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History of Readex

From Microprint to Digital

In the early 1940s, publishing legend Albert Boni, co-founder of the Modern Library, formed Readex in New York City and Chester, Vermont. In 1955, the American Antiquarian Society invited Readex to publish in microprint Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800. This partnership led to the publication of Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819, and Early American Newspapers, Series 1, 1690-1876. All of these collections are now available in fully searchable digital editions as part of the Web-based Archive of Americana, which also includes American Broadsides and Ephemera and other collections.  More recent collections created in partnership with the American Antiquarian Society include The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922; and Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1876.

Additional partnerships with the Library of Congress, Dartmouth College Library, University of Vermont Libraries and the U.S. Senate Library have led to Readex's creation of definitive digital editions of American State Papers, 1789-1838, and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980. For these essential collections of government documents, Readex provides all-new bibliographic records created by experts who examined and indexed every publication.

The success of the digital edition of Early American Newspapers, Series 1, 1690-1876, led to the creation of America's Historical Newspapers, which now includes Early American Newspapers, Series 1 to 11, 1690-1922; 20th-Century American Newspapers, Series 1 to 3, 1923-forward, and American Ethnic Newspapers. The latter includes African American Newspapers, 1827-1998; Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection, 1799-1971; and Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980, published in partnership with the University of Houston. An integral part of the Archive of AmericanaAmerica's Historical Newspapers offers searchable issues from thousands of American newspapers published in all 50 states.  As part of America’s Historical Newspapers, American Newspaper Archivesoffers individual titles, including the Washington Evening Star, and America's Historical Newspapers Select enables the selection of titles based on place of publication.

In 2007, Readex began releasing a Web-based edition of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1974-1996—the fundamental record of political and historical open source intelligence for the United States government. Also now underway is a digital edition of a closely related collection: Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994. With emphasis on communist and developing countries, JPRS Reports is a valuable resource for researching socioeconomic, political, environmental, military, religious, and scientific issues and trends.

In 2008, Readex announced a partnership with the Center for Research Libraries to launch an online World Newspaper Archive. Today this collection—the largest searchable collection of historical newspapers from around the globe—includes titles from Africa, Latin America, and South Asia.

Following African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, Readex announced other collections with a special focus on African American history, literature, and culture: African American Periodicals, 1825-1995, and Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of PhiladelphiaAfrican American Periodicals—drawn from holdings of the Wisconsin Historical Society—is based on James Danky's monumental African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography (Harvard, 1998). Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922, created from the Library Company’s unparalleled collection, offers more than 12,000 searchable books, pamphlets and broadsides.

Afro-Americana Imprints is fully integrated into America’s Historical Imprints for seamless searching with Early American Imprints, Series I and II: Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker, 1639-1819 and the recent Supplements from the Library Company of Philadelphia, which have added nearly 2,000 newly discovered items. Also part of America’s Historical Imprintsis American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922: From the New-York Historical Society. This digital edition of New-York Historical Society's exceptional collection 25,000-plus shorts represents an extensive, yet under-researched record of American history, society, culture and contemporary life.

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