Skip to Main Content

Newspapers at the BPL: Home

Newspaper resources at the Boston Public Library and beyond.

About Newspapers

This guide attempts to bring together in one spot links to and descriptions of the newspaper resources of the Boston Public Library and those beyond our own that would be of particular interest to our users. The resources, available in printed form, on microfilm, and as digitized images comprise one of the larger collections in the library. In addition to newspapers, this guide also includes links to several other news-related subjects. It is not intended as a guide to pursuing newspaper research. There is no advice on evaluating sources, no hints on preparing citations for newspaper articles, no tips on tracking down dates or subjects. This guide barely addresses the enormous digitizing projects occurring across the world.

Newspapers are a primary source for contemporaneous accounts of events. Their editorialists and columnists play a major role in shaping public opinion, whether on independence from Britain in the 1770s, the abolition of slavery in the 1850s, or any of the controversies in the public sphere of the 21st century. Newspapers document business matters, entertainment, culture, births, marriages, and deaths. They play a role in the marketplace with advertisements, shipping news, legal notices, and stock prices. They are the raw documents for history.

Massachusetts Newspaper History Spots

  • Edes & Gill:  Boston's colonial era printing press experience located in Fanueil Hall along the Freedom Trail,  Benjamin Edes and John Gill were the proprietors of the Boston Gazette


  • Museum of Printing Haverhill, MA preserves the history of graphic arts, printing, and typesetting



  • The Newspaper House in Rockport, MA (1922) was built by Elis P. Stenman with the doors, walls and furniture made of varnished newspapers


Newspaper Row

In 1895 the papers along and near "The Row" were:

  • American Cultivator,                       220 Washington
  • Army and Navy Register,              258 Washington
  • Beacon, 295 Washington
  • Boston Budget,                                  220 Washington
  • Boston Commercial,                        206 Washington
  • Boston Courant,                                325 Washington
  • Boston Daily Advertiser               248 Washington
  • Boston Daily Standard,                   39 Franklin
  • Boston Evening Record,                248 Washington
  • Boston Evening Transcript,          324 Washington
  • Boston Globe,                             236-244 Washington
  • Boston Herald,                           255 Washington
  • Boston Journal,                         264 Washington
  • Boston Post, 259 Washington
  • Boston Times, 29 Hawley
  • Boston Traveler,                            307 Washington
  • Commercial Bulletin,                    282 Washington
  • Republic, 243 Washington

Boston: Birthplace of American Journalism

The Boston Journalism Trail is an excellent

resource outlining Boston’s journalistic history which was 

developed by Manny Paraschos, PhD., retired Professor

and Graduate Program Director of the Department 

of Journalism, Emerson College.                                              

  • Boston Journalism Firsts
  • Interactive Map
  • Key sources on the history of Boston Journalism
  • Newspaper Row
  • Other Boston Firsts and Highlights of Boston Journalism

First multipage newspaper published in the colonies by Benjamin Harris

The First Newspaper Published in America

This was the first newspaper published in America, which was more than a single sheet, or broadside.  Although the definition of a newspaper does not require multiple pages, Publick Occurrences is generally regarded as the beginning of the modern printed newspaper in the colonies.  This format continued through the 20th century as the predominant form of published breaking news.     



Newspaper Row Postcard Photo (Boston Public Library Prints Department)

When Bostonians refer to "Newspaper Row" they mean the relatively short section of Washington Street along which many of the city's newspapers were once located.

What is a Newspaper?

                                                                                   word Newspaper in old English type

A serial publication which contains news on current events of special or general interest. The individual parts are listed chronologically or numerically and appear usually at least once a week. Newspapers usually appear without a cover, with a masthead, and are normally larger than 297 mm x 420 cm (approximately 12 x17 inches) in size. This is the definition according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

(Conser [Cooperative Online Serials] Cataloging Manual, 33.1, 2006)