For me at least, sites like NewspaperArchive.com are what the internet is all about.
Recently I put Twentieth Century (1934) into the MovieMeld, but did so in a much more detailed way than my usual Meld articles--after all, this is still a pretty new site, so I'm experimenting with form in a lot of areas. Anyway, the post includes some excerpts from some of the relevant movie titles I have on hand, but I was looking for period information. For this I did what I've done previously and searched through the archives of Time Magazine (free) and the New York Times (both free and premium offerings), both of which were invaluable to me when setting up my Warren William fan site.
Then I found NewspaperArchive.com. Truth be told, I don't believe I used them for the Twentieth Century piece itself, as I got distracted by a search for Warren William items. The funny thing is, I'd really discovered them sooner than that, as when I went there now to find a banner and inspect their affiliate program I discovered I was already an approved member (yes, the banners here are affiliate links). I can't believe I didn't look deeper into the site then!
Here's how NewspaperArchive.com describe themselves:
NewspaperARCHIVE.com, the largest historical newspaper database online, contains tens of millions of newspaper pages from 1759 to present. Every newspaper in the archive is fully searchable by keyword and date, making it easy for you to quickly explore historical content.
There's a free version of the site, but of course I wanted full access so I signed up for a month on the spot at $11.99 to try it out. There's also an annual plan at $5.99/month (billed annually), which I expect to upgrade to when my first month expires. Especially with the VintageMeld rolling along eating up topics across time I expect the NewspaperArchive to be an invaluable source moving forward.
An extra bonus offered at sign-up are two newsletters, The Daily Perspective and Beyond the Headlines. I'm really enjoying The Daily Perspective so far, as it takes an approach to history similar to a portion of what I do here at times, breaking down today's specific date across time, supplemented by the original news sources. Each daily issue also includes notes on the bottom on what papers have been added to the archive the previous day--yes, they're adding them daily!
Recently I designed the business cards for the VintageMeld and included a tagline I hadn't used before which can now be found at the very top of the home page: Collect the Past | Collect Your Past. NewspaperArchive.com takes a similar view to the past as myself, and possibly yourself as well. To get ideas about how to use the site one doesn't need to go much further than the Affiliate page itself, which suggests targeting your ads to users with specific goals such as Years, Crime, California, Death, Murder, Headlines. Genealogists take note, the home page includes search entry fields for first name and last name--think of what you could do with that.
You can drill search down by year or a selection of years, exact or selection of dates, location beginning with state down to town. You can search generally, by exact phrase, you can exclude terms from your search. To return to one of my original examples, I search Warren William and my search must include the term Skyscraper Souls, an early film of his. NewspaperArchive.com returns 315 results. Now let's say I want to drill that down further to the original period, excluding articles mentioning later television airings or video releases and the like, so for this 1932 film I'm going to drill my search down to between 1931 and 1933 which should cover the time from pre-production through it's full theater run. I'm down to 286 results. Finally, let's assume I'm looking for information about the Hollywood premier of Skyscraper Souls, I drill my search down to include only California papers and I'm down to 26 results.
Clicking on the first result, from the Oakland Tribune, August 13, 1932, I receive a page looking like this:
While it's a little small for you to see details what you can see is that the original page of that particular newspaper is reproduced over the bulk of the page in a PDF document. The original search term, Warren William is highlighted inside the document in blue. There are options to save the page to your computer, or save it online in your Filing Cabinet on NewspaperArchive.com. Just above the paper you are presented with the option of paging through this entire newspaper, or returning to your original search. You can also add a print of the page to your cart for purchase (honestly, haven't checked this out yet, but I'm here more for information).
I'm going to choose to return to my original search and refine it. I'm curious to see what was said of Skyscraper Souls in later years, perhaps I'm interested in seeing how it was perceived in a later television airing or maybe, since it's a popular title for the actor, I'm hoping it can help zero me in on a later biography of him. I adjust my years to the year William died 1948 to present date, 2009. 6 results. Oh wait, I'm still filtering for California only, let's get rid of that search the entire universe of papers. 26 results, mostly television listings.
It's not perfect, though I'm sure I still have more to learn myself. The universe of newspapers is far from complete, the New York Times for instance is here, but only from 1857-1909, so don't think a NewspaperArchive.com subscription gets you around the fee the Times charges on articles which aren't public domain. But the site does provide a big enough base to make any term search worthy. For example, if you're looking for later info from the Times, why not try try the defunct New York Herald, which the site archives from 1869-1972. If you're looking for something specific, perhaps only interested in a few newspaper titles, there is a link on their main navigation bar Browse Available Newspapers which allows you to drill down by state, and city if you wish, to see every available newspaper title as well as the available years for each specific title.
NewspaperArchive.com is a researcher's dream come true, absolutely the best source I've seen for hunting down original period information from first generation sources. Whether you're researching a book, your family, your neighborhood, a specific story or person, NewspaperArchive.com is going to spit back pages of valuable information. As I said at the open, to me, this is what the internet is all about.
Even better, they're running a 7-day free trial right now, if you have any interest, you almost have to give them a try: