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A Guide to the Great Speckled Bird Newspaper Collection

Finding aid created by Stephanie Slota

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
December 2009

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Great Speckled Bird
Title: Great Speckled Bird Newspaper Collection
Dates: 1968-1984
Abstract: A run of the Great Speckled Bird, an alternate press and counter culture newspaper from Atlanta, Georgia.
Extent: 3 Linear feet. 7 boxes.
Identification: MS 266
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Great Speckled Bird was the best-known of the underground newspapers in the Southeast during the late 1960s and 1970s and was especially popular with radical readership in Atlanta, its place of publication. It had its beginnings in anti-war newsletters edited by students at Emory University. These students collaborated with student groups from other southern universities, such as the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC) to expand publication. In 1968, the first issue of Great Speckled Bird came out as a bi-weekly issue. It had a leftist perspective and quickly gained popularity as an alternative press. By the end of 1968 Great Speckled Bird was being printed weekly. It peaked in popularity in 1970, with a circulation of 23,000. In 1972, the office of Great Speckled Bird was bombed by an unknown person or persons probably as a result of the paper's radical views. Subsequently, many of the writers left. The popularity of the newspaper was also in decline. By 1973, the issues were once again being published on a bi-weekly basis, and in 1976, on a monthly basis. Great Speckled Bird ceased publication in 1976 although two efforts were made to revive it, one in 1984 and another in 2006. The newspaper remains a testament to counter culture sentiments in the South at the height of the Viet Nam War and Watergate crises.

Sources: Jonathan Springston, "Great Speckled Memories," Atlanta Progressive News, May 09, 2006. Christopher Allen Huff, "Great Speckled Bird," The New Georgia Encyclopedia Online, 2007. J.D. Cade, "1968-1975: Printing the news you're not suppose to know,"

Scope and Content

The collection is nearly a complete run of Great Speckled Bird: Volume 1, No. 1 - Volume 9, No. 9 March 15, 1968 - October 1976; Volume 10, Nos. 1-9 May 1984 to Jan./Feb. 1985. The following issues are missing: Volume 1 No. 2; Volume 2 No. 2 and 10; Volume 3 No. 3, 11, 29, 40; Volume 4 No. 11 and 44; Volume 6 No. 40.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

Emory University holds the Records of the Great Speckled Bird. The UF Libraries can also obtain microfilm of the Great Speckled Bird newspaper through the Center for Research Library, Chicago.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Great Speckled Bird Newspaper Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Gift of former staff and writers for The Great Speckled Bird through Stephanie Coffin (September, 2008). Made at the time of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the publication.

Contents List

Great Speckled Bird

The following issues are missing: Volume 1 No. 2; Volume 2 No. 2 and 10; Volume 3 No. 3, 11, 29, 40; Volume 4 No. 11 and 44; Volume 6 No. 40.

1 Volume 1, 1968-1969 (37 issues)
2 Volume 2, 1969 (41 issues)
3 Volume 3, 1970 (51 issues)
4 Volume 4, 1971 (52 issues)
5 Volume 5, 1972 (51 issues)
6 Volume 6, 1973 (50 issues)
7 Volume 7, 1974 (51 issues)
7 Volume 8, 1975 (51 issues)
7 Volume 9, 1976 (9 issues)
7 Volume 10, 1984 (9 issues)

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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