Farrar Newspaper Collection

"There is a natural history of the newspaper; the development of the American journalistic tradition over 275 years is related to the political, social, and economic progress of our people.... Not all are large and famous, but all have a story to tell of a moment in the life of the United States."

- Edwin Emery, Story of America as Reported by Its Newspapers From 1690 to 1965


Color Drawing of President McKinley in the Boston Globe, 1901The Farrar Collection of Historical Newspapers is a rich archive of some 1,500 original historical newspapers. These newspapers, donated to Washington and Lee University by an alumnus who spent decades acquiring them, come primarily from colonial, Early Republic and Victorian-era America, but also from England and France. The American Revolution and Civil War are especially well represented, from both sides of these conflicts.

Frederic B. Farrar, a W&L graduate of 1941, also donated a portfolio of newspapers giving election-day results from every presidential race in U.S. history -- from Washington's first election to George W. Bush's re-election. Additional donations, including 18th century English periodicals, continued to be made by Farrar up until the week before his death in July 2014.

The collection is housed in W&L's Special Collections, located on the Lower Level 1 of James G. Leyburn Library in Lexington, Va. The collection is available for students and other researchers Monday-Friday 8:30 - 4:30 p.m. during the academic year and 1-4:30 p.m. during the summer. The phone number is (540) 458-8663.

This website is dedicated to offering background on the collection, the collector, and an online catalogue of the collection. Only those materials that are already at the University are in the online catalogue. Support from the Clark R. Mollenhoff Award and Leyburn Library has made this project possible.