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Alternative Press

This page is a guide to finding serial publications of the non-mainstream media, often referred to as “alternative” or “underground” press publications, which include newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and other types of serial publications. These periodicals tend to be written from an acknowledged political perspective–for example, liberal or conservative–and they often promote a specific agenda. They might, however, report on news that is of interest to a specific community–often a marginalized one–without endorsing any defined ideology. Examples of these might be African American newspapers, gay and lesbian magazines, military newspapers, or publications of immigrant groups. The guide covers primarily alternative press publications of the United States, with some coverage of Canada and the United Kingdom.

Digital Collections

  • Independent Voices:  1951-2015. Over 1,000 alternative press newspapers and periodicals.
  • The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives, 1960-1974: Thirty-eight “underground press” periodicals from the 1960s and early 1970s.
  • Rock and Roll, Counterculture, Peace and Protest: Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975: Over fifty “underground” press periodicals.
  • Alt-Press Watch: 1970-present; mostly United States. Over 670,000 articles from 200 alternative press titles, predominantly news weeklies.
  • Ethnic News Watch: 1959-present. Newspaper, magazine, and journal articles from ethnic, minority and native presses.
  • ProQuest Historical Black Newspapers: The major black newspapers of the 20th century. Click here to see a complete list. Part of ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980: Mostly scattered issues of over 300 Hispanic-American newspapers. Purports to be largest compilation of Spanish-language newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries. Based on the “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project” collection at the the University of Houston. Part of America’s Historical Newspapers and the Archive of Americana.
  • American Indian Newspapers: 59 newspapers, most of which are digitized in full color. Few are already available on our various microfilm collections, so the collection includes many sources that our new to our Library. Collection includes issues from 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
  • Ethnic American newspapers from the Balch Collection, 1799-1971: Over one hundred newspapers of immigrant communities, with heaviest representation frjom Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Polish, and Slovak newspapers. Part of America’s Historical Newspapers and the Archive of Americana.
  • Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey:  The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Work Projects Administration of Illinois. Its purpose was to translate into English and classify selected news articles appearing in the Chicago area foreign language press from 1861 to 1938. The project consists of a file of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities in Chicago.
  • Gender Watch: Newspapers and periodicals with an emphasis on women and gender issues. Indexes publications from 1970-present.
  • Politics, Social Activism and Community Support: Selected Gay and Lesbian Periodicals and Newsletters: Over 200 periodicals and newsletters, published between 1947 and 2004, from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) Historical Society, San Francisco. Part of Archives Unbound.

Microform Collections

The University Library has hundreds of newspapers on microfilm, with coverage back to 1960 and earlier. The best way to check for availability of specific titles, or to browse by date and place of publication, is to consult the Library’s Newspaper Database.

Reference Sources

In this section: indexes, bibliographies, union lists, handbooks, guides, and directories.

Other Libraries

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Introductory

Carpenter, Gerald. “Alternative Press.” The St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Eds. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 60-62.

Bizot, Jean-François. Free Press: Underground and Alternative Publications, 1965-1975. Trans. David H. Wilson. New York: Universe Publishing, 2006.

Related

Barlow, Aaron. “The Rise of the Blogosphere: Alternative Journalism.” The Rise of the Blogosphere. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 2007.

Cohen, Mitchell. “Decades of Dissent.” Dissent 51, no. 2 (Winter, 2004): 5-8.

Halleck, DeeDee. “Alternative Media in the United States.” Battleground: The Media. Eds. Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Shore, Elliott. “Decade of Dissent: The Alternative Press in Philadelphia, 1966-1976.” Drexel Library Quarterly 12 (July, 1976): 59-74.