Seattle Times at the Seattle Public Library

If you live in Seattle, you’re probably familiar with The Seattle Times newspaper. You may scan the paper each morning to keep abreast of breaking news and recycle it the next day, its value gone with the printing of the next issue. However, headlines from 20, 50 or 100 years ago can provide a fascinating look at the culture and politics of our city throughout its history.

The Seattle Times grew under the ownership of Alden Blethen and his family and has a rich history. Prior to Blethen, the newspaper had undergone several name changes and mergers to become the Seattle Times as we know it today. 

The Central Library has archives of the Seattle Daily Chronicle (1881-1884), Seattle Daily Call (1885-1886), Seattle Daily Press (1887-1888), Seattle Press (1886-1891), Seattle Times (1889), Seattle Press Times (1891-1895), Seattle Times (1895-1896), Seattle Daily Times (1896-1966) and  Seattle Times (1966-present). We offer these titles in a variety of formats: loose print, bound print, microfilm and digital.  

For the most part, the pre-1900 issues have been bound as folios; these are wonderful to see and feel, although the paper itself is getting more brittle each year. Unfortunately, acid free paper was not used back in those days. Visitors to the Central library can read current issues of the paper in the Living Room and on Level 6 , where a 4 month print archive is maintained until the microfilms are received. 

The microfilms are on Level 9, where four microfilm scanners are provided for public use. Printing from microfilm is 15 cents a page, or you may bring in a USB flashdrive and download the scans for free. We also have an 11×17 printer which is good for printing full page images. Please stop by at the Level 9 desk to ask about using these microfilms.

In the Seattle Room (Level 10), we maintain the Northwest Index card file which is useful for looking up important events or people in our region.

Recently we have added two databases to our collection that will enable you to access archives of the Seattle Times from any computer outside the library. These may be accessed through the library’s web page. The Seattle Times Historical Archives provides digitized images of the issues from 1900 through 1984, while the Seattle Times Archives database provides full text articles to issues from 1985 through present. Join us again tomorrow for a blog about the Seattle Times Historical Archives.

For additional reading about the Seattle Times and stories from the newspaper, check out 100 Years of a Newspaper and its Region. It includes photos, pictures and stories as published in the Seattle Times. These are organized by topics and arranged in chronological order.

We look forward to assisting you with the rich history of our region’s newspaper!

~ Jennifer Y, Central Library

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