How to Find an Old Newspaper Article From 1984

Updated April 17, 2017

Old newspaper articles are important resources for research for a class assignment or for finding out more about your family's history. Finding old newspaper articles can be as easy as a quick online search or as difficult as flipping through microfilm or microfiche at a library or in the newspaper's morgue. Ease your search by knowing a few of the main key words or names in the headline or story.

Search online archives. Databases such as and allow a one-stop search for articles dating back 25, 50 and even 100 years. However, if you're searching for a specific article from a specific news outlet, visit the newspaper's website to search the archives. Other sites such as the Library of Congress or Google News may also lead you to an old article from 1984.

Call the newspaper. If an online search of a specific newspaper's archives yields no results for your article search, call the newspaper to ask an editor if anyone would be willing to search their in-house archives for the news and fax it or mail it to you. If no one is available, ask if it is possible for you to visit the newspaper's offices and search for the article yourself.

Visit the library in the town in which the article was published. Libraries keep records of newspapers throughout the years, either hard copies tucked away in file cabinets or copies on microfilm or microfiche. If you are unable to visit the library, call the facility to ask if someone there can search for the article and send it to you.

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About the Author

Jaime Swanson started working as a journalist in 2001. She has written and edited for newspapers in northern Illinois, including the "Daily Southtown" and the "Daily Herald," both in suburban Chicago. Swanson holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University.