Chronicling America is a website where you can find free digital copies of old newspapers and even download them as PDF files to your computer. The old newspapers are printed in the United States between 1789 to 1963. Newspapers used to be primary source of information back in the days. Now we have so much news online that the real news gets lost with so many different versions. Its been only a few years since we have had everything go digital along with the newspapers. In an effort to digitize this important part of American history and make it a searchable database this website came into existence. This is a joint effort from the Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Humanities.
The website lets you search through the collection according to date, state in which the newspaper was published, and keyword. Also, you can download these newspapers as PDF or can even print them. On the homepage of the website you will see a search bar where you can search for newspapers from a state or between a range of years. The homepage screenshot can be seen below.
Also, another cool thing you will see on the homepage in at the center of the screen, where you will see some images of digitized newspaper with the heading “100 years ago today”. It gives you such a weird feeling reading it. This was the news headlines 100 years ago on the same day. I found this section pretty cool.
The search bar can also be seen in the screenshot above, wherein you can search the newspaper archive by the state which the newspaper was printed in, or you can choose a range of years between which the search will be conducted, or you can search using a keyword.
There is also an advance search option which looks like the screenshot above. In this option you can select the state from which the newspaper is. Then select the name of the newspaper(s) which you are looking for, then you can also go ahead and specify the year range and date range of the newspaper you are looking for. You can also limit the search results to the font page only. You can also enter a particular phrase that you are searching for. The advanced search option narrows down your search and gives pretty accurate results.
When you click on the image of a digitized newspaper, it will open up on your screen as can be seen in the screenshot below.
You can easily zoom in on the page to read the entire article. Every detail on the page is visible when you zoom in. The toolbar at the top of the newspaper screen starts with option to zoom in and out, full screen mode, number of pages in the paper, go to next page option, etc. At the end of the toolbar you have options to download the digital copy of the newspaper. You can download the paper in PDF format, in JPG format, in text format, or download it as a news clipping.
This website is a great place for history enthusiasts, where they can find all the information they need for a particular day in history. It can also prove to be a great resource for teachers teaching history to students. They can actually hand out students a piece of article to read in class and have discussions upon.
I found this website pretty cool for various reasons. But this can be a great place for students to do some history research for their class, or even for teachers to teach history using these resources. I started reading the newspaper archives and it was a great feeling to know what was happening in the country about a 100 years ago or so. This a definitely visit website.
Check out Chronicling America here.