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Explore the Past

Newspapers and magazines open up a window to the past and help us understand how people viewed their world. They are also a valuable tool for researching a wide range of topics, including family history, local history, property history, and more!

The Grand Rapids History Center's digitized newspapers can be searched online and our indexes page has helpful tools for our microfilm materials.

Digital Newspapers & Magazines

Digital historical newspapers and magazines from the Grand Rapids History Center. For date ranges not listed, see our catalog or visit us at the main library.

Grand Rapids Herald (1894 - 1916)
One of Grand Rapids' daily newspapers with a large audience.

New River Free Press (November 1973 - May 1977)
Community newspaper that covers a wide range of topics.

Grand Rapids Labor Newspapers (1955 - 2015)
Search or browse our digitized collection of local labor newspapers.

Furniture Periodicals (1905 - 1937)
Collection of furniture trade periodicals.

Woman Magazine (November 1908 - January 1909)
Turn-of-the-century newspaper authored by women.

Peninsular Club News (November 1934 - December 1943)
Monthly magazine for members of the Peninsular Club.

ProQuest Black Newspaper Collection (1893-2010)
Searchable database that includes 30 different historical black newspapers. Login and explore with your Grand Rapids Public Library Card.

The Morning Press (September 1890 - December 1892)
Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Digitized newspaper viewable online only at the Main Library.

The Semi-Weekly Press (September 1858 - May 1859)
Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Digitized newspaper viewable online only at the Main Library.

Newspapers & Magazines on Microfilm

Newspapers and magazines viewable on microfilm readers at the main library.

Grand Rapids Daily and Weekly Newspapers
This is a list of Grand Rapids newspapers that were published daily and weekly with a broader audience.

Grand Rapids Neighborhood and Special Newspapers
Grand Rapids newspapers with a neighborhood, cultural, ethnic, or religious focus.

Michigan Newspapers on Microfilm
Newspapers published in Michigan outside of Grand Rapids.

Periodicals on Microfilm
List of trade publications, newsletters, and magazines accessible on microfilm.

Web Resources

Newspaper and magazine resources available from other institutions

Library of Michigan Digital Resources
Available to Library of Michigan cardholders, this collection has many digitized newspapers, including the Grand Rapids Press, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News. There are also databases for Black and other ethnic newspapers. Library cards are free to all Michigan residents, apply here, opens a new window.

Lowell Ledger
Browse or search KDL’s digital archive of The Lowell Ledger from 1870–2013.

The Michigan Tradesman
A weekly newspaper covering business news in Grand Rapids and beyond from 1883–1906. Provided by the Michigan State University Libraries).

Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal
Digital newspaper portal from the Clark Historical Library at Central Michigan University. Browse and search by year.

Chronicling America
Search and browse digital newspapers from around the country. Provided by the Library of Congress.

FAQs

  • The Grand Rapids History Center collects, preserves, and shares the history of our community, through photographs, diaries, posters, maps and other records. You can research your house, your family, a business, or your neighborhood. Staff are ready to assist you with your research needs, whether it be finding material on our shelves, tips on where to start, or with navigating our archival collections. We’re here to help you explore at your own pace. You may drop in at any time, or you can contact us ahead of time with questions. If you’re traveling from out of town, we recommend that you check in with us before your visit (but it isn’t required). The Grand Rapids History Center is located on level four of the Main Library, and is open the same hours.  Please note that while covered beverages are allowed on other floors of the library, no food or beverages (including water) are permitted on level four.
  • Contact us with details of your research request. We’re happy to answer quick questions and provide suggestions for further research. Due to the time and staff resources involved in researching answers to local history, genealogy, and furniture questions, some fees apply to certain types of requests. We encourage researchers to come to our library to be assisted for free.

    Family history queries can also be submitted to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society research committee.

  • We love when people use and share images from our archives. Our digital collections were designed with sharing in mind and if you find content that you would like to download and share, you are welcome to do so. If you do, we ask that you please let people know that it came from the Grand Rapids Public Library, so others may find it as well.

    There are some fees that apply to scanning and using images. If the content is not available through our digital collections, there is a $5 processing fee per image. If you would like to include an image in a published book or use it for commercial purposes (such as selling a t-shirt or creating artwork for a restaurant or office), there is a use fee of $15 per image. For additional information and to order images, please visit our order form.

    There are also exceptions for content where the copyright is held by someone else. In those instances, you need to seek permission from the copyright holder. In our digital collections we use RightsStatements.org categories to share, to the best of our knowledge, if content is in the public domain or under copyright. 

  • You can search our finding aids here. When you arrive, you will fill out a request card for each folder or box. The request card asks for your name and contact information, and the location of the material you would like to view (usually a collection number, box number and folder number). You may have one box or five folders at your table at a time.  All materials are stored on-site. If you would like any guidance in searching or in preparing your requests, please contact us.  

  • We are always looking for items to tell the story of our community, from the recent past to the 1800s. If you have unique books, papers, letters, scrapbooks or photographs you think would contribute to this cause, please contact us.

    If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please contact the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation.

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