The Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection

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Click on the link below to access the
Using the Underground Newspaper Collection Tutorial:

Free Handout!

The new media is too important to be left to the Peter Pan and Mother Goose executives, but…(as a new artform)…can only be trusted to the new artists. ~ Marshall McLuhan

The Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection is a sure treasure trove for those interested in sixties & seventies counterculture. From the AA Commune to Zig Zag, this collection of over 500 small, alternative press magazines, newsletters, and bulletins centers on topics such as Vietnam War protests, hippies, vegetarianism, alternative “drop out” lifestyles, music, and civil rights. Some of the publications are  well-known such as Mother Earth News (volumes 1-24) to lesser known publications such as the Santa Cruz Free Spaghetti Dinner (say what?).  Civil rights and revolutionary newsletters include the Black Panther. Some student newspapers (The Huntsville Exponent) are a part of this collection.

Journals, such as The San Francisco Oracle, capture the essence of  sixties counterculture with beautiful and original artwork, poetry, and essays. Many of these publications had small lifespans. A random ‘Google search” for different titles reveals that some publications have completely disappeared, not even leaving a trace in that digital heap of just about everything (the Internet).  Luckily, for those interested in sixties and seventies counterculture, music, and civil rights, many academic libraries house the Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection. This collection might also provide unique primary resources for students and faculty working in sociology, history, literature, music, drama, and art.

The University of Minnesota Library describes the collection as “a microfilm set reprinting the full text of thousands of issues from hundreds of alternative / underground newspapers of the period 1963-1985. Most are from the US or Canada and the great majority (but not all) are in English.  The basic set consists of 476 microfilm reels of newspapers compiled by the Alternative Press Syndicate and microfilmed by Bell & Howell in the mid-1980s.”

The Underground Newspaper Collection is located with the 2nd floor microfilm; call number Z6944.U5U53X. Although there is not an index to the individual newspapers, use the Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection Table of Contents to look up a publication (in alphabetical order). This book indicates microfilm reel numbers for locating specific newsletters.  Microfilm can be viewed on the 2nd floor microfilm machines and printed out. Print outs are 15 cents per page.


5 thoughts on “The Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection

    • Yes, this is definitely one of the coolest resources we have in the library. I’m currently working on an updated tutorial/ video on the Underground Newspaper Collection with recommended resources and will post it here when I’m through (having some sort of audio difficulty right now). Thanks.

  1. Question: I have a complete set of two related Minneapolis underground publications from 1968, “Raisin Bread” and “Our Daily Bread.” At least one issue is in your microfilm collection. Where would be a good place to donate my collection so that it could be added to the database?

  2. Pingback: Occupy the OccuPASt: Celebrating the 1960’s Counterculture Newspapers in the Houston Cole Library « The Education Librarian: A Day in the Life

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