What is the Underground Press Collection and how do I use it?


The Underground Press Collection (also known as the Underground Newspaper Collection) is 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 only indexing available for the collection are reel guides that list which issues of which newspapers are available on which microfilm reels. There is no indexing of actual title, author, or subject of the articles or other features within those issues.

The reel guides are held in the "Desk Collection" shelving in the Wilson Reference collection, across from the Reference Desk. These are:

  • Title: Underground press collection. Listing of contents.
    Published Ann Arbor, Michigan : University Microfilms International, 1963-1985.
    Wilson Library Reference (Desk) Quarto PN4784.U53 U53x
  • Title: Underground press collection, Hoover Institution supplement : a guide to the microfilm collection.
    Published Ann Arbor, MI : University Microfilms International, 1988.
    Other Title Title on microfilm: Hoover Institution supplement to the Underground newspaper collection.
    Wilson Library Reference (Desk) Quarto PN4784.U53 U54x 1988
  • Title: University of Missouri--Columbia Library underground newspaper collection [microform].
    Published Columbia, Mo, : University of Missouri, Microfilm Operations, [1985?] 9 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.
    Wilson Periodicals Newspapers--Basement Non-Circulating

The individual newspapers are listed in the library catalog, but the records simply indicate that they are part of the collection; to determine the microfilm reel number(s) associated with each title, you need to use the reel guides listed above.

More information:
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. A supplementary set of 16 microfilm reels was compiled from the holdings of the Hoover Institution by University Microfilms International company in 1988; this fills in many missing issues from the basic set and adds some new titles. A second supplementary set of 9 reels was compiled from the holdings of the University of Missouri and filmed by UMI in 1992, again filling in previously missing issues and adding other titles.


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