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Penn Libraries News

Over 450 million more pages of historical newspapers now available to the Penn community

Many of the newspapers are from the mid-20th century and many are from small cities and towns.

Clips from 6 different historical newspapers, show in a grid. Headlines in top row, left to right: "Dog Saves Canine Friend From Drowning In River," "The Wizard of Oz" "Chilled Waffle Wns Rancher's Wife Divorce." Headlines in bottom row: "Where Storm Struck in All Its Fury" "Unusual Weather—Flood Buries Cars in L.A." "M.P.H. Wind Lashes Ocean To Wild Fury"

This year the Penn Libraries began subscribing to and, which together provide over 450 million pages of historical newspapers. Students, faculty, and staff can use their PennKey to access these newspapers.

In 2002, the Libraries purchased the digitized backfile of the New York Times. This was an extraordinary advance that offered numerous research opportunities to students and scholars, who previously were dependent on print indexes and microfilm to find and read historical newspaper articles. Today, of course, hundreds of digitized historical newspapers are available through the Libraries and on the open web.  

Yet, not all newspapers are available online. For instance, many newspapers from the mid-20th century are still in copyright, which means that they are owned by people or companies that may not be inclined to allow digitization. This means that many public domain newspapers from the mid-1920s and earlier are digitized, and many “born digital” newspapers published in the 1980s and later are available online, but digitized newspapers from the mid-20th century are significantly harder to find. The newspapers that have been digitized, available through vendors like Proquest, tend to be those based in major cities. and help to fill this gap. Many of the newspapers available are from the mid-20th century and many are from small cities and towns. Interesting newspapers in these databases include the Kingston Gleaner, the Oakland Tribune, the Indiana Gazette, and the Chester Times.



October 4, 2023