines which contained about 700 titles. Later in 1939-1940, the largest part of the collection came through the gift of Mr. Charles W. Smith.


The project is designed to increase the visibility of the Library’s collection of amateur periodicals and physically stabilize items that were published on very poor paper. A robust description is being created and is accompanied by access points that index the title(s) born by each periodical, the names of all of the editors and publishers, and the place(s) where the periodical was published. Each amateur periodical is being rehoused in a low-acid folder and boxed appropriately. The amateur periodicals are arranged in alphabetical order by title, then the title (if duplicated) are arranged by place, and if necessary, they will be arranged chronologically by date for those popular titles that may have had multiple runs published under a different editor/publisher working in the same city.

Amateur periodicals were created primarily by young writers and hobby printers of all ages. They covered a wide range of interests, hobbies or topics. They were created not for money, but for the pure love of it. Many were literary, including criticism, essays, short stories and poetry, while local and national politics, membership conventions, recipes, advertisements, fashion and letterpress sales information are also represented. Formats varied from small 4 to 8 page pamphlets to little magazines or chapbooks.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.