For anyone interested in the past, old newspapers are a delight, offering glimpses into the nuts and bolts of daily lives long past and connecting us intimately to the things that communities once saw as important and interesting. They reveal not just what people used to talk about, but also how they talked about the things that mattered to them—how they shaped stories to make sense of their world.
And for anyone who delights in old newspapers, the digital revolution and the proliferation of searchable, full-text databases like Chronicling America, a partnership of NEH and the Library of Congress, have brought a world’s worth of treasures right to our computers and tablets.
So notes historian and journalist Andie Tucher in Humanities. (The majority of my own research has been centered in 19th and early 20th century newspapers.) She provides a fascinating example of the diversity of coverage–and thus complexity of understanding–of a single story in New York City in 1904. You can find her entire article here: Those Slippery Snake Stories | Humanities.