Rick’s entry into the hobby took a path similar to Timothy Hughes’. He started collecting historical newspapers in 1965 when he purchased a Philadelphia Inquirer for the capture and death of John Wilkes  Booth. As he held his new purchase in his hands, he was suddenly struck by what many since him have come to realize: “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported”. He describes this first encounter with historic newspapers himself…
“Reading the emotion-filled accounts from actual witnesses suddenly opened a new door for me. Before, my viewpoint of history was that it was just a series of dates, names and events. Reading the actual eyewitness accounts made the names and events come to life. Imagine, being able to hold something in your hands that was “alive” when the event happened — 100, 200 or even 300 years old. For the next four years I literally purchased every old newspaper I could find. By 1969 I realized that I was running out of storage room…”
By 1969 he became a mail order dealer in historic newspapers. In 1984 he started a publication for newspaper collectors, “Collectible Newspapers”, which featured journalism history articles.
Tim fondly remembers the publication and the extraordinary efforts of Rick to bring together newspaper collectors from all corners of the country–and across the globe as well.
“Rick was a true hobbyist. He expended much effort and money to provide a channel to bring together all collectors under a common banner–the Newspaper Collector Society of America (NCSA). Never was he motivated to profit by the hobby. In more ways then he might admit, Rick did much to help the fledgling hobby grow. Rick’s a terrific guy and remains an extremely valuable resource for the hobby” says Tim.
In 1995 he discovered the internet, and by October 1995, Rick had a small website utilizing articles he had first printed in “Collectible Newspapers.” By January 1997, the site was getting 25,000 hits per month, and he could no longer justify the publishing costs for 25,000 people, so he ceased publishing the print version with the April 1997 issue.
Now, thirteen years later, HistoryBuff.com  is reaching nearly 90,000 unique viewers AND 500,000+ PAGE VIEWS monthly. In October 2003, HistoryBuff.com was granted nonprofit status at both the federal and state level. While donations help keep HistoryBuff.com online, Rick fills in with money of his own. As with most nonprofits, financing is always a chore and there is seldom enough to keep it going. He has never taken pay for his work; truly a labor of love. 
The HistoryBuff.com website provides a wealth of historical information beneficial to both novice and well-seasoned historians. It describes itself as:
“…a nonprofit organization devoted to providing FREE primary source material for students, teachers, and historybuffs. This site focuses primarily on HOW news of major, and not so major, events in American history were reported in newspapers of the time. In addition, there is information about the technology used to produce newspapers over the past 400 years.”
A sampling of resources provided at HistoryBuff.com includes:
The most recent addition to the website is panoramas of historic sites  in America. Upon entering, you will be treated to a guided tour of more than a dozen well-known historic sites.
Whether your primary interest is history or the collection of “History in Your Hands” via newspapers, the resources available through these links will prove to be invaluable. As a former educator, I particularly appreciate the access to Rick’s Interactive Quizzes. Subscriptions to the monthly EMAILED newsletter are available at no cost.
If you have yet to browse through the pages at HistoryBuff.com , a treat awaits. Warning: Before visiting, make certain you’ve cleared your schedule for a few hours. Walking through history is a trek worth savoring. Thanks Rick!
Feel free to comment on your visit (or more likely… visits) to HistoryBuff.com.