Historic Newspaper Archive on Google

Sooke Freight! Vancouver Daily Post, 1865.

Via the Northwest History blog, I recently found that Google has been quietly archiving a large number of  historical newspapers, including many defunct ones from the west.  Old newspapers are a rich source of social history and can fill in some details of everyday life in the early historical period.  For example, it still costs me about 2 & 1/2 cents per pound to get my sorry self from Victoria to Leech River.  Or, see the table below from 1864 recounting the travel time and cost by stage or foot from New Westminster to the Columbia River. That’s better history than some dumb vote of useless politicians.

As Larry Cebula at Northwest History points out, Google has buried this feature somewhat.  There is a master list of all newspapers here, though, and you can work your way through that.  Many of the newspaper names are cryptic, though, and since I usually do the grunt work for you, here are some of the historic, often defunct, newspapers of particular interest to readers of this blog:

Call for tenders to construct the wagon road from Alexandria to Quesnel.

Why is the reserve land for sale in 1865?

The way to search these newspapers is via “Advanced Search“, entering the name of the newspaper in the “source” box (or just a key word – “vancouver” or “colonist” both work.  After the first search, there will be an obvious search box displayed along with the results, and you can just change your search term in that box.  Much easier. You can make a selection to show papers by month, year, decade, etc.  Decade is good to show if there are big gaps in the digitized series.  I searched some newspapers for terms like “Indian” and “antiquities” and “cairns” with mixed success.If more recent history is your thing, then the 1959 to 1980+ issues of Vancouver Island’s  Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle may be of interest.  And, there is a huge diversity and range of small francophone newspapers on the browsable list as well, disproportionately so.

Anyway, this is a ginormous time suck, so beware of that.

By wheel or foot from Coast to Interior in 1864.

One response to “Historic Newspaper Archive on Google

  1. I am really enjoying your blog. I now live in Alberta but I did much BC research for various guides during my 20 years in Vancouver. Your blog relates and fills in fascinating details. New subscriber, Constance Brissenden


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