Times Archive,
June 23, 2008 6:50 AM   Subscribe

Every issue of The Times published between 1785-1985, digitally scanned and fully searchable. (Via Wordorigins.org.)
posted by languagehat (45 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
To read all the articles in the Times Archive you need to register with Times Online. This is a simple process which takes only a few minutes. During our free introductory period, registered Times Online members can read unlimited numbers of Archive search results, browse through every copy of The Times published between 1785 and 1985, and save, print and email articles of special interest.

Still, pretty cool. Going to make steampunk easier. Wait...I can't even link to the search, let alone the article.

Pepsi Screw You Too
posted by DU at 6:58 AM on June 23, 2008

Holy shit! Adolf Hitler is dead? Next they'll be telling me James Brown is, too!

But seriously, thanks languagehat, for bringing this to our attention.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:58 AM on June 23, 2008

Oh ... this will burn up a lot of free time I don't have.
posted by RavinDave at 7:03 AM on June 23, 2008

I didn't know they published the LA Times that far back...

posted by Mister_A at 7:03 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

How come when I search for UFO and order by date I get 2,972 results all the way back to January 7, 1785?
posted by Mutant at 7:06 AM on June 23, 2008

Interestingly, I've got a copy of The Times that my grandfather bought from a newspaper stand the day I was born (and which he had properly preserved), a repro newspaper that the Times offered up about 15 years ago, and now this one here...

Each of the three is different to the others. I can only assume that they're different edition runs or from the different print plants (IIRC, The Times is printed in London, Manchester and Edinburgh...)

I'll have to get myself a trail subscription to this thing and then do a proper comparison...
posted by twine42 at 7:06 AM on June 23, 2008

posted by vorpal bunny at 7:07 AM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]

I must be missing something obvious, but I can't figure out how to register for the Times. Or attempt to log in using bugmenot, either. There are places that say "click here to register" but it's just plain text, not a link. And the "My Profile" page, which also allegedly contains a way to register, is unhelpful.
posted by jedicus at 7:07 AM on June 23, 2008

I registered 10 minutes ago and still haven't gotten an email. Is the server based in 1785 too?
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on June 23, 2008

I'm now thinking that (a) I put the 'Interestingly' in front of the wrong paragraph and that (b) 'Interestingly' is only true for a given value of 'interesting'...
posted by twine42 at 7:08 AM on June 23, 2008

OCR of old newsprint is understandably terrible, thus leading to lots of false and missing results for keywords. Still, this is a good good thing, and I hope somebody comes back and posts when they get the Sunday Times up, as well.
posted by steef at 7:18 AM on June 23, 2008

The Statutory General Meeting of Metafilters (1929) Ltd, was held yesterday at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:24 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thanks, fabulous.
posted by OmieWise at 7:39 AM on June 23, 2008

Whats been fascinating to me since I moved to London is being able to type in my *exact street address* and getting a hundred hits all from people or businesses that have inhabited this very house since it was first built around 1800.

So, yes, thanks!
posted by vacapinta at 7:44 AM on June 23, 2008

You know, one day in about 40 years or so I'll be talking to my grandkids about the time that you actually couldn't search every bit of information on the internet. They probably won't be able to grasp the idea of not having all information available at your fingertips.

However then I'll tell them we could get into our petrol powered cars and drive into forests, just to make them jealous and a little bit sick in the mouth.
posted by sebas at 8:00 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

Bugmenot gets me into this just fine, thanks lh!
posted by jessamyn at 8:05 AM on June 23, 2008

You know, one day in about 40 years or so I'll be talking to my grandkids about the time that you actually couldn't search every bit of information on the internet.

This is already a problem. My wife and I occasionally marvel to each when one had to go to the library to, for instance, look up a business address. I mean, that's crazy, right? Just google it.
posted by DU at 8:28 AM on June 23, 2008

This is way too cool and is going to waste way too much of my time. Damn you languagehat and your damn FPP!!!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:38 AM on June 23, 2008


To be LET, a neat convenient HOUSE, Comprising a good Parlour, Kitchen, and Scullery, four Lodging Rooms, large Cellars, and small Garden; within five minutes walk of the Borough; Rent Thirteen Guineas and Taxes. –Enquire at No. 2, Barlow Row, Long Lane, Southwark.

This is well worth the notice of any Family the size of it will suit.

In 1789, the classified ads sounded like poetry. What a treat! Nice one, languagehat.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 8:39 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Disappointingly thin on celebrity columnists in 1789 though.
posted by rhymer at 8:54 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Angry letter from Tom Paine's neighbour complaining about him attracting the Church and King mobs and lowering the price of property, though.
posted by Abiezer at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2008

Oh great. Just when I was going to settle in and shelve the modem and actually get some work done today. Thanks a lot, LH.

[this is what the web is for... brilliant]
posted by jokeefe at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2008

Okay, I figured it out. You have to try to edit your profile settings in order to get the login screen. Weird.

One of the first things I looked for was reporting on the constitutional convention, since coverage doesn't go back quite far enough to include the revolution. I noted with some humor that the letter from George Washington on November 1st, 1787, which presents the full text of the constitution is signed (emphasis added):
With great respect
We have the honour to be,
Your Excellency's most
Obedient and humble servants,
posted by jedicus at 9:33 AM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]

The Austro-Hungarian Heir, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated yesterday morning at Sarajevo. The assassin is described as a high school student, who fired bullets at his victims with fatal effect.

Those kids could always get off my lawn as it turns out.
posted by psmealey at 9:42 AM on June 23, 2008

Thanks for posting this - I'm already discovering family history!
posted by patricio at 9:42 AM on June 23, 2008

Very cool, thank you.

Thank you too for not referring to it as The London Times.
posted by jontyjago at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2008

Thank you, languagehat.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:23 AM on June 23, 2008

Thank you too for not referring to it as The London Times.

I would never do such a thing, but I felt obliged to put londontimes as a tag for those who might search on that.

Glad y'all are enjoying it despite the registration glitches! (And yes, the Hitler news was a shock to me too. But "It was said he fell at his post in the Reich Chancellery fighting to his last breath against Bolshevism"—jolly good show!)
posted by languagehat at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2008

I'm dying to read up on the Oscar Wilde controversy.
posted by ersatz at 11:20 AM on June 23, 2008

Torrent dump appearing in 5... 4... 3...
posted by meehawl at 12:19 PM on June 23, 2008

getting 404s trying to register, damnit
posted by bonaldi at 12:49 PM on June 23, 2008

Damn it, I really wanted to search 1888 for "ripper" too. It'd be neat to see those old scans.
posted by quin at 12:55 PM on June 23, 2008

I'm reading it with my existing Times login, which is cool.

Can't seem to find the 1981 headline : Rupert Murdoch buys Times, Promises to Turn Great Historical Newspaper Into Right Wing Rag Just Like He Fucks Up Everything Else He Touches.
posted by athenian at 1:40 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Damn it, I really wanted to search 1888 for "ripper" too. It'd be neat to see those old scans.

My first thought too! And I can look up "Another murder and mutilation" but can't read the story until my friggin' confirmation arrives.

Muchas gracias, languagehat. This is a stellar timesucking vortex of procrastination academic resource.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:44 PM on June 23, 2008

This is the coolest thing I've seen on mefi in weeks.
posted by nola at 1:53 PM on June 23, 2008

Thif is the moft awefome thing I have ever feen.

-Yr. humble sv't, OC
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:11 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks languagehat. This is an amazing historical treasure. Besides all the WWII materials and a thousand other things, I was just contemplating going through all the 1963-1969 original reportage on the Beatles -- straight from the UK itself. I'll be busy for weeks on end.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 2:23 PM on June 23, 2008

Dammit, even after finally getting signed up and signed in and all that malarkey, the article about (apparently) "The Statutory General Meeting of Metafilters (1929) Ltd" still just gives me a 404. As do all my other searches. Frustraty.
posted by flashboy at 3:27 PM on June 23, 2008

[spit take]
posted by not_on_display at 3:57 PM on June 23, 2008

Needs a little more OCR-ing but here's the start of the article
The SrATcTORY GENIULAL METrrTI- of Meta- fUters (1929), Limited, was held yesterday at Winchester House, Old Broad-street, London. SUt WVILLLAM RtEGLNALD HALr (the chair- ua,n) presided. The SzCar,a&y (Mr. A. H. Parker) having read the notice convening the meeting, The U'lsAam&N said :-Ladies and gentle- men,-It is, possibly, not generally realized that the operatiou of filtration enters into the laanufacture and production of practically aU mnanufactured products. In manly eaees, filtra- tiou is tho most important of all steps inciden'. to the productioni of a fine product, since de- pendent upon the efficiency with wihich this process is carriedl out will be first the appear- ance, anid secondly the purity, and also, maybe, the distinctivo taste, keeping qualities and general exec!lence of the products. Let Inc point out that filters are essential, aniongst others, for water, beer. sugar, tnilk, varnish, wvine, acids, fats, alkalis, organic liquids, lubricating oil, boiler feed water, and in the manufacture of artificial silk, and that the ecikni(.ucy of the filter will determinie the quality of the tfial product. leiltrration to-day is being carried out by filters of various trnes and of mauy shapes and sizes. bho in practically all a filtering body of cloth, pulp, ur other lior(oUs material is e-i- ployed. The uise of these midii involves con- sideiab!e operating labour an.l expense, especi. allw where clothi is used, owing to the difficulty in keeeping the cloth clenso and frc from h:oles. Now, your compatny's patents cover a new system of filtration in nhich neither cloth nor pulp is required; consequently the attendant .lifficulties when usiig these miedia are avoided, labour is economnized, and reniewals are reduced to practically nothing. These must all be very a'-tractive features frorn the point of view of filter users ',ut it is niot the ease of work- ing, chcap cost of operating, and insignificant renewals which appeal so niuch as the technical efficiency oi the actual tiltration w^hen using the Metafilter. The field for filtration is practicaliv world- Vvidle; manufactures are not corfined to Great Blritain alone, but are carried out iu every vivi-hz. tlcotntry. The company's patents ron in cvery important courtry in the world. It will thus bc seen that the nmarket for filters of our type is practically inexhaustible.
[emphasis mine]
posted by jessamyn at 4:17 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I found a grainy, 30-year-old, but instantly-recognizable photo of my dad! woo hoo!
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:50 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

No Metatalk? I want my money back!
posted by lukemeister at 8:54 PM on June 23, 2008

To mark this launch, the paper editions of the Times this week includes full size facsimiles of front pages from momentous days in its history. Yesterday was the death of Hitler. Today is Apollo 11. I've really enjoyed them.

I dare not log on to the site as I have work to get done so I can go on hols this weekend!
posted by surfdad at 4:06 AM on June 24, 2008

Thanks for posting this.

The Times Digital Archive has been around since 2003, but available to subscribers only, which effectively limits it to academic libraries. This is the first time it's been made available for free -- at least, for a 'free introductory period', which presumably means it will disappear behind a paywall in due course.

The free site still has a few problems -- I can't get the scanned pages to load, and the plain-text versions are full of mistakes. Navigating around the site isn't easy, either -- I've just spent 15 minutes trying and failing to find the editorial on the Munich agreement (1 Oct 1938), though I did find some other interesting things in the same issue, such as a report of a high-speed car chase through London (at 50 miles an hour!). For the time being I'll be sticking to the subscriber-only version, as I'm lucky enough to work in a library that has access to it. But I'm delighted it's available for free, and I hope the 'free introductory period' will eventually be made permanent.

Anyone interested in old newspapers might like to try the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition, which was launched last week. It's a free online edition of six nineteenth-century newspapers, including the English Woman's Journal (an early feminist paper), the Tomahawk (a satirical weekly) and the Publishers' Circular (the leading trade journal for the publishing industry).
posted by verstegan at 6:43 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

That should be its own post, verstegan. Great resource.
posted by languagehat at 9:22 AM on June 24, 2008

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