Robert G. Barr Collection of Amateur Journalism

This collection of over 1000 titles, compiled by Robert G. Barr over a period of 50 years, was donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library in 1977. It consists of serial publications (with some ephemera and pamphlets) by amateur handcraft printers (non-professional printers) and amateur journalists. It is part of the Turnbull Named Collections

Most of the works were printed between 1880 and 1975 in the United States, but there are some British and Australian items and a very few New Zealand specimens. Many of the bound works in the collection are signed and some are presentation copies.

Cover of the gator growl, illustrated with a cartoon gator.
The gator growl No. 66, 1957. Record page

There is a small group of works on 20th century boys' magazines and books, mostly concerned with boys' school stories (for example, Billy Bunter), and associated ephemera and periodicals.

The amateur journalism movement began in the United States in the 19th century among young people with printing presses. The owner of a press would start a small paper and circulate it among friends and neighbours, usually charging a small sum for a year's subscription. At first the founder wrote their own contributions, but this gradually expanded to include other amateur poets, story writers and essayists of all ages.

Access items in this collection

Original items in this collection can be requested through the Library’s catalogue and consulted in the Katherine Mansfield Reading Room.

This collection is catalogued online and may be called up as a list on the National Library catalogue by searching ‘Barr’ using the ‘in call number’ search option in the NLNZ catalogue advanced search.

Download the Barr Collection finding aid for more information not available through the catalogue (pdf, 170KB)

Cover of the web, illustrated with stars and a crescent moon.
The web, number 46, October 1971. Record page