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History Buffs - Old Newspapers?
Old 09-25-2007, 10:00 AM   #1
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History Buffs - Old Newspapers?

One of my hobbies is history (in general). I'm wondering if anyone else has found a good source of online historical newspapers that is free/cheap. I've spent a while googling around and looking at my local university's website and the NY public library's site to no avail.

I know my local university library has tons and tons of historical newspapers of all types from hundreds of cities for hundreds of years. The problem is that they are all on microfilm/microfiche. This isn't convenient to me for a number of reasons. I know the technology exists to convert from microfilm/fiche to digital scanned images, but I'm unable to find a repository of any scanned originals so far. I'm surprised that historical copies of a major newspaper (like the NY Times) hasn't been made available digitally. Or maybe it has and I'm not looking in the right places.

I've found some sources that have very limited selections of major historical significance. But nothing with, say, all NY Times (or whatever NYC's major paper was) from 1800-1950. Or Atlanta's, or Charlotte's major paper from that time period.

Why might I be interested in this historical source? I'd like to take a glimpse into the daily lives and opinions of folks at particular times in history. What were people thinking on August 5, 1945? How about August 7th? What about Dec 6, 1941? December 8th? Heck, Sept 10, 2001 for that matter. September 1929/November 1929?

Major historical events are frequently discussed in books focusing on the major historical events. But often these books lack a lot of historical context that help explain the thoughts and feelings motivating historical actors at the time. What about the other stories of the times? What stories lie on page 2 of the newspapers?

I'm just interested yet too lazy to spend a day in the stacks of the old research library browsing through musty microfilm collections.

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Old 09-25-2007, 11:14 AM   #2
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the New York Times is digitized from 1851.....

Here's a login so you don't need to register
The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

pull down the archive shade, select 1851-1981
for a specific date just search: august 25, 1857 for example.

I was just reading that date and about the intended seizure of Formosa because the Chinese government seized property from some US merchants.

Hmmmm, was the bosturd Bush already in charge back in those days. And of course our great emancipator immediately gave the island back when he was elected, I suspect.

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Old 09-25-2007, 03:32 PM   #3
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Thanks. Looks pretty neat. I saw some of the stories from the 1850's on there. All the articles from 1929 that I saw were for sale, not for free though. And the search interface is sort of sloppy.

I was hoping to get a microfilm-ish view of the newspaper (where I can pan and zoom on a page at a time, then "flip" to the next page). I have to imagine something like this is out there. And if it doesn't exist yet I'm guessing google or someone similar will develop it.
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:42 PM   #4
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Google does list "news archive results." The scanned variety seem to come from a site called, but they charge a fee.

Google News Archive Search
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