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U.S. Newspaper Collections at the Library of Congress

Historical Newspapers

Hank Aaron (photo thumbnail)
[Hank Aaron, three-quarter length portrait, sprawled across table in locker room, reading newspaper].1955. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

This section of the guide provides an overview of the historical U.S. newspaper collections held by the Serial & Government Publications Division and served in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room (NCPRR) at the Library of Congress. "Historical," for the purposes of this guide, is defined as newspapers published during the 17th through 20th centuries.

The American newspaper collection spans 1690-present, and titles are held in microfilm, print, and/or digital formats. The Division does not have every U.S. newspaper ever published, but there are newspapers from every state and territory, including over 9,000 individual titles. Scroll down or click on the section linked below to explore the collections:

Contact us using our Ask a Librarian service to help you identify which titles are available from a certain time and place, and in which format(s). If we do not have the newspaper you need, we can help you locate it elsewhere.

Print Collections

The historical newspaper collection in original print format is comprised of 37,954 bound volumes, 18,979 rare 18th-century volumes, and over 50,000 individual portfolio issues. See the "Historical Newspaper Lists by Century" section below for lists of titles organized by place and available dates. Additionally, newspapers are cataloged by title in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Collection materials must be requested through a paper call slip in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room, or requested in advance of a visit by using our Ask a Librarian service. Please note that, when available, microfilm or digital formats will be served in place of original print out of concern for the long-term preservation of the collections. Newspapers in original print format are not available for Interlibrary Loan.

Original Print Bound Volumes Collection

This collection is comprised of original print newspaper issues bound in volumes that are held in either remote storage or on-site in the Serial and Government Publications Division. For detailed holdings of bound newspapers, including location information, please search the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Items in remote storage are indicated by "Ft. Meade" in the call number. To request bound newspapers from remote storage, be sure to Ask a Librarian in advance to confirm holdings.

Portfolio Collection

The U.S. newspaper portfolio collection is comprised of individual, original print format newspaper issues and stored in large archival folders (portfolios). The Division holds portfolio collections for most U.S. states. To search the Library of Congress Online Catalog for a list of portfolios, conduct an Advanced Search, entering the state and "portfolio" in the search boxes, like this:

example portfolio search

Narrow your search further by adding limits such as "Location in the Library" (Newspaper & Current Periodical) and "Type of Material" (Periodical or Newspaper). Call numbers generally have "X" at the end as an indication. ex: "Newspaper 8829-X: portfolio

Microfilm Collections

The Division's newspaper microfilm collection consists of over 785,000 microfilm reels. Some of the most requested titles are immediately available in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room (see below). The vast majority of the collection is held in closed stacks and must be requested by filling out a paper call slip, indicating the call number, title, and dates of issues required and submitting the request at the Circulation Desk. Delivery time is generally within 30 minutes.

The lists below provide merely a starting point for finding out which titles and dates are available, and the lists are particularly useful for finding out which newspapers are available from a certain city or state. Search the Library of Congress Online Catalog for specific titles. Dates of holdings are noted by the "Older Receipts" at the bottom of catalog records, and titles will have a call number indicated by "Newspaper Microfilm ---."

Self-Service Microfilm Collection

The following newspapers are readily available in the reading room in the self-service microfilm cabinets. These titles do not circulate through interlibrary loan.

Newspaper Title Available Dates
Baltimore Sun May 17, 1837 - November 30, 2017
Chicago Tribune April 23, 1849 - December 31, 2017
Financial Times January 1924 - November 29, 2019
London Times January 1785 - November 30, 2019
London Sunday Times November 3, 1822 - November 24, 2019
New York Times September 1851 - February 28, 2019
Philadelphia Inquirer November 7, 1860 - February 28, 2018
San Francisco Chronicle January 16, 1865 - April 30, 2018
Wall Street Journal July 8, 1889 - October 31, 2018
Washington Star December 16, 1852 - August 7, 1981
Washington Star News Index 1850, 1870, 1880, 1894 - 1973
Washington Post December 6, 1877 - February 28, 2018

Chronological Index to Microfilm (1940-1989)

This resource lists U.S. newspapers from 1940-1980 on microfilm available for use at the Library of Congress. All entries are alphabetically arranged by state abbreviation, city, and title.

Newspaper Lists by Century

18th Century American Newspapers

18th Century Maryland Gazette

The 18th-Century American Newspapers in the Library of Congress website reflects the Library's holdings of pre-1801 American newspapers as of February 2, 1996. The list consists of individual newspaper titles arranged alphabetically by state, city, and newspaper title. The numbers in the title index and the name index (including printers, publishers, and editors) refer to entry numbers, not page numbers. This list also contains print and microform holdings.

This list is meant as a starting point in research and does not necessarily reflect the Library's current holdings. Please refer to the Library of Congress Online Catalog for the most up-to-date holdings information.

19th and 20th Century Original Print Bound Volumes

These lists, also linked from the left-side navigation panel, is based on an inventory of Library of Congress holdings that was conducted in Summer 1998. Arranged alphabetically by state, then city, the lists include the bound volume control number, total volume count, and summary holdings for each title. The lists do not provide detailed holdings; the dates listed may have unspecified missing issues.

Alabama to Guam

Hawaii to Louisiana

Maine to Nevada

New Hampshire to Puerto Rico

Rhode Island to Wyoming

This inventory is meant as a starting point in research and does not necessarily reflect all of the Library's current holdings. Please contact reference staff through Ask-a-Librarian to confirm holdings.

Digital Collections

An ever-growing amount of historical newspapers are being digitized, though not nearly every newspaper ever published has or will be digitized. Digitization is an important preservation measure and it improves discoverability of newspaper content: digitized newspapers are typically word-searchable, while microfilm is not (it must be examined page by page). Some historical digital newspapers will be found freely available online, while others are available through subscription resources. Checking to see if a newspaper has been digitized will often require consulting several different sources.

There are ongoing efforts to digitize and provide free access to historic newspapers through the Library of Congress website. Digital newspaper collections include the following resources:

The Library provides access to many subscription-based digital resources that are available to researchers while they are on-site. See this list of historical newspaper databases in the Library's E-resources Online Catalog. Listed below are a few of the most commonly used databases for researching historical newspapers. The description indicates whether a database is limited to "On-Site Only," or if there is "Free Access" available. There are several public computer terminals in the reading room, or bring your own device and connect to the Library's Wifi. View the Library's Terms of Use for its electronic resources.

Historical Newspapers Research Guides

The following Research Guides produced by the Serial and Government Publications Division provide more information on historical newspapers at the Library of Congress.

Authenticating Old Newspapers

Some of the most frequently asked questions we receive in the NCPRR relate to authenticating old newspapers. Newspapers are an important aspect of a community's collective memory, and saving clippings or entire issues that cover significant happenings is a common behavior through time and place. It is exciting to come across an old newspaper in an attic or at a yard sale or auction!

While there are very few historical newspaper issues with significant monetary value, some retain important artifactual value. Although reference staff neither authenticates nor appraises items, we do provide information about a number of significant newspaper issues through "Information Circulars." These circulars were compiled by experts in the Serial & Government Publications Division and have been formatted into a guide: Original or Reprint? A Guide to Noteworthy Newspaper Issues.

The Division accepts newspaper donations following evaluation of several factors, including the physical condition of the issue(s), long-term preservation considerations, and how the newspaper fits within the scope of the larger collections. For more information, please Ask a Librarian.