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New York Times

Location: Micro Newspapers


Pickler Memorial Library has the complete run of  the New York Times (Late City Edition) on microfilm dating back to September 18, 1851.  The New York Times was published daily (except Sunday) from 1857-Apr. 20,1861; daily, Apr. 21, 1861 to the present except when it was suspended Dec. 12-28, 1958; Dec. 20, 1962-Mar. 1963; Sept. 17-Oct. 10, 1965; and Aug. 10-Nov. 5, 1978.

The New York Times was founded on September 18, 1851 by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones. The newspaper was originally intended to publish every morning except on Sundays; however, during the Civil War the Times started publishing Sunday issues along with other major dailies. Adolph Ochs acquired the Times in 1896 and coined the paper’s slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print” in 1897. In 1898, Ochs lowered the price of the daily paper to 1 cent tripling the circulation of the New York Times within a year from 26,000 to 76,000 and causing advertising revenues to soar. During the First World War the New York Times began to publish the texts of documents and speeches in full. The compilation of the New York Times Index ensured that the New York Times became the nation’s leading reference newspaper for students, librarians, historians, and journalists.

The newspaper is organized in three sections:
1.  News – includes International, National, Washington, Business, Technology, Science, Health, Sports, New York region, Education, Weather, Obituaries, and Corrections.
2.  Opinion – includes Editorials, Op-Eds, and Letters to the Editor.
3.  Features – – includes Arts, Books, Movies, Theater, Travel, NYC guide, Dining & Wine, Home & Garden, Fashion & Style, Crossword/Games,Cartoons, Magazine, and Week in Review.

Current paper issues of the New York Times (National edition) are available on shelves in the northeast corner of the first floor of Pickler Library.  A variant edition of the newspaper is available on the Internet as the New York Times on the Web.

Caveat emptorLOST CONTENT: Be aware that access to newspaper articles can be compromised. Here are two ways:
The Tasini decision. In September 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tasini et al. v. The New York Times et al. that freelance writers must be paid additional compensation if their work was included in an online database (i.e., LexisNexis). As a result, online database providers removed many freelance-authored newspaper articles from their databases. The opinion, however, doesn’t affect archival microforms that reproduce the entire edition of a periodical or other types of republication of individual articles by freelance authors in a reproduction of the whole collective work (periodical issue, etc.).
Different editions: Newspapers often publish different editions for different cities or regions of the country. Articles that appear in one regional edition do not appear in all. Some newspapers also publish separate geographical supplements with unique content. In addition, newspapers publish chronological editions; articles in the early editions may not appear in later editions and vice versa. Usually only one edition is microfilmed. Articles in an online database may not all be from the same edition. Pickler Library receives current issues of the National edition of the New York Times but the microfilm edition is the Late City Edition. 

How to search the collection

The following databases also provide indexing (not full text) for the New York Times (Late City Edition) EBSCOHost ( from 1989+) and Reader’s Guide Abstracts (from August 2, 1993+).

New York Times Article Archives 1851-the present  indexes over 15 million articles published in the New York Times from September 1851 to the present.  Users can search for specific articles by keyword or phrase, author, headline, date, or date range (dates need to be entered via the calendar and then manually changed to the date range you want.).  Searches may be limited to articles only or broadened to include advertisements and other listings.  The New York Times online Archive is now free back to 1987.  For articles prior to 1987,  you can use the citation information to locate the articles on microfilm in Truman’s library collection.

The New York Times Index  (in print) encompasses the news and editorial matter in the final Late City Edition of The Times – the same edition that is microfilmed – including the Sunday supplementary sections and including advertisements that are related to the news and likely to be of interest to users. The New York Times Index is located in the Microforms Room at Micro Reference AI21 N45. It includes the New York times index “Prior series” consisting of the original handwritten index for Sept. 18, 1851/Aug. 31, 1858, and the newly prepared index for Sept. 1858-Dec. 1912. When using the New York Times Index, follow these steps:

1. Choose index volume for desired year.
For certain years, make sure you are in the correct portion of the volume:
*1863-1905 Volumes split into quarterly or half-yearly portions. Check Table of Contents for applicable subdivision such as Editorial, Foreign, War, General, Miscellaneous, or News.
1913-1929 *Indexing for early years is idiosyncratic. Ask for help when you need it.

2. Locate desired topic.
All subject headings are alphabetical in uppercase bold type. All entries are chronological under each heading (except for headings where an alphabetical list of entries is easier, such as under “Deaths,” “Book Reviews,” or “Motion Pictures”). Significant news items are in bold type.

As of 1990, the section indicators (A, B, C, and I, II, III, etc.) match the actual system used in the newspaper itself. Before 1990, however, Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V, etc.) were used to indicate all sections, even if the sections in the actual newspaper were designated with letter (A, B, C, etc.)

The New York Times Index uses the words “see also” to suggest other subject headings under which more information on a topic may be found. These suggested headings may be followed by a date as in the example above. This date directs you to a specific article in the Index under that subject heading. A date alone is not enough information to locate an article.

3. Locate appropriate reel of microfilm.
Reels are filed chronologically in microfilm boxes on shelves at the rear of the Microform Reading Room.

Subject Searching Tips
Terminology changes over time, ask for help at the Reference Desk  when you have difficulty finding your term. Examples:
1. If searching for articles on Black Americans, the subject heading: “Blacks (in US)” has been used since 1977. For earlier articles, search under: “Negroes”
2. The names of governmental agencies change over time. For instance, the Department of Health and Human Services can be found under: “United States–Health and Human Services, Department of” (from 1980 forward). But it was formerly part of the Department of Health, Education & Welfare (1953-1979) and would be found under: “United States–Health, Education & Welfare, Department of (HEW)” for those years. But it was part of the Federal Security Agency before that so you would look under: “United States– Security Agency, Federal (FSA)” for pre-1953 articles, and so on.

Pickler Library also has the New York Times Obituaries Index (Reference CT 213 N47 1858-1978).


Guide to the Incomparable New York Times Index — by Grant W. Morse (Micro Reference AI 21 N453 N67)

For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:

New York Times.

New York Times -- History.

New York times -- Indexes.

Time Period: 19th Century   20th Century  

Subject keywords: Literature, Popular Culture, U. S. History, Journalism