Rag Linen, named for the heavy-duty paper on which pre-19th century news was printed, is an online museum of rare and historic newspapers, which serve as the first drafts of history and the critical primary source material for historians, authors and educators. Curator and publisher Todd Andrlik has built one of the most significant and comprehensive private collections of Revolutionary War era newspapers. Glimpses of the newspapers can be found on RagLinen.com, but the full archive of American Revolution newspaper coverage will be made public for the first time in the forthcoming book, Reporting the Revolution (Sourcebooks, November 2012).

Before 1870, newspapers were printed on a sturdy 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 16th through the 19th centuries are often well preserved in printed form.

About Todd Andrlik

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 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 raglinen.com.

Todd is a member of the American Revolution Association and writer for American Revolution magazine.

His passion for newspaper history stems from a career in media and marketing. Todd heads the marketing and PR operations for one of the nation’s largest construction, design-build and commercial real estate development firms.  His company’s innovative marketing efforts have captured national attention and been cited in two books: Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications (2009) and The Practice of Public Relations (2010). Previously, Todd worked for some of the largest public relations agencies in the world where he managed PR and media relations accounts for national and international corporations.  He is the creator of the Advertising Age Power 150, a global ranking of the top marketing and media blogs.

From time to time, Todd freelances to provide design (blog/web), social media and PR solutions to small businesses, non-profits and individuals with tight budgets and great need.  Todd has been a featured marketing speaker for several organizations and universities, including Ragan Communications, MarketingProfs, Public Relations Society of America, Social Media Club, Loyola University, Roosevelt University and Illinois State University. The Chicago Tribune labeled him one of Chicago’s Best Bloggers and the Huffington Post invited him to be one of the inaugural bloggers at the launch of its Chicago edition.  He’s won several marketing and media industry awards, including the Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors & Writers and the PRWeek Awards for Campaign of the Year and Best Business-to-Business PR Campaign.

Todd earned his MBA from Roosevelt University and a degree in public relations from Illinois State University.  He also studied international business and PR at Salzburg College (Austria).  Todd serves on the advisory board of the Printing Office of Edes & Gill, the only colonial-era printing experience along Boston’s historic Freedom Trail.

Todd’s wife is a great (7x) granddaughter of Abraham Amrine, who served as a Bedford County, Pennsylvania, rifleman in the American Revolutionary War. Starting in 1775, Bedford County sent men to the Pennsylvania Regiments of the Continental Line. Amrine’s grave marker (photo 1 | photo 2 | photo 3) says “Pvt Frontier Ranger, Continental Line, Revolutionary War”. According to my research, Amrine earned a rank of 2nd Class in the Bedford County Militia undesignated companies (1776 to 1783), which were not included within the structure of the battalion system and were primarily ranging companies, enlisted to roam through the forests on lookout for Indian and Tory incursions.

Leveraging his interests in emerging media, marketing and newspaper history, Todd is engaging a growing network of historians, museum professionals, librarians, educators and enthusiasts via raglinen.com, @raglinen on Twitter and the Historic Newspapers Network. You can reach Todd at 630-877-1776 or todd@raglinen.com.

Todd Printing on an 18th Century Common Press Replica