In the North Carolina Room we have hundreds of rolls of microfilm of local newspapers dating back to 1828. And we have a couple of state of the art digital microfilm readers to run them on. The problem with getting full use out of them has been that, apart from some pretty crude and very partial ones, there are no indexes, so you had to know the date of an event in order to find the coverage.

A few years ago we had a patron who worked in Greensboro who would come in fairly late at night after work. He was looking for a relative who died in the 1920s. He had no date, but he was certain that there had been an obituary, because he had seen it many years before, although it had since gone missing. He came in week after week for months, until he had gone through the entire 1920s, without finding what he was looking for. So he started over, and thank goodness, found it the second time through.There is hope that that sort of ordeal may soon be in the past.

Retired Sentinel editor Jim Laughrun, who is working on a project documenting all local newspapers, mentioned that I might want to take a look at I was busy with other matters at the time, but this week began to explore the site.

It is a pay site, $7.95/month, $79.95/year. But you can sign up for a free 7 day trial. You will have to give your credit card/debit card info, but you will not be charged until the eighth day, so if you don’t like it, be sure to cancel on the seventh day.



There is a short learning curve. There are tutorials to help you…I skipped those and just experimented, because that is the way I learn, but I have been doing this for 30 years. A tip: if you are interested in newspapers published in Winston-Salem, on the main search page in the “keyword” blank, type Winston-Salem and all Twin City papers will come up, ready to be searched. If your interest is in another city, type its name in. You can restrict your search to particular newspapers or dates or date ranges.


Regional Republican

Here are the 20 Winston-Salem papers available, with the dates and number of pages for each:

The Broad Street Worker (1894)  4
The Business Guide  (1906-07)  887
Carolina Gazette (1841) 4
The Daily Pilot (1883-84) 443
Elite (1900) 84
The Enterprise (1885-1915) 40
The Farmer’s Reporter (1832-36) 26
The Independent Supplement (1885) 4
The Little Typo (1885-89) 28
The News (1883-85) 20
The Piedmont Advertiser (1890) 20
The People’s Press (1851-92) 7,618
The Progressive Farmer (1886-1904) 8,477
The Union Republican (1874-1922) 15,502
The Twin-City Daily Sentinel (1892-1923) 53,401
Weekly Chronicle and Farmer’s register (1836-37) 84
The Weekly Gleaner (1828-29) 214
The Western Sentinel (1857-1922) 16,605
The Winston Leader (1879-85) 1,252
Winston-Salem Journal (1898-1923) 61,719

Note that the latest date is 1923, for the Journal and the Sentinel…I assume that that is a copyright issue. And some of the entries are pretty skimpy. But if what you are looking for happened between 1851 and 1923, there is a very good chance that you will find something about it, and maybe a lot more. In just one afternoon of exploration I have printed out about 80 pages of stuff that will require serious upgrades to several blog posts…they were originally correct as far as it goes, but the new information found will provide a major supplement to the originals…and one egregious error in one of our most popular blog posts that will require a mea culpa post of its own…that might take a little while as I try to run down the source of the error…I think I already know…


Secessionist…later conservative southern Democrat

I will try to have this source added to our free links, or better yet, to NC Live, so that all North Carolinians can access it free…it covers several hundred Tar Heel state newspapers, dating back to the 18th century. But I expect that there will be some sort of big license fee standing in the way…we shall see.


National Republican

Meanwhile, if you are interested, go to and sign up for a free one week trial.

Here is a crazy little story I stumbled upon today while looking for something else. Western Sentinel 29 Aug 1895, front page: