How to find online newspaper archives between WW1 to WW2 (1920s and 1930s)

How to find online newspaper archives between WW1 to WW2 (1920s and 1930s)


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I can't find any online newspaper archives between World War 1 and World War 2, except for the Chicago Tribune Archives, but their scans are so blurry that most words can't be read. During the early 1940s, the scans seem to be better quality. I'm trying to read actual newspaper clippings from the 20s and 30s, particularly matters relating to Germany, or Europe and America in general.

Edit--- My interest is a love for history and understanding how World-War Issues (post ww1 and pre ww2) were covered/reported (as they occurred) to the public, for example, stories of Adolf Hitler's rise to power as they were reported in American or British newspapers, Mussolini etc.


One possibility for UK newspapers is the British Newspaper Archive. They have several subscriptions available and a pay-per-view option.

You can also find some information in the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes. These are sources for official UK announcements ("published by Aythority"). You can access historic copies for free.

Several of the genealogy sites, such as Ancestry and FindMyPast offer newspapers as part of their subscriptions. I'm not sure how well their collection covers the rest of the world. Most of these sites offer periodic free access weekends if you're able to wait.

Family Search has compiled a list of Digital Historical Newspapers. You can try checking the list for different locations around the world and different time periods.

Hope that helps.


The pursuit of family history demands a step by step approach, beginning with family tradition and documents and passing on to main and then to supplementary record sources. The most successful way to use records is to consult the main sources first, working backwards in time from the most recent information to establish a framework which can be filled in from supplementary sources.

With very few exceptions private documents are not kept in our Archives. Photographs for passports are not archived.


Radical online collections and archives

I am very interested in the growing amount of radical literature from around the world that is being scanned and digitised. As there are so many and from many different places, I thought it would be useful to make a list. All of those that are included are free to access (there are others that require some form of subscription). If there are any that I have missed, do let me know, either by commenting below or sending me an email.

Arbeiter Zeitung (Social Democrat Party in Austria newspaper)

Archivo Fundación Pablo Iglesias (Spanish socialist historical documents)

Avanti! (newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party)

Banned Thought (collection of global Maoist literature)

Bibliothèque Marxiste (French communism and Maoism)

BnF Gallica (various links to French Communist Party papers)

British Ally (Soviet newspaper from WWII)

Camera Arhiva (Romanian publications from Cold War era)

Camp Ink (Australian gay rights journal)

Commonweal (Socialist League newspaper)

De Nieuwe Tijd (Dutch social democratic journal 1890s-1910s)

Der Kampf (Austrian socialist journal)

De Tribune (Dutch Communist Party newspaper)

Devrimci Sol (Turkish Marxist-Leninist insurrectionism)

De Waarheid (paper of the Dutch Communist Party)

Die Rote Fahne (paper of the German Communist Party)

Digital Innovation South Africa (including Communist Party and ANC material, as well as Searchlight South Africa)

Dziennik Polski (regional Polish paper from communist era)

Faschismus (German language journal of the International Transport Workers Federation, published during Spanish Civil War)

Freedom archive (US and international material from 1960s-80s)

Gegn fasismanum (Icelandic Anti-Fascist Committee in 1930s)

Geroicheskii Pokhod (Red Army newspaper in WWII)

Het Volk (newspaper of Social Democratic Workers Party in Netherlands)

Il Risveglio (Italian language anti-fascist newspaper in post-war Australia)

Independent Voices (US Alternative Press archive)

Iskra Research (pre-October 1917 Russian Marxist journals)

Ismail (links to indexes of scans of Soviet literature on archive.org)

Jólablað verkakvenna (Women’s section of the Communist Party of Iceland)

Joseph A. Labadie Collection (radical documents with US focus)

Kabul Times (English language newspaper of Afghan Government, including after People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took power)

Kapitalistate (radical economics journal 1970s-80s)

Kommunar (Russian journal from early 1920s)

Krasnyy Arhiv (Soviet historical journal)

Leftove.rs (collection of various left/radical collections from across the web, including Race Today, Big Flame and Spare Rib)

Left Side of the Road (Albania, China, Palestine docs)

LIDIAP (List of Digitised Anarchist Periodicals)

Modern Records Centre at University of Warwick (featuring collections on Chilean Solidarity campaign, journal of the Fire Brigades’ Union, the 1926 General Strike, the Russian Revolution in Britain, British involvement in Spanish Civil War)

Noticias de Hoy (Cuban Communist Party newspaper)

Oparinskaya Iskra (Soviet journal from Kirov region)

Pioneer (Soviet journal for children)

Rabochaya Gazeta (RSDLP exile paper in Paris)

Rabotnitsa (Russian socialist women’s journal from 1914)

Rauði fáninn (Icelandic Young Communist League)

Rauðir pennar (Icelandic Marxist literature journal)

Rebel Archive (leftist newspapers, primarily Spanish language)

Rise Up! (Canadian feminist archive)

Robarts Library (University of Toronto collection – assorted communist publications)

Rudé Právo (paper of the Czech Communist Party)

Samstaða gegn her í landi (Icelandic anti-militarism paper from 1970s)

Socialist Workers Party (Australian SWP via Parlinfo)

Sovétvinurinn (Friends of the Soviet Union in Iceland)

Sparrow’s Nest (UK anarchist and Nottingham centred activism)

Splits and Fusions (British Trotskyist history)

The Militant (Australian Trotskyism in 1930s)

The Socialist (Victorian Socialist Party, 1906-1923)

The Spark (Communist Party of Canada)

The Struggle Site (Irish anarchism documents)

Tribuna (journal of the Society for the Land Arrangement of Jewish Workers in the USSR)

Vapuas (Finnish Communist newspaper in Canada)

Varaždinske Vijesti (Yugoslav paper in Croatian)

Vooruit (newspaper of the Belgian Workers Party)

Wits Historical Papers (includes material on Communist Party of South Africa and ANC)


Flashback : Dallas

Ad from the 1883 Dallas directory… (click for larger image)

Two of the most important resources I use in delving into Dallas history are newspaper archives and city directories. A couple of years ago I wrote about how to access the indispensable online historical archive of The Dallas Morning News, beginning in 1885 (that post is here ), but I haven’t written about how to use the equally important database(s) containing scans of Dallas city directories, beginning with the 1875 directory.

1888-1889 Morrison & Fourmy’s Dallas directory

There are two ways to do this online: for free, and as part of a subscription (pay) service. I started out by accessing the directories through the Ancestry website, which you have to pay for/subscribe to. It was only recently that I discovered that (as far as I can tell) the exact same directories available on Ancestry are accessible through the Dallas Public Library website — for FREE. All you need is a library card. (You must be a resident of the City of Dallas in order to qualify for a library card. There is more about who can get a library and how one must do this — it requires physically going to a branch with proof of residency — I’ve included this information in that earlier post, here .) (There are a few free online sources which require no library card and no subscription — see those at the bottom of this post.)

Once you have your card and have registered for an account at the Dallas Public Library website , here’s what you do next:

  • Log into your account, here
  • Click on “DATABASES” at the top
  • Scroll down, click on “GENEALOGY”
  • Scroll down, click on “HERITAGEQUEST”
  • Click on “CITY DIRECTORIES” at the top (you will be able to search through many city directories from around the country, not just the ones from Dallas — and, as you can see, there are all sorts of other interesting databases here, too, such as census records, etc.)
  • Enter the name you’re looking for and, voilà.

So why are these directories so useful?

Not only can you determine when someone was living in the city, you can see where they lived, what their occupation was, the name of their spouse, and, in some cases, the race of the person (which, while somewhat disconcerting, can sometimes be quite helpful, especially if the person you are looking for has a common name — up until the 󈧘s or so, African-American residents and black-owned businesses were followed by “(c)”). (All images shown here are larger when clicked.)

There are also ads, like the one at the top taken from the 1883 directory showing Thomas Marsalis’ wholesale grocery business. Ads are not only interesting, they can contain a lot of information, and, in some cases, a drawing or photograph of the business or proprietor.


1878 C. D. Morrison & Co. directory

Typical business listings look like this:


1891 Morrison & Fourmy’s directory

For me, one of the most useful things I find about these directories is the section containing the street directory. There are city directories covering more than 140 years of Dallas history, and there are a lot of street names you come across in researching a person or a place that no longer exist, have changed names, have the same name as a street in a different part of town (there used to be a lot of street names duplicated in Oak Cliff before it became part of Dallas), etc. These street guides tell you the names of everyone who lived/had businesses on the street (or at least the name of the head of the household or owner of the business), and it gives the names of all cross-streets. An address of 400 Main Street was not in the same location in 1950 as it was in 1900. (See this post on when and why Dallas street numbers changed.) One of the resources I use most is Jim Wheat’s easy-to-navigate list of street names from the 1911 directory (it’s faster and easier to use than one of the actual directories!), with links to the pertinent scanned page — these pages show you not only the 1911 address (which is often the same address used today) but they also show you what the address was BEFORE the number changed. I can’t tell you helpful this has been for me. (See an example here , which shows that before the number changed, 1400 Commerce was 324 Commerce.)

Pages from the 1905 street guide:

One bit of warning: many of the scanned directories that are online are only partial directories — and some years are missing altogether. The directories from the early 1940s, for instance, are a big headache: some have only 20 pages scanned — one wonders why they even bothered. Inevitably, the pages you need (and need badly) are ones that are not available to you, and you will, verily, let fly words your mother would not approve of. Sometimes you can get around the missing data by jumping to the street guide section or the business listings to see if useful info can be found there, but sometimes you are just going to be completely out of luck. This is when a trip to the Dallas Public Library (or possibly just a polite email to an ever-helpful librarian) will help you fill in the blanks, connect the dots, and get that swearing under control. I think they have a complete — or near-complete — set of city directories, either in hard-copy form or on microfilm. ( UPDATE: Many of the incomplete directories mentioned above — issued between 1936 and 1943 — are available fully-scanned, for FREE, at the Portal to Texas History. See link at bottom of post.)

You will find so much useful information in these directories that your head will spin. Right off your neck. In a good way. But it’s also just enormous fun to browse them and imagine what the city used to be like in, say, 1889 when that year’s list of the city’s almost 150 saloons looked like this .

Sources & Notes

HeritageQuest is the service that provides access to scanned U.S. city directories to libraries across the country (it appears to be the same content the genealogy site Ancestry offers its members). This service is available free to holders of library cards. If you do not live in the City of Dallas, check to see if your local library system subscribes to this HeritageQuest database.

Here are a few other free online sources offering Dallas directory info — and these are available to everyone:


Visual Cues and Clues: Looking ON the Photo

Photograph of Researcher in the Central Search Room of the National Archives Building. 64-PR-20-1, NAID: 74228254 In this edition of Visual Cues and Clues, let’s step outside the box and explore photographs from a different angle. Instead of looking at what’s in the photograph, let’s explore what’s on the photograph. Markings, emblems, and logos sometimes &hellip Continue reading Visual Cues and Clues: Looking ON the Photo


How to find online newspaper archives between WW1 to WW2 (1920s and 1930s) - History

As radio storytellers, we know the power recorded sound has to transport listeners to a specific time and place. The popularity of YouTube has made it easy to locate a vast amount of historic audio-visual content, but not everything is on YouTube or easily surfaced through Googling.

Here are several other places to look for archival audio clips:

American Archive of Public Broadcasting: With over 40,000 digitized recordings from public radio and television, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting is a portal to 60-plus years of both nationally distributed and locally produced programming. In addition to what’s available online, you can access over 50,000 more digitized audiovisual items on location at the Library of Congress or WGBH, as well as search a catalog of over 2.5 million metadata records for content not yet digitized.

British Library Sounds: The British Library has made 50,000 of its 3.5 million sound recordings available online. Content includes interviews and oral histories nature sounds music and historic audio from pioneers of recorded sound. Before using British Library Sounds in your story, please review their legal and ethical usage statement. You may need to request a license.

C-SPAN: Since 1979, the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network — better known as C-SPAN — has provided an unfiltered view of American politics. The network has made more than 250,000 hours of content available online, spanning Presidential speeches and press conferences Congress the Supreme Court original programming on American history and live streams.

The Internet Archive: The Internet Archive is a vast collection of text, audiovisual material and software, which can make searches overwhelming. We have identified a few particularly useful collections where you can easily find relevant audio:

AdViews: Thousands of television commercials dating back to the 1950s-1980s from the D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Archives can be found at the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

TV News Archive: Searchable, closed-captioned broadcast television news from 2009-present. Includes both cable and network news as well as international broadcasters. Ideal for when you’re making a montage of reports from a major event, looking for interview clips or searching for mentions of a name or place.

Universal Newsreels: Public domain newsreels produced by Universal Studios from 1929 to 1967.

News & Public Affairs: This collection includes WWII-era recordings public and private presidential speeches public police and fire scanners and radio programming.

Old Time Radio: Radio dramas, readings, WWII news and musical performances dating back to the 1920s. This material is available through Creative Commons licensing, so please review usage terms of each program before using audio in your piece.

Pacifica Radio Archives: Non-commercial, listener-supported radio programming spanning “documentaries, performances, discussions, debates, drama, poetry readings, commentaries and radio arts” from the second half of the 20th century.

Prelinger Archives: Public domain commercials, public service announcements and educational films dating back to the 1890s.

Studs Terkel Radio Archive: Studs Terkel was a master of conversation, as exemplified on his WFMT radio show, which aired 1952-1997. A collaborative effort between the Chicago History Museum, WFMT and the Library of Congress, the Studs Terkel Radio Archive features numerous publicly available sound recordings and transcripts. NOTE: Before using any audio, please write to archivist Allison Schein Holmes at [email protected] describing your project and audio requests.

Sports Clips

Do you need tape of that announcer’s catchphrase or a replay of a winning touchdown/goal/shot/home run? The NCAA, ACC, PAC-12, MLB, NBA and NFL have excellent collections of sports broadcast highlights, as does ESPN.

Not on deadline?

There is a wealth of media resources that are not immediately available online. Try searching these databases for that impossible-to-find clip. Please note that turnaround times may be upwards of two weeks, and digitization and licensing fees likely apply.

Keep in mind …

It may be fastest to reach out by phone or email for help searching these sources. A media relations person, archivist or researcher will be able to quickly point you in the right direction — and maybe even deliver your clip by deadline.


What is available online?

The British Newspaper Archive website gives access to over 40 million fully searchable pages, featuring more than 1,000 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland, and some overseas titles.

Full text searching is available. You can refine your search to focus on:

  • Family notices &ndash birth, marriage and death notices related announcements such as engagements, anniversaries, in memoriam, birthdays and congratulations
  • Obituaries &ndash a wealth of contemporary information on the lives of notable individuals and ancestors
  • News articles &ndash national events, along with issues of local and regional importance &ndash the first draft of history and a window into the world of the past
  • Illustrations &ndash photographs, engravings, graphics, maps and editorial cartoons
  • Advertisements &ndash including classifieds, shipping notices and appointments
  • Letters &ndash letters to the editor written by readers &ndash illuminating contemporary debates, aspirations and anxieties

Searching the collection

Search for newspapers using the library catalog.

  • Search by city and title of newspaper (e.g., Granite Falls Tribune) or by the city and "newspapers" (e.g., Granite Falls newspapers)
  • Limit your search to newspapers by clicking on the Genre option in the left-hand "Modify my Results" menu, and then select "Newspapers" from the listing
  • From the results list, click on a title to learn more from a newspaper’s catalog record
  • Once in catalog record for a newspaper title, look under the "Location Items" heading to get detailed listings of the microfilm rolls under that section. Click "Show more items" to see more, repeating as needed.

Find Newspapers

The University of Illinois Library has a large newspaper collection, with newspapers available in different formats: original print, digitized, or microfilmed. To find newspapers in our collection, use the UIUC Newspaper Database. This database enables you to identify newspaper titles by place of publication, date of publication, intended audience, or subject of newspaper. When you search the Newspaper Database, you are searching bibliographic records that describe newspapers in our collection you are not searching the actual newspapers.

Use this guide to locate digitized newspaper collections&mdashcollections in which you can perform keyword searches. This guide also features several major newspapers that have been digitized, but for the most part this guide emphasizes digitized newspaper collections. To identify more newspapers that have been digitized (many in collections not included here), search the UIUC Newspaper Database: use the &ldquoFormat&rdquo limit and restrict your search to &ldquoOnline&rdquo newspapers.

Photograph credit: &ldquoTwo Students Reading the Miami Herald&rdquo. From: University of Florida Archives, Special Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, UF00030618:00001


Military Resources

Mississippians have a long history of serving in the armed forces. Materials documenting this service occur throughout the archives’ collections. Government records include Confederate records, State Auditor’s Confederate pension files, Military Department/Adjutant General series, Veterans’ Affairs Board records, and U.S. military records. The archives has nearly 400 manuscript collections associated with the different wars in which Mississippians have served. The Mississippiana collection includes military history books as well as indices to service records and pension rolls. The archives also has many photographs with military subjects. All of these materials are searchable in the online catalog.

The archives has microfilm copies of service records for Mississippians in the War of 1812 (1812–15), Mexican War (1846–48), Civil War (1861–65), and the Spanish-American War (1898), and draft registration cards for World War I (1917–18). The archives also holds Mississippi World War I statement of service cards, 1917–19.


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