I was just watching TV and playing around on the internet and stumbled upon a gold mine - FREE historic newspapers. The project is called Chronicling America and located at: http://www.loc.gov/chroniclingamerica/home.html
This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1897-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
Right now you can only view newspaper pages from 1897 to 1910 from the following states: California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia. I was so excited to see MY New York to be included in this project. They do plan on adding to the collection. The following is a write-up of their intentions.
The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between the NEH and the Library of Congress to provide enhanced access to United States newspapers. . Ultimately, over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and be freely accessible via the Internet. An accompanying national newspaper directory of bibliographic and holdings information on the website will direct users to newspaper titles available in all types of formats. LC will also digitize and contribute to the NDNP database a significant number of newspaper pages drawn from its own collections during the course of this partnership between NEH and the Library. The two agency partners launched a prototype of this digital resource, "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers," in March 2007.
NDNP will be implemented in several phases. In May 2005, the NDNP began its development phase by making awards to six state projects that are selecting newspapers published in California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia during the decade of 1900 to 1910. These projects are currently digitizing 100,000 pages, according to the technical guidelines outlined by the Library of Congress. Awardees will also be expected to contribute to the evaluation by NEH and LC of the program's future selection criteria, the technical specifications and requirements of the program, and the effectiveness of NDNP's initial interface for browsing and searching newspaper pages.
The Endowment intends to support additional projects in all states and U.S. territories provided that sufficient funds allocated for this purpose are available. One organization within each U.S. state or territory will receive an award to collaborate with relevant state partners in this effort. Previously funded projects will be eligible for continued support to digitize pages from new decades, as the program increases its chronological span.
NDNP builds on the foundation established by an earlier NEH initiative: the United States Newspaper Program (USNP). Since 1982, the Endowment has supported a cooperative, national effort to locate, catalog, and preserve on microfilm American newspapers published from the 18th century to the present. NEH has funded newspaper projects in all the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. When completed in 2007, USNP will have provided bibliographic control to widely scattered newspapers and have preserved on microfilm (to consistent national standards) selected titles from this vulnerable corpus. LC has provided technical assistance for USNP since its inception.