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Movie still with Captain Kirk screamingWith apologies to those unfamiliar with the famous Star Trek moment shown at right (Captain Kirk memorably shouts “Kahn!” in utter apoplectic rage) this scene came to mind when I considered the subject of today’s post: newspapers. They’re the recurring, troublesome, interesting and indispensable tenant of libraries and archives everywhere. They’re brittle, oversized, hard to store, costly to preserve, unwieldy to scan and yet absolutely imperative for researchers. The scans are hard to OCR and a challenge to present in a browser (view by article? page? issue?). Not to mention all of the issues we only have on microfilm, with the originals long ago lost, so that any complete digitization project requires not one but multiple workflows. But enough about that …

That’s why I wanted to quickly assemble in one spot all of the newspaper resources I am familiar with in North Carolina. I know what you really want is all of them scanned and online (believe me, I’d love it too). Until that happens, I hope these links help:



While the Newspaper Index (pdf) is very popular in our digital collections, I urge you to instead try the more complete and easier to use Newspaper Locator. Excerpted from a previous post, the locator is: “Free to all and … locates newspapers in time and geographic space. Users can search for titles by specific counties or those surrounding them, city, date or date range, or by a newspaper title itself.  Once a newspaper has been located, users may request the microfilm reels through their local library’s interlibrary loan service. We lend newspaper microfilm to libraries throughout the continental United States.”

Still trying to find an elusive issue?

UNION LIST of NORTH CAROLINA NEWSPAPERS: Out of date and only including 1790-1900, this volume may help those trying to track down hard-to-find newspapers.

ANNUAL REPORT of the NC DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND PRINTING: The NC Department of Labor and Printing printed a list of all North Carolina newspapers in annual reports from 1893-1926. Here’s an example in the 1908 volume. We have all of these in our Digital Collections, and you can also find them in the Internet Archive for a different viewing interface. Of course there’s no guarantee that the paper you locate is extant. If we don’t have it (see the Locator above), I’d recommend using WorldCat as a great place to start looking. I’d also suggest North Carolina university libraries/archives, especially those closest to where the newspaper was produced.

ASK SOME EXPERTS: Our staff of reference librarians are friendly and knowledgeable, and are happy to help you locate a North Carolina newspaper or answer other questions about North Carolina and southern history, genealogy, and government. Contact them for help!

Know another not-to-be-missed free North Carolina newspaper resource? Share it with our readers in the comments below.

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