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Course & Subject Guides

The Underground Press @ Archives & Special Collections: Home

This guide provides an overview of the underground newspapers and magazines that can be found at Special Collections

Special Collections

Special Collections Department

A&SC at Hillman Library

3960 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Phone: 412-648-8190

Email: ULS-Archives&


M-F: 9:00am-4:45pm

Hours | Staff | Directions

 Archives & Special Collections manages most of the rare books, manuscripts, and other non-circulating items and collections which belong to the University of Pittsburgh Library System.

Social Media

Overview of Collection

In general, the Underground Press refers to periodicals and publications that are produced against the wishes of a dominant political or religious institution.  Special Collections is fortunate to possess a large collection of such periodicals from the American counterculture movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

After a high profile court case made prosecution for obscenity much more difficult, the New Left and the hippie/psychedelic/rock 'n' roll cultures began to produce a wide variety of underground newspapers.  They reported on everything from women's liberation to vegan recipes, from student organizing to radical approaches to psychotherapy, from antiwar activism to armed resistance to the state.  To make sense of this diversity, this guide divides this vast array of publications into six categories: the radical press, the student press, the socialist press, the alternative professional press, the gay press, and the feminist press. 

Cover of September 28, 1978 issue of Workers' Power Cover of Issue 22 of Women's LibeRATion Cover of Vol. XX No. 1 issue of The Black Panther
Cover of Vol. 3 No. 5 issue of Rough Times Cover of Vol. 6 No. 2 issue of The East Village Other Cover of Issue 48 of The Pittsburgh Fair Witness
Cover of the Vol. 2 No. 2 issue of Leviathan Cover of Issue 13 of Free You Cover of Issue 168 of Pittsburgh's OUT




Guidelines for Using Materials

  • Only bring in material you need to complete your research. Laptops, notebooks, and digital cameras are permitted. Please use only pencil when taking notes (we can provide pencils).
  • Food or drink is not permitted in the reading room.
  • Photocopies are available for .25 cents per page. Special Collections staff will do all photocopying for you. Due to staffing levels it might be 2-3 days before we can complete your order. Please ask the staff member at the reference desk about the procedure to request photocopies.
  • You may bring your own digital camera to take pictures of materials. This can be done in lieu of ordering photocopies. There is no charge, we just ask that you fill out the Digital Camera Usage form agreeing to fair use copyright.

Class Visits

Instructors from a variety of fields and disciplines have found these underground publications to be useful primary sources for their courses.  We are happy to refer students to material or to even invite your class to come in together to explore our collections.  Please review our information on how to schedule a visit for your class.


This guide was created by student employee Zachary Grewe in the fall of 2016.