Meet the California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC).

Looking for free historical newspapers? The California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC) might have a scan of the issue you're looking for.

The California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC) contains more than 400,000 pages of significant historical California newspapers dating from 1846-1922, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California which was published in San Francisco. This resource is freely available online, and new titles and pages are contantly being added. What's neat is that the articles are all scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) so you can do a keyword search. I searched for 'bicycle' and found some interesting ads and articles; police actively investigated stolen bicycles back in the day - two were retrieved on May 19, 1897, according to the Sacramento Daily Union. In Los Angeles in 1905, two bicycle theives were caught, and made "merry while being arraigned". BTW, did you know that all newspapers published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain now, so there are no copyright restrictions? 

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