Historisk Tidskrift. Utgiven av Svenska historiska föreningen
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Historisk tidskrift 130:3 • 2010

Innehåll (Contents) 2010:3

Uppsatser (Articles)

Historien i tidningsklipp – tidningsklipp i historien. Klipp i arkiv, dagbok och bokfilm

Av Johan Jarlbrink


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History in newspaper clippings – newspaper clippings in history: Clippings in archives, diaries and newspaper compilation books

This article investigates how newspaper clippings were used to represent the past and to store the present for the future. In the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century newspapers were often seen as the most important public medium. Collecting newspaper clippings was a way of organizing and keeping a record of public and private memories. However, different ways of collecting created different types of memories. This process is analyzed in and exemplified by three different collections of Swedish newspapers.

The first collection is the diary of Allan Holmström, a private collector, which documents everyday events from the 1870s to the 19 6 0s. Because Holmström added clippings and notes to his diary throughout his life, the diary became an ongoing project of reconstruction of memories rather than an account of how Holmström first experienced events. The second collection is an archive of newspaper clippings founded in 1917 by the Christian foundation Sigtunastiftelsen. The foundation aimed to collect articles about major issues but was not interested in everyday ephemeral news. Thus, this way of collecting reproduced a hierarchy of texts. The third collection is a series of printed volumes of newspaper clippings edited and published as ”filmbooks” by Erik Lindorm. He believed that his volumes allowed history to ”speak with its own voice”. The clippings and the pages look authentic, with the original columns and spelling retained, but some of the clippings were clearly edited to make the collections – and history – more accessible to modern newspaper readers.

Collections of newspaper clippings provide a record of the past but are themselves historical products. Different collections are part of different traditions and are used in different contexts, which determine what kind of history they store and transmit. An examination of how these collections once constructed the memory of the past can provide a critical perspective on how the archives of today keep a record of the present.


Sweden, 19th century, 20th century, archives, historiography, media history, newspaper clippings, press history.