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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Historical Newspapers for Historical Fiction Writers

Today I thought I would share. I'm not a historical fiction writer although I should probably give it a go since I live and breath history on a daily basis. (I prefer to write murder mysteries.) I've been a government appointed historian since 1997. The first 10 years for the town of Alabama,NY and since 2007 as the Assistant Wyoming County (NY) Historian. The historian's office has produced a quarterly publication called Historical Wyoming since 1947. So I write a lot of local history, in fact, right now I'm working on an article about 1870s bank robbers.

One of the most valuable resources for a writer who wants to get the time period right for historical fiction are newspapers, right from the time period of when events really happened. It is also a great way to see how much things cost, what was popular in fashion, current technology and what people were most concerned about.

Most newspapers of the day had the world news on the front page and the local info on an inside page. Why? Because everybody already knew everybody's business. They wanted to know what was going on in the rest of the country and the world. Most of these are New York State newspapers but that's OK because the world news is the same.

These are not transcriptions but images of the actual newspaper pages that you can print or download in PDF format. Use your printer options so you can "print selection" of a particular article unless you want to print out the whole page. Don't forget to note on your printout the newspaper name and the date for future reference. Here are a couple of my favorite newspaper links.


The name is deceiving as the owner of the site started out with postcards and branched out to newspapers. Most people call it after its URL name of "Fulton History". There are millions of individual pages now. Our office sent all our microfilm to be digitized. All the Wyoming County, NY newspapers we have on film are now on this site.

To use the search engine for the best success type what you want to look up between quotation marks. For example: "Joseph Appleton" otherwise you will get everyone named Joseph and also everyone with the last name of Appleton as hits. Of course you can also research events. Click on the FAQ_HELP_INDEX link at the top right of the page to see the list of newspapers they have. They begin about 1820.


This site is exactly as the title suggests. You will have to search each one of the seven counties individually, however, you can search all the newspapers in that county at once or separately. When you click on a county a drop down list of newspapers will be visible including their publication date. Time range is 1811 to 2010.

This site is helpful if you are researching the St. Regis Reservation (also know as Akwesasne) or the Mohawk Indians as the reserve is on the St. Lawrence River and straddles the border on both sides. The majority of the information most likely being in the newspapers of Franklin and St. Lawrence counties.


Not a newspaper site but worth mentioning for historical research. I get lost at this place. It is a digital library of free information of text, audio, video,  books, photographs and a lot more. I love downloading books from here as they are available in any format you need. I have downloaded several out of print history books in Kindle or PDF format I can find no other place.

So there you go now get cracking on researching that next great historical novel!

This is post #8 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, thanks.



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