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17th & 18th Century Foreign Newspapers

Original copy, facsimile, & photostats held by the Library of Congress:
A Checklist


The foreign newspaper collection in original copy, as well as some photostats and facsimiles, for the 17th and 18th centuries at the Library of Congress is in the custody of the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room, LM-133. The current holdings consist of 663 bound volumes and 1,362 individual issues placed in portfolio folders. This checklist will provide new access for scholars. Many of the collation notes made on the endsheets of bound volumes indicate no inventory has been attempted since the 1920's.

Use of this very special collection is restricted to those patrons who have a legitimate scholarly need to examine these newspapers in original form. Reference staff in the Reading Room are to be consulted for all such requests. If a particular run of issues is available from the extensive microfilm collection of the Reading Room, then, in the interests of preservation, the patron in almost all cases will be served the corresponding reels. This policy also applies to the American originals of the same era. Queries regarding photoreproductions from the original copies can also be addressed to the reference staff.

There are two unique features of this collection that all researchers should bear in mind: calendars and mutilations.

I. Calendars

These two centuries, the eighteenth in particular, are notorious for disparities in national calendars. In general, all issue dates given in this compilation, unless otherwise noted, are from the Gregorian calendar. The determination of Julian and Gregorian dates can be accomplished by using the perpetual calendars found in any almanac. However, three countries, France, Great Britain, and Russia, due to peculiar circumstances require separate explanations:


In October, 1793 the revolutionary government of the French Republic decided to issue a new calendar based on scientific reasoning. This calendar consisted of twelve months with three decades of ten days each. The five "sans-culottes" were com- plementary days (or six for leap year) rounding out the calendar to 365 days. This calendar began officially on Nov. 24, 1793 and remained in effect until Dec. 31, 1805 when the Gregorian calendar was recognized again by the authorities. In this compilation I have provided the appropriate days for the Gregorian calendar for these years for all the French titles. In this effort I was aided by Pierre Caron's Manuel Pratique pour l'étude de la Révolution Française, 294 pp., published in 1912 in Paris by the Librairie Alphonse Picard et Fils. This invaluable work, which is available in the Library's Microform Reading Room, control no. 33981, presents a chart for both calendars for the entire time period.


The British did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752, when in September of that year the days from the 3rd through the 13th were erased not only for the British Isles but also for all the possessions of the Empire. In addition, during the twelfth century England adopted the "Year of Grace" calendar. This arrangement began the new year with March 25, as opposed to Jan. 1. The former date was traditionally regarded by English Christians as the Conception of Christ with nine months passage to the Nativity on Dec. 25. This calendar accepted well into the eighteenth century by newspaper publishers listed all days from Jan. 1 though Mar. 24 as belonging to the previous year, e.g. "Jan. 1, 1729" instead of the Gregorian, or Julian, date "Jan. 1, 1730".

As misleading as this has been to properly date portfolio issues for this collection, it has been particularly difficult to affix the proper date for certain bound volumes. Binders in the late eighteenth or nineteenth centuries not famliar with the "Year of Grace" would place issues from two different years in a single volume. This was strikingly evident in the binding of six volumes, control nos. 1730-1735, for the The Daily Advertiser (London).

The first volume, no. 1730, contained Jan. 1-Mar. 24, 1732 issues inserted incorrectly before Mar. 25-Dec. 31, 1731 issues. Arrangements for nos. 1731-1735 are also similarly afflicted. I have made the necessary corrections for this volume and the following five for Entry no. 62. For a complete analysis of the "Year of Grace", I found two publications to be very helpful:

W.W. Greg, "Old Style - New Style" pp. 563-569, in Joseph Quincy Adams Memorial Studies, Washington, D.C., Folger Shakespeare Library, 1948, 888pp., Library of Congress call no.: PR423.F6.

Wiles, R.M., Serial Publication In England Before 1750, Cambridge, University Press, 1957, 391pp., Library of Congress call no.: Z323.W5.


The Julian calendar was in use in Russia for the entire eighteenth century. In fact, the Gregorian calendar was not adopted in that country until the new Bolshevik government made the change official in 1918.

As a final calendar note, according to the Gregorian system, the years 1700 and 1800 are not leap years.

II. Mutilations

I define a mutilation as any damage or obscurity that renders any portion of text useless. The collection as a whole is in very robust condition. This is due in no small part to the to the tough linen rags used in newspaper production during this period.

However, there are harmful agents present, especially among the bound volumes. Various types of paste were used at times in these volumes which have eroded the margins over the decades. Some issues were tightly bound by
sewing thread thereby ensuring damage from patron use. Also, you will find the occasional adhesive tape upon tears which has done more harm than good.

All users, library staff as well as visiting researchers, should use great care in opening and closing of any volume.

I have deliberately made note of mutilations not only to alert readers using this compilation to the fragile condition of some issues, but to inform the Library of the state of this collection for corrective preservation measures and/or possible replacement by microfilm purchase.


Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the following Library staff members who gave me their kind assistance with translation matters: Carol Armbruster, Margrit Krewson, Harold Leich, Sara Striner, and Allen Thrasher.

John J. Connell, Jr.
July 22, 1996

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  March 30, 2022
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