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How To Search

Many Newspapers, Several Websites

The newspapers listed on this website are actually hosted on several different websites, including nyshistoricnewspapers.org, hathitrust.org, archive.org and this one, nypl.sinewspapers.org.

On these websites, there are different ways to search, and different criteria you can use. There are also important things to be aware of that might explain weird findings and other mysteries. This page is your primer on all that.

1. The Advance, Leader, Democrat, and Independent on NYSHistoricNewspapers.org
The New York Historical Newspapers website provides access to a wide range of newspapers from across New York State, including the Advance and the Leader. You can go to the site (examples below) and search all of its newspapers, or you can click Advance or Leader here to narrow the search to one of those. Once you're on the site here’s what you can do:
  • Search by newspaper, date range, and keyword.

  • Search more than one newspaper at time, including all the papers in Richmond 

County (Staten Island) or across New York State.
  • Reduce the number of search results by adding keywords, or requiring them 

to be closer together in your article.  
  • Further reduce results by selecting "with the exact phrase."

  • Increase the number of results by selecting "with any of the words," although 
this may be too general to produce useful information.

2. More papers on nypl.org/sinewspapers
Several papers are held in Google Drive folders on this website.
Other papers include:
Some issues of the Advance (others are on nyshistoricnewspapers.org.)
The Staten Island World
The News Letter (St. George)
The Sepoy
Richmond County Sentinel
The Richmond County Gazette
The Staten Island Gazette

Look for the date of the paper in each folder. There is a directory to the dates in each folder at the top of the page. Downloading a pages enables a keyword search of each .pdf file using Adobe Reader. Downloading an entire folder (which is a very large file) enables a keyword search of the entire folder. This may take up a large amount of memory but enables a quick search multiple issues using Adobe Reader.

Searching the Staten Island World

3.The Mirror on Hathi Trust

The Hathi Trust is an online library that holds digitized books, journals, manuscripts, and other materials uploaded by universities, public institutions, and other organizations acting in partnership. There are over a million items to search through. If you only want to see editions of the Mirror, just click Mirror here. Once you’re on the Hathi Trust site, you can:

  • Search for a keyword in a newspaper by using the “Search in this text” searchbox.

  • Search for a keyword across collections and materials by using the “Search words about the items” searchbox.

4. The Staten Island Magazine on the Internet Archive
The Staten Island Magazine covered literature, science and news. Two of the magazine's contributors, Nathaniel Lord Britton and Arthur Hollick, were instrumental in the founding and early days of the New York Botanical Garden. The NYBG uploaded the magazine because of their writing about plant life, but there is much more to it. It featured the writings of several nationally celebrated Staten Islanders including George William Curtis, the editor of Harper's Weekly, and humorist Bill Nye.
  • You can keyword search the magazine on the Internet Archive by clicking magnifying glass icon marked with a red arrow below.

Weird Findings and Other Mysteries

We’re not talking about UFOs and ghosts here - although you might find those in the papers - but there are some things to be aware of. Explanations of some common questions are below. If you have others, please contact us.

  • Why is my keyword search failing? 

Because many early newspapers had poor print quality our scanner may have missed some words in the articles.  These words will not show up in your keyword search. If you know the date of your article you can look through the entire paper for that date.  It takes longer but you may discover some articles that your keyword search couldn't find.
  • Where are the pictures?

Older newspapers don't have as many pictures as most newer ones.  You can find pictures of many historical Staten Island and world sites in The New York Public Library's Digital Collections or Historic Richmond Town's Online Collections Database.
  • Where did an event take place?

Street  and neighborhood names may have changed since the historical newspapers were published making it hard to find the locations of old events. You can compare the maps in the NYPL Digital Collections to modern maps to find present locations. "Street View" in Google Maps can show you what those locations look like today.

  • Is this information accurate?

Reading old newspapers you may discover information you know to be wrong. There have been many advances in science since they were published. Sometimes there are opinions expressed that seem prejudiced or discriminatory to whole groups of people. These things give you a sense of how people at the time viewed their world.  It may be very different than how we think now.  If you are unsure of what you are reading is correct, check a more modern source for comparison.