First Drafts of History

Rag Linen is an online museum and educational archive of rare and historic newspapers, which serve as the first drafts of history and the critical primary source material for historians, authors and educators. Visit for more information. @RagLinen on Twitter.

Before 1870, newspapers were printed on a heavy-duty paper made by pulping linen rags, often from clothes or ship sails. Thanks to the durability of rag linen paper and Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, history’s most important events from the 15th through the 19th centuries are often well preserved in printed form. The historic accounts printed within the pages of these newspapers and periodicals come to life in the Rag Linen blog.

With historic newspapers you’ll travel back in time to read reports from the Late Middle Ages, the European Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment. You’ll learn about the evolution of the British Empire and the settling of the first American colonies. You’ll better understand the pain and suffering from countless European and American wars, including these major conflicts:

* The Eighty Years’ War (1566-1648)
* The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648)
* The English Civil Wars (1642-1651)
* King Philip’s War (1675-1676)
* The War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748)
* The French and Indian War (1756-1763)
* The American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
* The War of 1812 (1812-1815)
* The American Civil War (1861-1865)

Todd Andrlik is the curator, designer, historian and author working behind the scenes at Rag Linen. Todd works diligently to preserve original historic newspapers for future generations. Early newspapers were printed on durable paper made of linen rags and often bound by libraries for long-term storage; however, these newspapers survived countless natural and man-made disasters, including wars, floods, fires and deaccession, so many still show scars such as tears, holes, stains, acidification and non-archival tape mends. Through a partnership with one of the top paper conservators in the world, Todd helps save these first drafts of history from loss and restores them as close as possible to their original condition. The restored papers are then shared for public research and education via

As a sponsor of the Printing Office of Edes & Gill, Todd Andrlik contributes web design and marketing services. Todd also serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Printing Office. Thank you, Todd and Rag Linen, for your generous support!



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