This isnt a matter of accuracy or fairness, but its certainly one of the most common questions I hear from readers. In fact, I fielded two similar questions today. One read:
By Derek Donovan
The Kansas City Star
I am trying to access archived newspapers from the 1960s and 70s but only see (archives back) to 1991 on this site. What would be a way for me to access Kansas City Star papers from that time?
However, that historical content covers 1880 to 1922, 1940 to 1946, 1949 to 1950, added to the contemporary database of 1991 to the present. 1991 is when The Star began archiving in native digital format. The older dates have been scanned and converted to text. Its an awfully accurate database, by the way. Ive tried to stump it many times, and its found pretty much anything Ive thrown at it.
So what about this readers request for the 1960s and 70s? To find that content, youre going to have to go to an old-school method: microfilm.
Public libraries either have or will be able to borrow reels of both The Kansas City Star and Times. Times content goes back to 1871, before it was owned by The Star.
Getting the film is easy. Finding stories is not, especially if you dont have a fairly good idea of when something ran.
If you know when a person died and youre looking for an obituary, thats usually pretty simple. Request the film for the week or so after the date of death, and youll probably find it.
But to use a recent example, if youre looking for a story about a car accident that happened some time in the late 50s, thats going to be a heck of a research job. In fact, it might be insurmountable.
Microfilm research is very taxing on the eyes, as the film winds past you on a backlit screen. Im one who gets motion sickness when I do too much of it, and thats common.
No joke: Id advise taking an over-the-counter motion sickness medication before you try to tackle a microfilm search if youre prone to getting carsick or seasick.
Good luck and happy searching.