Newspapers are sometimes referred to as “the first draft of history.” Events, both significant and personal, are recorded on their pages shortly after they occur. It makes them a valuable resource for capturing the tone of the times.
Now you can have thousands of newspapers dating back hundreds of years at your fingertips. Newspapers.com is a website that has archived entire papers from the United States and several other countries going back to the 1700s. The Times-Tribune (which is a partner of the site), as well as several earlier Scranton papers, are included in the archives.
If you are the family historian, a student researching a project, or anyone else with an interest or need to scour the past, this site is a terrific resource. There are three options for using the site:
- A free seven-day trial
- Basic subscription for $7.95 per month or $44.95 for six months
- Publisher Extra subscription for $19.50 per month or $74.90 for six months. This option includes extra content.
- $4.95 for The Times-Tribune archives per month and $19.95 for six months
The site is organized around search functions. There are four sections you can use in your search:
Search is a simple search field where you can enter in names, events, places or any keywords to browse the entire collection. An advanced option lets you narrow your search by date and location. Putting quotes around your keywords narrows the search even further. Results can be organized by best match or date. Family births, deaths, weddings, career moves and more are all recorded. If you use Ancestry.com, you can save search results directly to your account there.
Browse lets you select specific dates and newspapers to search. You start by selecting the country, then state, city, paper, year, month and day. Thumbnails of all the pages of that date’s paper are displayed. You can zoom, pan, adjust the brightness and contrast, and rotate the pages. You can then clip and save or share specific articles from the pages.
Papers displays thumbnails of all the papers on the site in alphabetical order. On the left side of the page is a timeline and a map of the United States. You can select a range of years on the timeline and states from the map to narrow the papers shown. You can then search just in those selected papers.
Clippings is a collection of articles saved by other users or yourself. You can choose to follow users or even specific newspapers. Newspapers.com will send you an email when new activity is detected by those you follow, or if a saved search turns up something new.
Newspapers.com is easy to use, and it’s easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of history. You can spend hours looking up family members, favorite places or historical events. Reading about them in the language and context of the time they occured gives you a different insight than a history book will.
Kevin OʼNeill has been a staff artist for The Times-Tribune since June 1993. In addition to doing illustrations and infographics and designing pages for the paper’s print and electronic publications, he writes InSites, a weekly column about websites and apps. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5212