Sunday, September 15, 2019

Obsolete Media

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a briefly  popular alternative to microfilm and microfiche was something called microprint.  100:1 reduction print on glossy, opaque card stock.  The Early American Imprints collections of every obscure printed document through 1819 were printed on these.  I needed 1801 Tenn. Laws 259-261 and all the College of Western Idaho could borrow was a microprint version.  "No problem, Boise State has microprint readers.  Fifteen years ago, I used them to read stuff from Early American Imprints there."  What should have been a tipoff was that when I went to use those documents, which even 100:1 reduced, took up two floor to ceiling bookshelves. one of the bookshelves was facing a wall, and was not accessible."

Friday, I discovered that they have no microprint readers, nor a clue where this collection of historic documents went.  (I fear they were recycled.  Somewhere, I fear, a couple centuries of American history recycled into pizza boxes are in a landfill.)  Northwest Nazarene University may still have a microprint reader; I am waiting for a call back.

If you have access to a library on this list:; could I cajole you into going there, and photocopying or scanning the title page and pp. 259-61?  And yes, this is about putting a torpedo through the California Attorney-General's powder magazine.  UC Berkeley and Stanford libraries have it either on microfilm or microprint.  I know that Berkeley has (or had) microprint printers (even rarer than the readers).

Or if your university has a subscription to Early American Imprints, that would be a lot easier to get those pages.

Thanks, one of retrieved it for me.


  1. I have contacted a library that has the 1801 Tenn. laws (Early American imprints. Second series) microopaque and they say it contains 203 pages. Would you happen to know what pages that you are looking for exactly? I could ask them to copy laws 259-261 but it would be best to be able to tell them exactly what pages, so they don't have to read through the whole thing to find it.

  2. Thanks, someone already grabbed them for me.