Free Newspaper Archives in the US

Explore 250 Years of US Newspaper Archives, Free of Charge
History, Politics, War, Sports, Family Background, and Plain Old Everyday News

National Collections


Most of the free newspaper archives that are available are pretty local in nature, covering a particular town, county or state. But a few have a broader national or regional scope:

Google News ArchivesAncestry.com-archives

This is one of the internet’s great, under-appreciated resources. The content here is a mixed bag — some results are free to access, while others lead to fee-based services. Still, it allows for fast and comprehensive searching, using the wonderful Google interface. The newspaper images aren’t always the easiest to access, and occasionally, some of them get horribly garbled. But still, there are thousands of sources here, not only from the U.S., but from much of the rest of the world. It’s a great place to get a feel for what sort of news items might be available, before visiting some more specialized resources to continue your research.

New York Times Archives

I know, I know, it’s a New York newspaper! But The NY Times is also a national paper, of sorts, so I’ve listed it here. (It’s also listed with Northeast newspapers, in case you’re worried). Archives from the time the newspaper began publishing in 1851 to 1922 are free of charge, as are articles published after 1987. Everything in between (1923 to 1986) you have to pay for, for some odd reason.

SmallTownPapers.com

This used to be a terrific, rambling assortment of interesting and free content not available elsewhere, but lately, the site seems to mostly mirror much of the Google News archives. Still…worth a look. It includes newspaper archives from all over the country, and like the name says, mostly from small towns and cities. Mostly 20th century coverage, but there is a fair amount of material going back the 1800′s.

NewspaperArchive.com

Another source of millions of pages of newspaper archives can be found at NewspaperArchive.com. This is not a free service, but it’s a great resource, just the same.

HistoryBuff.com

This small but intriguing collection generally has only one or two archived newspaper pages for any given year. But it manages to cover most of the major events of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Unlike most archives, the page images are especially crisp, and photographs, in particular, are very clear. There is no text searching, but you can browse by date.

Centennial Newspaper Exhibition, 1876

For newspaper buffs, this is a book worth noting…a complete listing of every paper published in the United States at the time of publication, along with circulation and demographic statistics. The entire book can be downloaded, free of charge. Thanks to U Mich for making this available.

**********

Did you know? Ancestry.com has a deep newspaper archive that can be searched for free (but there’s a fee for full access).

**********


More historical archives and research materials can be found at these excellent resources:

Genealogy Tools European Historical Newspapers
International Historical Newspapers Court Record Searches
Public Records Searches NewspaperArchive.com 

Other pages at this site:

National Collections NorthEastern United States The South
The MidWest States Western States Special Collections