When I was a kid I did yard work for an elderly widow who had stacks of old newspapers magazines that she and her husband collected. Knowing that history was my strongest subject in school, she always had new, old paper (and a glass of fruit juice) for me whenever I came over to rake leaves, shovel snow, or mow the lawn. Looking at those old newspapers always sparked my curiosity about buildings, landmarks, and people in my hometown. One of those sparks of curiosity led me to figuring out who my favorite fishing pond was named after. 

The point of sharing that little story is that looking at old newspapers can inspire students to dive into a little local history research and gain a bit of knowledge about the formation of their communities as they know them today. To that end, here are three good places for students to browse through the digital archives of old newspapers. 

Chronicling America is digitized newspaper archive hosted by the Library of Congress. The Chronicling America collection contains more than 2,600 digitized copies of newspapers printed in the United States between 1789 and 1963. You can search through the collection according to date, state in which the newspaper was published, and keyword.

In the Google Newspaper Archive you will find hundreds of digitized copies of newspapers printed around the world. In the archive you fill find newspapers published in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. In this video I provide a demonstration of how to search Google’s Newspaper Archive. 

Last fall the Library of Congress launched a new search tool called Newspaper Navigator. Newspaper Navigator is an index of 1.5 million images published in newspapers between 1900 and 1963. You can search Newspaper Navigator by keyword and then narrow your results by date and or the U.S. state in which the newspaper was published. There is a highly detailed tutorial on how to use the LOC’s Newspaper Navigator right on its search page. In general, the Newspaper Navigator is easy to use. That said, it’s important to note that the search results are based on the tags associated with the images in the newspapers as opposed to the words on the pages themselves.

By the way, here’s the story of my favorite childhood fishing pond. 

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne’s) work include CloudComputin, Today Headline, and 711Web.

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