RA Lake Ohrid (Macedonia)
Roy Alden Atwood

Roy Alden Atwood is the editor of The Handwritten Newspapers Project.

His research on handwritten news publications from around the world, of which this database project is a part, began back in 1980 when he was introduced to the first handwritten newspaper he’d ever seen, The Quarterly Visitor (1844), by a kind archivist at the Iowa State Historical Society’s Library in Iowa City. He’s been tracking down handwritten newspapers around the globe ever since.

He holds a doctorate in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa.

His academic career has included serving as a professor of humanities and communication at Nehemiah Gateway University in Albania (2017-present), Morthland College, Illinois, USA (2015-2016), New Saint Andrews College, Idaho, USA (2000-2015), University of Idaho, USA (1984-2000), and Gonzaga University, Washington State, USA (1981-1984). Administratively, he has served as the vice rector of Nehemiah Gateway University (2 years), president of New Saint Andrews College (10 years), dean of New Saint Andrews College (4 years), director of the School of Communication, University of Idaho (5 years), and an accreditation commissioner with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (USDE/CHEA-recognized higher education accrediting body; 4 years).

Twice he was selected as a Senior Fulbright Teaching-Research Scholar: first to the Institute of Journalism at Warsaw University, Poland, in 1991; and then to the Institute of Communication Research at North West University, South Africa, in 1998. He held a International Development and Training (IDAT) visiting media scholar position at Egerton University, Kenya, East Africa, in 1992. He conducted externally funded media research in Central Europe (Warsaw, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic; and Budapest, Hungary) in the early 1990s and has presented numerous scholarly and popular lectures and conference papers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

His scholarly articles and presentations specifically about handwritten news publications include:

  • Roy Atwood, “Foreword” to Michael Ray Smith, A Free Press in Freehand: The Spirit of American Blogging in the Handwritten Newspapers of John McLean Harrington, 1858-1869 (Grand Rapids, MI: Edenridge Press, 2011), pp. xiii-xv
  • “Handwritten Newspapers,” History of the Mass Media in the United States:  An Encyclopedia, ed. by Margaret A. Blanchard.  Chicago and London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998, pp. 249-250
  • “Shipboard News: Nineteenth Century Handwritten Periodicals at Sea,” Annual Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, History Division, Chicago, IL, USA, August 1997
  • “Captive Audiences: Handwritten Prisoner-of-War Newspapers of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition and the War Between the States,” Annual Convention of the American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA), Salt Lake City, UT, USA, October 1993
  • “Handwritten Newspapers of the Canadian-American West, 1842-1910,” Annual Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), History Division, Kansas City, MO, USA, August 1993 (recipient of the Faculty Research Award, AEJMC History Division)
  • “The Handwriting on the Wall: Frontier Journalism as Cultural Form,” Annual Convention of AJHA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, USA, October 1990
  • “Old News: Using Newspapers in Pursuit of the Past,” keynote address presented to the Iowa Newspaper Project Conference: Pilot Project for the National Newspaper Preservation Project, National Endowment for the Humanities, Des Moines, IA, USA, 1984,
  • “Iowa’s Handwritten Newspapers,” The Palimpsest: Iowa State Historical Society Journal, 62:1 (January-February, 1981), 10-13, and
  • “Handwritten Newspapers on the Iowa Frontier, 1844-1854,” Journalism History, 7 (Summer 1980), 56-59, 66-67

He is also the author of Mass Communication Law in Idaho (New Forums Press, 1992), and Transforming the Internet (Institute of Reformational Studies, South Africa, 1998). His scholarly articles and reviews related to media studies have appeared in Acta Academica, American Journalism, The Annals of Iowa, Canadian Journal of Communication, Christian Scholars Review, Communicare, Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Journalism Educator, Journalism History, Journalism Quarterly, Journalism Studies, Journal of Communication, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Media, Culture & Society, Public Relations Review, and other journals.

You can contact him about The Handwritten Newspapers Project at royaldenatwood@gmail.com.

[Updated January 4, 2022]

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Souvik Sarkar
    Nov 02, 2016 @ 12:09:35

    Dear Mr.Atwood,
    I am deeply moved by the monumental effort that you have put up to create an archive like this! Perhaps this is one of its kind in the world. And thank God I chanced upon this archive.

    Now Sir, my grandfather had composed a handwritten magazine back in 1938, when he was just 22. I am making a documentary on that and while doing that I started to trace the history of the Handwritten magazines of Bengal. This turned out to be seminal work in my culture, as nobody till now has done anything on this. The first dates that I have got are 1840-42. But the manuscripts don’t survive. No handwritten magazines have survived till about 1906. So, I have stuff to showcase after 1906 till 1938. But before it I have no visual image that can show, I have only dry facts.

    But while going through this Archive I came across a few handwritten magazines, which were beautiful: 1.Newspaper of Kossuth (1836) 2. The Melbourne Advertiser(1838) 3. The Victoria Times (1840) 4. Charivari (1854). Now, I seek permission from you, to use them in the documentary. Just these four. I would acknowledge you and this archive in the credit list.

    Also, once I am done with my documentary, I would love to share my seminal findings with this page.

    Would be waiting for your reply.

    best wishes
    Souvik Sarkar
    Kolkata, West Bengal, India

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