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In CGP Grey's video "The Race to Win Staten Island", he manages to open old copies of the New York Times for his research (around 1:20).

Where are these available? Can I also get old copies of the New York Times?

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The New York Times website has details of where copies can be bought on microfilm and CD-ROM:

Sources for Full Text and Abstracts of the Times

Full Text

  • Complete Archive: an online database of every article published in the final Late Edition of the Times from June 1980 through the current day. Available from Lexis-Nexis.

  • CD-ROM: a cumulative CD-ROM disk of every article published in the final Late Edition of the Times; it is published monthly with the final disk containing a complete year. A backfile of annual disks back to 1981 is also available. Available from UMI and in libraries.

  • Microfilm: every issue, page by page, since The Times began publishing in 1851; also available on microfiche since 1981. Available from UMI and in libraries.

Abstracts

  • Online: complete abstracts of the final Late Edition of the Times, fully indexed, from January 1969 to the present. Available from Lexis-Nexis.

  • Printed Index: The New York Times Index, a printed index to the final Late Edition with complete abstracts, is published twice monthly along with three quarterlies and one annual cumulation. A complete backfile dating from 1851 is also available. Available from UMI and in libraries.

Other than that, it will depend on where you are in the world. In the first instance, check with your local library.

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    Yes, pretty much any public library in the US will have an archive of local newspapers on microfilm/fiche. The Central New York system should be able to produce that for anyone (who shows up in person at least) upon request. – T.E.D. Oct 23 at 14:14
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    Before there were internet archives, CDs, or even microfilm there were libraries that kept actual newspapers, usually from their local area. Sometimes they would bind them, sometimes they would just stack them in order on shelves buried deep in the bowels of the library. These, of course, were used when it came time to make microfilm and CD-ROMs of the old papers. Furthermore, newspapers themselves usually kept archives of their own editions. – Jon Custer Oct 23 at 18:14
  • @JonCuster True, although many of those archives are being closed to the public as digitised copies are being made available. The British Library closed its newspaper archive which used to be at Colindale. It's a bit of a shame. Even though I know it is to protect the documents, and increasing numbers of those newspapers are now available online, I do miss handling the originals. – sempaiscuba Oct 23 at 21:36
  • I think that's a rather old NYT page, and this is the current one. There's another source: TimesMachine, which is accessible to all subscribers of the paper (subscription access may be available for free through a library) and has searchable and browsable page scans of every issue from 1851-2002. The normal NYT website also has archives going back to 1851, though full-text versions of everything may not be accessible without a subscription. – Zach Lipton Oct 24 at 0:15

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