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The MSU Libraries cordially invite you to a program and reception honoring John Robinson Block Block Communications, Owner of MaxxSouth Broadband, Inc. Upon the donation of a rare book collection to the Mississippi State University Libraries

Friday, February 5, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
John Grisham Room
Mitchell Memorial Library Mississippi State University

John Robinson Block John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade, has been a journalist and newspaper editor since leaving Yale in 1977, serving in numerous reporting and editing jobs. He is also vice chairman of Block Communications, which has television stations and cable systems in five states. An independent, he has been involved in planning coverage and editorials in every presidential race since 1980. During his career he has lived and worked in Miami, New York, Washington, New Jersey, Monterey, Ca, London, Toledo, and Pittsburgh. Mr. Block, a bibliophile since Yale, has built several distinct book collections, lately one on Anglo-American legal history. An aviator, he holds a commercial pilot certificate. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Caroline. He also has a home in Toledo.

MaxxSouth Broadband Donates Valuable Collection of Rare Book of Early Mississippi Laws to MSU Libraries

The collection comprises 59 publications that are finely bound in 45 volumes—making it the largest known number of rare Mississippi Territorial imprints published prior to 1817. The donation was assembled from the private library of John Robinson Block, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade. The Blade and Post-Gazette, like MaxxSouth, are subsidiaries of Block Communications.

As a lifelong newspaperman and grandson of Block Communication’s founder, Mr. Block is committed to preserving print culture in today’s digital age. Over the course of more than thirty years, Mr. Block has assembled an extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts relating to early American legal history and its British precedents.

MaxxSouth and Block Communications are confident they’ve found the perfect home for the books at the Mississippi State University Libraries. The ultimate hope of Mr. Block and MaxxSouth is that these laws—in their non-electronic, material form—will provide ongoing opportunities for the Mississippi State Libraries to engage students and other audiences in the history of government, law, and printing in the state of Mississippi in ways that only the original printed materials can provide.

Mr. Block’s donated collection of 19th-century Mississippi territorial and state session laws was printed between 1801 and 1898, and includes:

  • The scarce first publication of the laws of Mississippi Territory (printed in Washington, D.C., in 1801).
  • The first digest of the laws of the Mississippi territory, published in 1808, compiled by Judge Harry Toulmin, who had earlier performed the same task for the state of Kentucky.
  • State session laws from 1818 to 1859, showing the development of the legal system from a context of early frontier conditions to a highly regulated plantation-dominated society, with detailed slave codes, and increasing isolation from the growing industrial power of the North.
  • Five Civil War imprints published between 1861 and 1865.
  • Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction era laws through 1898.

About MaxxSouth Broadband:

MaxxSouth Broadband service area for video, high-speed Internet and digital phone stretches more than 200 miles and includes 20 counties 60 communities in northern Mississippi and Alabama. The company currently has approximately 45,000 subscribers for cable television and 110,000 homes passed. Operating as a subsidiary of the reputable and diversified media holding company Block Communications Inc., MaxxSouth Broadband is positioned to expand and upgrade services for all of its customers. For more information, visit

BCI MaxxSouth Mississippi State University