Historical primary sources online: Historical newspapers & news broadcasts
Multipart guide to VT Libraries' many digital archives, whether based on types of sources or thematic collections.
US historical news media
- Newspapers.com World CollectionNewspapers.com World Collection is an extensive database that provides online access to 4,000+ historical newspapers. Dating from the early 1700s into the 2000s, Newspapers.com World Collection contains full runs and portions of runs of well-known, global, regional and state titles to small local newspapers in the United States and other countries.
- NewspaperARCHIVE Page-image archives of newspapers from the US and other countries, including much 20th-century coverage that is still in copyright. NewspaperARCHIVE is especially strong in coverage of small-city and rural newspapers, with coverage extending from the colonial era to the present. Beware: intensively clicking on search results can trigger security alarms about excessive use -- and block all your access to library online resources for one hour. We have complained to the vendor about this design flaw.
- Historical Newspapers from ProQuestCross-search US ProQuest Historical Newspapers from the main link above or search one at a time. Each paper is available cover-to-cover, with full-page and article images in downloadable PDF format. You can focus searches on portions of the paper, such as front pages, articles, editorials, photos, advertisements, wedding and engagement announcements, cartoons, birth and death announcements, reviews, and more. See the library's journal title finder for later content -- typically without illustrations or ads -- and remember that newspapers merge and/or change names.
- Atlanta Constitution (1868-1984).
- Atlanta Daily World (1931-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Baltimore Afro-American (1893-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Chicago Defender (1909-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Chicago Tribune (1849-late 1990s). New content added periodically to bring up to 20-25 years before present.
- Christian Science Monitor (1908-2004).
- Cleveland Call and Post (1934-2009). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Los Angeles Times (1881-1990s). New content added periodically to bring up to 20-25 years before present.
- Louisville Defender (1951-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Michigan Chronicle (1939-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- New York Amsterdam News (1922-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- New York Times (1851-late 2010s). New content added periodically to bring up to 3-4 years before present.
- Norfolk Journal & Guide (1916-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Philadelphia Tribune (1911-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Pittsburgh Courier (1911-1966) / New Courier (1966-2010). See options in ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection.
- Wall Street Journal (1889-2011).
- Washington Post (1877-2000s). New content added periodically to bring up to 15-20 years before present.
- America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1922 from ReadexCover-to-cover reproductions of 1,000+ US newspapers in PDF, including over 350 African-American newspapers, 1827-1999. You can restrict searches to article types (news & opinion, election returns, letters, poetry/songs, legislative activities, prices, advertisements, matrimony & death notices), and also by dates/eras, region/state, and newspaper name.
Some Readex papers include content later than 1922, notably:
- Roanoke Times, 1889-2018. (See "Current and historical" version in the Access World News database for more recent coverage.)
- Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1903-1986. (See "Current and historical" version in the Access World News database for more recent coverage.)
- Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk), 1865-1990. (See "Current and historical" version in the Access World News database for more recent coverage.)
- Washington Star/Evening Star, 1852-1981. Entire run of the most important paper in DC for most of the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Many papers in the Readex African American Newspapers sub-collection.
- Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers Free, searchable facsimiles of US newspapers published 1836-1922 and scanned from historic newspaper collections in each state. Search options are not as refined as commercial newspaper archives from Readex, ProQuest, or Gale. Some searchable collections of state newspapers (including Virginia, Pennsylvania, and California) include publications not included in the main Chronicling America. This list of portals to state-level newspaper digitization projects may help you identify such additional collections.
- Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers from Gale Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers provides full-text primary source newspapers as page images with individual articles as PDF. It encompasses the entire 19th century, with an emphasis on such topics as the American Civil War, African-American culture and history, Western migration, and Antebellum-era life. 1800-1899.
- Virginia Chronicle/Virginia Newspapers (from Library of Virginia) Virginia Chronicle is a historical archive of Virginia newspapers, providing free access to full text searching and digitized images of more than three million pages.
- Associated Press Collections Online from Gale Associated Press Collections provide primary sources in journalism. The U.S. City Bureau collection has wire copy, correspondence, and newsletters from the post-WW2 period. The Washington, DC Bureau Collection has records covering presidents, elections, political events, and biographies for 1938-2009. You can visualize term frequencies.
- Independent Voices Independent Voices provides alternative press newspapers and magazines, in image and PDF formats, from the last half of the 20th century.
- Black Life in AmericaA digital archive of journalism, Black Life in America explores the experience and impact of African Americans as recorded by the news media, 1976 to present.
During February 2023 only, this Newsbank content is cross-searchable with similar historical modules on trial from Readex, its parent company.
- Hispanic Life in AmericaThis database is available on trial only through March 17, 2023. Hispanic Life in America provides comprehensive coverage of the Hispanic American experience from the early 18th century to the present day sourced from more than 17,000 publications, including 700 Spanish-language newspapers and periodicals. An easy-to-use online resource—updated daily with new material—that illuminates centuries of Hispanic history, culture, and daily life. Please provide feedback on this database.
- American Indian Newspapers from Adam Matthew Digital American Indian Newspapers provides digitizes sets of print journalism from indigenous peoples of the US and Canada. 1828-2016.
- Service Newspapers of World War 2 from Adam Matthew Service Newspapers of World War Two contains an extensive range of both rare and well-known wartime publications for soldiers serving in major theatres around the world. Publications are included from many key nations involved in the conflict, such as the US, Canada, New Zealand, India, and the countries of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Both Allied and Axis publications are presented, offering a broad view of the war and the experiences of those on its front lines. 1939-1948.
- Meet the Press Archive (1947-2013).Meet the Press Archive (1947-2013). Decades of interviews from the archetypal of the Sunday morning TV news “talking heads” show. Part of the Alexander Street streaming video collection.
- C-SPAN Video LibraryThe C-SPAN Video Library records, indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational, research, and archival uses. Programs are indexed by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords, and location. The congressional sessions and committee hearings are indexed by person with full-text. 1987-present.
- Television Archive, 2009- (from Internet Archive) Newscasts and news-related programs from local network-affiliated TV stations in the US, with some international sources. See also Internet Archive's TV News content arranged under various categories and its audio archive of recent and historical News & Public Affairs radio broadcasts.
- NBC News Archives from Getty Images With some content dating to the late 1948s, the NBC News Archives is the oldest television news collection in the United States, featuring programs from NBC's news division and MSNBC. Segments can be viewed in the platform, but special licenses are usually required to download or reuse files. Browse within broad subjects or use the search box within the NBC banner image. (The top-of-page search box covers the whole Getty platform -- which is set up to market images and footage, with various kinds of licenses.)
Historical newspapers outside the US
- Gale Primary Sources: Newspapers[Select "Newspapers" in dropdown menu or individual collections in the light-gray "Selected Databases to Search" box.]
British newspapers offer the most comprehensive (though hardly unbiased) coverage available in English to world events from the 18th-20th centuries -- including many events in the US. You can cross-search Gale's British papers among themselves or with Gale's selected 19th century US papers (but not with any newspapers housed on the ProQuest, Readex, or other news platforms).
- 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers
- British Library Newspapers (1732-1950)
- Economist Historical Archive (1843-2015). Updates to to ~4 years before present.
- Financial Times Historical Archive (1888-2016)
- Illustrated London News Historical Archive (1842-2003)
- [London] Times Digital Archive (1785-2013)
- [London] Sunday Times Digital Archive (1822-2006)
- [London] Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive (1902-2019)
- 19th Century U.S. Newspapers.
- The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003) from ProQuest ProQuest Historical Newspapers editions of sister British newspapers on one platform: The Guardian (formerly Manchester Guardian) and the world's first Sunday newspaper, The Observer. Both papers are associated with the UK mainstream political left (social liberal and social democratic).
- Europeana: Newspapers Searchable archive of approximately 10 million pages of scanned historical newspapers from across Europe, 1618-1996. Searchable and browseable. Part of the Europeana portal.
- RetroNews - Le site de presses de la BnF RetroNews, the Press Archive of Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), provides free, page-image access to more than 400 newspapers, journals, magazines, and reviews published between 1631 and 1950. Platform, including "tutoriels" as well as content, is French-only.
- Russian/Soviet News Archives from EastView Archival and recent coverage of leading news sources in the former Soviet Union and Russia: Izvestiia (1917-2013) and (
- HNDM: Hemeroteca Nacional Digital de México [National Digital Newspaper Library of Mexico] HNDM has almost 8 million digitized pages from 941 newspaper titles between 1722 and 2006. Out of these, 516 titles (1722-1889) are open access. More recently published content 1890-2006) can only be accessed from inside the Newspaper Library’s facilities.
- Caribbean Newspaper Digital Collection Digitized runs of more than 300 Caribbean newspapers, gazettes, and other research materials on newsprint . A collection in the Digital Library of the Caribbean
- Open-access Global Press Archive from EastView and CRL The Global Press Archive Alliance between the Center for Research Libraries and East View Information Services provides several open-access archives to newspapers along with some papers that are restricted to affiliates of CRL member institutions like Virginia Tech. Reproduced in their local languages, these historical newspapers come from parts of the world that are not well covered by commercial vendors. Late Qing and Republican-Era Chinese Newspapers, 1911-1949 Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers, 1870-2019 (includes several papers that are VT [CRL]-only.) Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers, 1807-1899 Imperial Russian Newspapers, 1782-1917
- Trove: Digitised Australian Historical Newspapers and More Historical Australian newspapers in page image. Part of a larger gateway to Australiania by the National Library of Australia.
- PapersPast (New Zealand) Papers Past contains more than three million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1948 and includes 119 publications from all regions of New Zealand. Project of the National Library of New Zealand.
About text mining
- GDELT Project"GDELT Project is an open platform for research and analysis of global society" through mining news media from around the world published since 1979, in 100 languages. GDELT offers a free online analysis service of the Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone , Google BigQuery, and -- for digital humanities and computational analysis-- dataset downloads.
The availability of news content for text-mining and other computation analysis is extremely complicated.
- The library's vendors of historical archives generally permit text mining of those collections we have purchased. Talk to us before you contact the vendor, and allow time for negotiation before your research clock starts. Costs and contractual obligations vary. Assume that brute-force extraction from our vendors violates university policy, our contracts, and assorted laws.
- Open-access collections of publications that are out of copyright may be amenable to text mining -- Virginia Tech researchers have a long track record with Chronicling America, for example -- though they may not offer you much technical support.
- Providers of current news (eg, Factiva) usually do not permit text-mining and the like. They rarely own the copyrights of the news they aggregate.
- News publishers set their own policy about computational access to their content. Look on each paper's website about API access. The New York Times is very generous. On the other hand, the Washington Post is very restrictive.
Directories of online news archives, mostly free, from around the world
- Newspaper Archives, Indexes & Morgues Lengthy list of online newspaper archive portals in the US (including many -- but not all -- state-level projects) and abroad. Indexes online may help you locate materials in microfilm. "Morgues" are the clipping (or "vertical") files maintained in particular newspapers. From the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room at the Library of Congress.
- International Coalition on Newspapers: Digitization Projects ICON directory "highlights and links to past, present, and prospective digitization projects of historic newspapers" from around the world, both free and proprietary, in various languages. Arranged by country, then state/province. Links to fee-based resources will not work: use the VT journal-title finder to connect to that Tech subscribes to. From the Center for Research Libraries.
Recent news sources with some historical coverage
Most recent news collections start coverage in the late 1980s or later. Typically, they do not include the photos, graphics, other illustrations, nor advertising that appeared in original print, on microfilm, or in archival digital facsimiles.
- Access World News from NewsbankArticles selected from American and international newspapers, magazines, and transcripts (even video clips) of news broadcasts, sometimes as far back as 1978. Complete "image editions" are available of more than 100 newspapers, generally beginning in 2018 or later. These are same-day, color facsimiles of the print editions, including ads, legal notices, letters, comics, and crossword puzzles. The library has purchased additional archival image editions of
- Roanoke Times (1889-2018; 2018-present)
- Richmond Times-Dispatch (1903-1986; 2018-present).
- Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) (1865-1990; 2018-present).
- Factiva Factiva provides full-text news articles and business/industry information from newswires, newspapers, business and industry magazines, television and radio transcripts, financial reports, and photos from news services. News source coverage can extend as far back as 1979-present; financial data 1979-present; financial data 1960s-present. Most content is plain HTML, without illustrations, though other formats are available for export. Factiva is our best source for news coverage from sources outside the US, and/or in languages other than English or presented in non-Latin alphabets.
- Gale OneFile News Provides articles in plain text (with option to listen to synthesized reader) from newspapers, magazines, selected academic journals, and books. Some still images and videos as well. Formerly known as InfoTrac Newsstand. 1970-present.
- Newspaper Source Plus from EBSCOhost Newspaper Source Plus indexes citations, abstracts, and full text from more than 860 major newspapers from the US and abroad plus television and radio news transcripts. Like other historical materials on the EbscoHost platform, newspapers are hard to browse. Full-text articles are available in PDF format. 1985-present.
- Ethnic NewsWatch from ProQuest Ethnic NewsWatch indexes English- and Spanish-language, full-text articles from newspapers, magazine, and journals from around the U.S. and the world. News coverage is from Asian-American, Jewish, African-American, Native-American, Arab-American, Eastern-European, Appalachian, and multi-ethnic communities. Articles are available in HTML and PDF. 1990-present.
- General News on the Internet Web Archive Contains general news sites (June 2014 onward) with a focus on stories of national interest for all audience levels. The collection contains born-digital publications and publications that were once only available in print and are now only available online. The General News on the Internet Web Archive is an ongoing collecting effort of the US Library of Congress. "Many, if not all, of the Web sites in the collection and elements incorporated into the Web sites (e.g., photographs, articles, graphical representations) are protected by copyright. The materials may also be subject to publicity rights, privacy rights, or other legal interests."
- CQ Researcher Plus Archive Begun in 1923 as a service providing background information and pro/con arguments for American editorial writers, CQ Researcher Plus Archive is a window on hot topics in public life across the 20th century as well as a tool to make sense of today's controversies. It can function as starting point for background information, search terms, and topics to use in searching archived journalistic sources. Language and viewpoints in archived reports are products of their time and culture; a browseable "issue tracker" allow you to connect historical and recent discussions without needing to know or use obscure and possibly offensive search terms. Part of CQ Press Library collection of political, news, and reference works.