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State by State Newspaper Overview

FINDING FREE DIGITAL HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS ONLINE

Remember: to find what EXISTS (what papers were published in a given county or town) us Chronicling America's
Directory of newspapers published in the U.S. since 1690

Catalog of Digital Historical Newspapers (NewspaperCat) is a new tool "that facilitates the discovery of online digitized historical newspaper content from newspapers published in the U.S. & the Caribbean.  At this point it seems to mostly pull from the Google News Archive giving you a link to browse the papers (but if you want to search them you still have to do the Google domain search described below). 

Broad-based collections that do not require a subscription:

Chronicling America - all states

Elephind.com -  worldwide.  Elephind is a search engine devoted to finding the content in the free historical newspapers that exist online.  They are still small but have real potential.

Legacy.com has many contemporary obituaries


The FamilySearch Book Collection has many books of newspaper abstracts, obituary clippings etc.
 use your county, state or town and then try various terms:
obituaries, obits, funeral, news,   Also try searching the title of a newspaper you are interested in like "Sparta News" 

Don't forget the county genweb page - many have news abstracts

 
Google News Archive - searching is problematic but content is terrific.  Their main directory does not explain where papers are from - I have the links for them below in my free newspapers lists sorted by state and county.

  You cannot search a specific newspaper but if you know they have a paper you want go to the Google search box and type your search terms followed by  site:http://news.google.com/newspapers

example:  "William Walker"  site:http://news.google.com/newspapers


There are numerous guides on the internet to finding historical newspapers.  You can Google things like guide to historical newspapers etc. and will find of them.  None are complete but some are very helpful.

Some states do not have a large centralized collection so far - most have applied for grants and they will eventually begin the process but some are further along than others.

Alabama
First paper in the state: 1812: The Madison Gazette at Huntsville, AL

Alaska
First paper in the state: 1868: Alaska Times at Sitka, AK - it only lasted a few years
The Alaska Newspaper Project seems mostly in the planning stage at the moment but Alaska's Digital Archives does include some news stories, clippings and generally wonderful stuff in one place


Arizona
First paper in the state: 1858: The Arizonian at Tubac, AZ - later at Tucson
Major State/Regional Digital CollectionArizona Digital Newspaper Program

Arkansas
First paper in the state: 1819:  The Arkansas Gazette at Arkansas Post
Index Arkansas from the University of Arkansas indexes "selected newspaper articles" among other things
Major State/Regional Digital Collection:  Arkansas Ties is a database to clippings from the Arkansas Gazette 1819-1930

California
First papers in the state: 1833 at Monteray callled the Californan.  In 1847 the California Star at San Francisco.
Major State/Regional Digital CollectionCalifornia Digital Newspaper Collection

Colorado
First paper in the state: 1859 Rocky Mountain News at Auraria (now Denver)
Major State/Regional Digital Collection: Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection
My list of some free Colorado digitized newspapers

Connecticut
First paper in the state: 1755  The Connecticut Gazette at New Haven;  the first non-coastal paper began publishing at Hartford known as the Connecticut Courant
Major State / Regional Digital Collection: Newspapers of Connecticut from the Connecticut State Library
My list of some free Connecticut digitized newspapers

Delaware
First paper in the state: 1762 the Wilmington Chronicle but it was gone within the year. The next attempt was the Delaware Gazette in 1785 which was a weekly from Wilmington that was more successful.
My list of some free Delaware digitized newspapers

District of Columbia
First paper in the state: 1789: The Times and Potowmack Packet at Georgetown but the first major paper was the Daily National Intelligencer which began in 1800.
My list of some free District of Columbia digitized newspapers

Florida
Georgia
First paper in the state: 1763 The Georgia Gazette at Savannah
Major State/Regional Digital Collections: Digital Library of Georgia: Newspapers

Hawaii
Major State/Regional Digital Collections: Hawaii Digital Newspaper Program

Idaho
First paper in the state: 1863 The Boise News from Boise


Illinois
First paper in the state:  1809: The Illinois Herald at Kaskaskia and later Vandalia; it was the only paper until about 1818 when the Illinois Emigrant at Shawneetown began followed by numerous others that started in the 1820s
Major State / Regional Digital Collections:  Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - limited in regional scope but thorough if you are researching in this area.
Southern Illinois Newspaper Collection from the Illinois Digital Archives
My list of some free Illinois digitized newspapers
Really great article worth reading: Newspapers on the Illinois Frontier

Indiana
First paper in the state:  1804: The Indiana Gazette at Vincennes
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: 
Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana's Digital Newspaper Program
Newspaper Archives of Allen County Public Library - Fort Wayne area but many news items were from around the state.
INDEX: 1848-1888 Indianapolis Newspaper Database from the Indiana State Library  - they also have one covering 1979-1991

Iowa
First paper in the state:  1836:  The Dubuque Visitor from Dubuque, Iowa
My list of some free Iowa digitized newspapers

Kansas
First paper in the state: 1854: Kansas Weekly Herald  at Leavenworth. (thought there were some earlier missionary newspapers)
Major State / Regional Digital Collections:  Kansas Digital Newspapers
Kansas Memory includes many newspaper Clippings

Kentucky
First paper in the state: 1787: The Kentucky Gazette at Lexington.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Kentucky Digital Library's Historic Newspapers
My list of some free Kentucky digitized newspapers

Louisiana
First paper in the state: 1785: Le Courrier du Vendredi at New Orleans. First in English was the Louisiana Gazette in 1804 also in New Orleans
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Louisiana Newspaper Access Program

Maine
First paper in the state: 1785: The Falmouth Gazette and Weekly Advertiser at Portland
My list of some free Maine digitized newspapers

Maryland
First paper in the state: 1727: The Maryland Gazette  at Annapolis and the originals are at the Archives of Maryland Online
While there does not seem to be a large MD Newspapers archive online the Maryland State Archives has a wonderful directory to what newspapers were published including a search that will tell you what papers existed for given decades.

Massachusetts
First paper in the state:  1704: The Boston Newsletter was the first ongoing newspaper in the United States as well as Massachusetts.

Michigan
First paper in the state:  1809 The Michigan Essay but the first larger circulating newspaper was in 1817 with The Detroit Gazette.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections:Making of Modern Michigan Collection

Minnesota
First paper in the state:  1849: The Minnesota Register published at Cincinnati & the same year The Minnesota Pioneer published at St. Paul
My list of some free Minnesota digitized newspapers

Mississippi
First paper in the state: 1800: The Mississippi Gazette at Natchez
My list of some free Mississippi digitized newspapers

Missouri
First paper in the state:  1808 Missouri Gazette at St. Louis
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Missouri Digital Newspaper Project
My list of some free Missouri digitized newspapers

Montana
First paper in the state:  1864: The Montana Post at Virginia City
My list of some free Montana digitized newspapers

Nebraska
First paper in the state:  1846: Oinaha Arrow at Nebraska City followed by the Nebraska Republican at Omaha in 1854.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Nebraska Newspapers: Digitizing Nebraska's History

Nevada
First paper in the state:  1858: The Territorial Enterprise at Genoa followed shortly by The Silver Age at Carson City in 1860
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Cooperative Libraries Automated Network includes digitized newspapers
INDEXES: The Nevada State Library has links to a number of Nevada newspaper indexes

New Hampshire
First paper in the state:  1756  The New Hampshire Gazette published at Portsmouth

New Jersey
First paper in the state:   1775: The Plain Dealer at Bridgeton but it didn't last long and had little content. The New Jersey Gazette began in 1777 at Trenton with many more newspapers starting during or shortly after the Revolutionary War.
My list of some free New Jersey digitized newspapers

New Mexico
New York
First paper in the state:  1725: The New York Gazette.  Most of the earliest papers were of short duration and without much content.  By the 1820s more real papers were in circulation that name news happenings and people.  Most were close to New York City.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections:
Hudson River Valley Historical Newspapers  Currently Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Ulster & Westchester papers are digitized from earliest times onward.
New York Historic Newspapers
New York Heritage  (northern counties of New York)
Northern New York Historical Newspapers covers Clinton, Essex, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego Counties.  Many of the them go back very early and the search engines is very good.
Old Fulton Postcards - newspapers from all over NY - they key to success is to use the 
       EXACT PHRASE SEARCH from the pull-down that says "all of the words" 
Suffolk Historic Newspapers - over 200 years of Suffolk papers from the Suffolk Public Library in the coastal Long Island area.
My list of some free New York digitized newspapers

North Carolina
First paper in the state:   1751: The North Carolina Gazette at New Bern
The State Library of North Carolina has links to the largest NC digitized newspaper collections
My list of some free North Carolina digitized newspapers

North Dakota
First papers in the state:   1864: The Frontier Scout at Fort Union and in 1873 the Bismarck Tribune at Bismark.

Ohio
First paper in the state: 1796: The Scioto Gazette  it changed in 1800 to the Freeman's Journal and moved to Chilllicothe.  It is sometimes referred to as the official newspaper of the Northwest Territory.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Ohio Digital Newspaper Portal
My list of some free Ohio digitized newspapers

Oklahoma & Indian Territory
First paper published in Indian Territory after removal:  1844: the Cherokee Messenger followed by others published by the Cherokee Nation.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: The Gateway to Oklahoma History
My list of some free Oklahoma digitized newspapers
 
Oregon
First paper in the state:   1844: The Oregon Lyceum in Oregon City followed soon after by the Oregon Spectator also in the same general area.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Historic Oregon Newspapers
My list of some free Oregon digitized newspapers

Pennsylvania
First paper in the state:   1719 The American Weekly Mercury at Philadelphia and in 1729  Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette
Major State / Regional Digital Collections:
Access Pennsylvania Digital Repository
Pennsylvania Newspaper Project has a great list of free historical PA Newspapers
My list of some free Pennsylvania digitized newspapers

Rhode Island
First paper in the state: 1732: The Rhode Island Gazette though it was short lived. In 1759 The Newport Mercury or The Weekly Advertiser began.
My list of some free Rhode Island digitized newspapers

South Carolina
First paper in the state:   1732: South Carolina Gazette at Charleston (then Charlestown)
The Allen County Public Library has digitized an index to early South Carolina Newspapers at Archive.Org
My list of some free South Carolina digitized newspapers

South Dakota
First paper in the state:   1858: The Dakota Democrat at Yankton.
My list of some free South Dakota digitized newspapers

Tennessee
First paper in the state:   1791 Knoxville Gazette at Knoxville, TN
My list of some free Tennessee digitized newspapers

Texas
First paper in the state:   1813: Gaceta de Texas at Nacogdoches.  The first English newspapers started in the same area in 1820
Texas Digital Newspaper Program (from the Portal to Texas History)
My list of some free Texas digitized newspapers

Utah
First paper in the state:  
Utah Digital Newspapers
List of some free Utah digitized newspapers

Virginia / West Virginia
First paper in Virginia:   1736: The Virginia Gazette published at Williamsburg.
INDEX:  Historical Newspaper Index from the Fairfax Co. Public Library indexes ten local papers
My list of some free Virginia digitized newspapers
My list of some free West Virginia digitized newspapers

Washington
First paper in the state:  1852: The Columbian at Olympia
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Historic Newspapers of Washington from the Washington State Library
My list of some free Washington State digitized newspapers

Wisconsin
First paper in the state:   1833: The Green-Bay Intelligencer at Navarino (now a part of Green Bay)
My list of some free Wisconsin digitized newspapers

Wyoming
First paper in the state:   1867:  The Cheyenne Leader which started publication in Denver but moved to Cheyenne soon after.
Major State / Regional Digital Collections: Wyoming Newspaper Project
My list of some free Wyoming digitized newspapers

Canada
Our Ontario - 200 years of Ontario newspapers now online
My list of some other free Ontario Newspapers




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