Use the Internet Archive to Search Millions of Pages of Historical Newspapers for Free

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The Internet Archive is a well known repository for a variety of documents, videos, audio clips, old websites, etc.

It also has quite a variety of historic newspapers. Admittedly it is a hodge podge (organizationally) of old newspapers but it indeed is something that you can search for free.

Recently, they have started a pilot project to add more historic newspapers, but that does not include all of the newspapers available for research on the site. There are single titles listed for each date and as of the date of the publication there are 29 distinct collections available via the pilot newspaper project.

Here is the link to finding all of the collections available via the aforementioned project, and a few are sizable:

https://archive.org/details/newspapers&tab=collection

Just click on “collections” in Media Type and you will see there are 29 collections in the pilot project, listed below:

If we perform a search of the entire Internet Archive, looking for newspapers as the type of text, then we get over 200,000 results.  These are not all different titles, but most are titles with a specific issue date, and these are not included in a collection.  Here is the link for that search:

https://archive.org/details/texts?and[]=newspaper

After we perform that search, if we try different sorts and selections on the left side of the page, we can choose collections again and there are 105 different collections in addition to the over 200,000 “single issue” results. Here is the list of those 105 collections:

As I said, there is not very much order in the presentation of either the collections or the thousands of random titles and issues.

Hopefully at some point I will add these to the links in the lists in Newspaper Research Links – (a few are already there, but not the majority).  Because of the disorganization of the content in the Internet Archive, it is an extremely labor intensive exercise.

There is definitely enough content here that you should include it in your repertoire of old newspapers to search for articles about your ancestors. Unfortunately, there is a lack of standards that “uploaders” follow in naming conventions and identifying the characteristics of all the newspapers.

So give it a try, and make sure you have patience!

​Good Luck!


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