At the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, old news is something to get excited about. In November, Albert H. Small (Engr ’46) helped the library bearing his name acquire 133 Revolutionary War-era issues of the Virginia Gazette. The issues, which span the years 1776 and 1777, will complement the large number of newspaper printings in the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection, which includes the July 6, 1776, edition of the Pennsylvania Evening Post, the first newspaper to carry the text of the Declaration of Independence. The collection also includes one of 25 known copies of the “Dunlap broadside,” the first printing of the Declaration of Independence itself. “In two years of newspapers, you really get a history of what goes on in a place,” Small says. “If we don’t document the past, we won’t know where we came from.” Founded in 1736, the Virginia Gazette is still in business, billing itself as the country’s oldest non-daily newspaper.

The Virginia Gazette often published official announcements from the British government; the May 10, 1776, issue displays the Royal Coat of Arms.

A week later, as conflict between Britain and the colonies escalates, the Royal Coat of Arms is replaced by a defiant proclamation of unity by the 13 colonies.