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According to a history written by Jack Burke, managing editor of UW's News Service from 1965-1977, two UW professors created the first UW-Madison monthly news periodical back in 1870. Further efforts by professors at the turn of the 20th century led Helen Patterson Hyde, a UW journalism professor from 1923-1958, to propose that Wisconsin was actually the first state university to establish a news service. During the 1930s and 1940s the office was called by turns "Press Bureau," "Information Service," and "News Service," before it settled on "University of Wisconsin News Service" in 1945. By 1973 its official title was "University of Wisconsin-Madison News and Publications Service," and as the office's scope expanded further, became the "Office of News and Public Affairs" in 1984. Since 2000 the office has been known as University Communications.
Located in the basement of Bascom Hall, the University Communications Library served the research needs of University Communications staff members during its existence. The Library's main collection consisted of about 10,000 files of news clippings about the people, departments, buildings, and subjects that make the University of Wisconsin-Madison what it is today. University Communications publications and press releases comprised a significant part of this collection, especially during the early years of its existence. It also had perhaps the only collection of newsletters and publications produced by offices and departments all over the UW-Madison campus. When the Library closed, the collection was transferred to the University Archives.
Before it closed, the Library worked with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center to develop a virtual collection accessible to everyone online. Due to potential copyright issues, only releases written by University Communications staff members are available digitally. The original paper files, now housed at the University Archives, also contain clippings of related stories published in newspapers around the state, the nation, and sometimes the world. These files range in size from one sheet of paper to several inches thick. For more information about specific people or subjects, please contact the University Archives.