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Online Newspaper Archives


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My recent posts on historical photos got me thinking about historical newspaper articles. Our Asheville Citizen-Times site offers articles older than 7 days for a fee online. Of course, that archive only goes back to 1999 online. This isn’t exactly what I was thinking of. I remember once upon a time researching in old newspaper archives at the library. It required using the microfilm reader, wasn’t indexed and was very slow and tedious to go through if you were looking for something specific. It was much like the proverbial needle in a haystack search.


Other newspapers are including more archived information online. In fact, via google news it’s possible to search a fair amount of older content that predates “the age of the internet”. There are many others, though. Many online genealogy and ancestry sites include archived newspapers as part of the fee. The coverage varies by service.

One standalone service is Newspaper Archive.com, they have a fair list of sources. (In North Carolina, I see several Statesville and Burlington, Rocky Mount, High Point papers.) It is disappointing that the coverage is not greater.

The Library of Congress keeps a listing of online newspaper archives. This listing identifies which services charge a fee and gives a fairly comprehensive listing.

Among the other services are Readex.com, PQ archiver.com (Proquest), and SmallTownPapers.com. This last one focuses on papers up to the current time.

Probably my biggest disappointment with this is the fragmentation of so many sources and the variations in the search. It’s a shame that ALL of these searches aren’t searchable through a third party search. Maybe at some point in the future we’ll see easier access, we’ve certainly come a long ways to the current day.

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