‘Chasing the Dumpster’ for historic newspapers

Who knew the skill set for a successful curator of newspapers included dumpster diving abilities?

While this may not always be literally true, figuratively speaking at least AAS’s curator of newspapers has rescued some of the collection’s treasures from pretty precarious situations. Vincent Golden recently gave a talk on his “Chasing the Dumpster” activities, which you can read about on the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s website by clicking here.

As this article suggests, Vince Golden is committed to his mission of rescuing historic newspapers. How committed? Well, he’s so committed that he periodically rents a U-Haul and drives it across half the country, stopping along the way at prearranged sites to pick up newspapers that can no longer be properly housed. Just picture it: rather than a covered wagon traveling along the Oregon Trail, imagine a “Newspaper Trail” being blazed by a lone curator in a rented U-Haul. The best part, though, from our point of view is that rather than staying out West, Vince brings the newspapers back to a safe forever home at the American Antiquarian Society.

While Vince is willing to go to great lengths to successfully corral newspapers, he would probably be the first to admit that the newspaper that walks in the door by itself (or more accurately, carried by a generous donor) just may be his favorite. So if you wanted to help out by walking in your own donation of newspapers published before 1876 in the U.S. (or the West Indies) that are not yet in AAS’s collections, I’m sure you would make Vince’s day (and save some gas in the U-Haul).

On AAS’s website, you can catch a short video featuring Vincent Golden in which he describes the history and characteristics of antebellum American newspapers. Filmed in the newspapers workroom at the Society, the video features examples of various newspapers and illustrated magazines from the Society’s collection.

Antebellum American Newspapers from American Antiquarian Society on Vimeo.

More information about AAS’s newspaper collections can be found on the newspaper section of our website.

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