NewspaperARCHIVE.comWe’ve always been keen on The Memory Thing–putting local news archives, genealogical information and similar items online. Who says a TeleRead-style library effort should involve e-books alone, as important as they are? For a hint of the possibilities, check out Self-description of topics covered:

What made the news in the 1700’s? What about world events on your birthday? Was your great-grandparents’ wedding announcement posted in their home town news? How about your ancestors’ obituaries?

Monthly membership is $12.95, and the yearly amount is $79.95. For your money you get access to a collection of small-town papers and some from larger cities, and that’s the catch–far from universal coverage. I’m baffled why, right on up front on the site, the company does not offer a link to a listing of items in their collection. Perhaps this will change as the archive grows. To the credit of the archive, it at least posts the complaints of readers, not just the positives, and that’s a plus.

All in all, I found this site to be a real trip–back to the past. I saw item after item of references to some old friends of mine from the newspaper business, and similarly I can see political junkies and civic activists using these archives for both practical and nostalgic reasons. Not to mention the K-12 potential for history classes and others! Want children to know how The Great Depression affected people locally? This just could be the place for them to go. Remember, we’re talking about searchable text here, not just the usual, hard-to-use microfilm collection. Suffering those horridly obsolete machines does not build character–just impatience with both the private and public sectors for not replacing them more quickly with a digital approach.

But back to Just please give the search box a good workout on sample words, especially the name of your city, to make certain you’ll get your money’s worth before you sign up for acess to the full text rather than just little preview snippets.


  1. Hi, Jeff. Sorry about your problems. We’re getting literally hundreds of spam comments each day.

    Please email me at and and send me a copy of the commejnts that didn’t get through. Since the above post mentions you, I’m eager to see you get space.

    Meanwhile best of luck with NewspaperARCHIVE. Glad to see you got some exposure in the W. Post. BTW, I myself can appreciate what a struggle it must be to negotiate with rights owners–something that of course will affect how complete you are. Keep up the good work!


    David Rothman (wearing his sysadmin hat)

  2. Hello, again Jeff. I’ll reproduce your letter below since the details may be of interest to certain readers of this blog. Again, apologies for the problem. – David


    Thanks for the response. I just wanted to thank you for the mention on your site and take just a minute of your time to make you aware of some of the new resources we have recently released to the public for free. I also just wanted to give you a quick glimpse as to our direction.

    As you are probably aware, in the past month we have launched a series of specialized collections pulled from our archive of digital newspaper images. We have been focusing our efforts around topics that we feel will lend themselves to a broad range of public interest, from historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln to current topics such as college basketball and professional baseball. Thus far we have completed 7 free special interest archives averaging anywhere between 15 thousand and 50 thousand digitized newspaper pages, and we are adding to the collection at the rate of 2 new sites per week. You can see examples at or I am planning on stepping up our production of these sites next month to somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 to 20 a month.

    Today we launched (I am especially proud of the work my staff put into this particular archive) and we will follow it up with on Thursday. I am just very excited by the direction we are heading with these sites.

    David, I would be willing to add additional archives tailored specifically to the interests of your readers, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please contact me. There would be no investment on your part aside from helping us promote the site. If it was ever reported about in a newspaper, we can build an archive on the topic. These sites will always remain free.

    The links below will take you to our other special collections; I have also included the link to our flagship subscription service (a paid site)


    Jeffrey C. Kiley
    General Manager

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