Manchester City Library

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Microfilm – a Time Machine

February 29th, 2016 · No Comments · City Library, Foundation, Grades 6-12, Library Databases, Local History, Main Branch, News, NH Room, Research Tip of the Week, Teens, Trustees

Newspapers, for so many years, have recorded what’s happened on the local and national fronts, just like a daily diary of life events. With microfilm, we can easily go back in time and see what the local neighborhood, or the world, was like on a given date—your birthday, for instance—from articles, drawings and photographs.

It’s interesting to read what daily life consisted of during the various eras of history. I read about a time in the early 1900s where people sat on a board, attached like a swing to a tethered hot air balloon, and were able to take in an overhead view of Lake Massabesic.

The Manchester City Library has quite a collection of microfilm. Some of it is kept on the main floor, and some in the New Hampshire Room.

On the main floor we have the Union Leader going back to 1863. It is really neat to explore local history as it happened. There is no index for the Union Leader prior to 1989, however, so you need to know what you’re looking for. We do have an on-line subscription database called NewsBank which provides an index for the Union Leader from 1989 to the present.

Also on the main floor are The New York Times and Boston Globe (1988-early 2013). With The New York Times, you can follow the events from fifty years ago (the 1960s) or a hundred years ago (World War I, or as it was called then, the Great War), as they happened day by day.

You can print an 8 ½” x 14” copy for $0.25, though you won’t be able to fit the entire front page on a single sheet of paper.

To get a better image, and for additional newspapers, visit our New Hampshire Room. Thanks to a donation from the Manchester City Library Foundation, we now have a digital microfilm reader and printer. Old film that has seen better days comes to life on this machine! You can even save an article as a PDF, or an image as a JPEG file, then e-mail it to yourself.

Newspapers kept in on microfilm in the New Hampshire Room include:

  • L’Avenir National (Oct. 1896-Dec. 1926), in French
  • Manchester Mirror and Farmer (1867-1917)

Several titles with shorter time spans during the 1800s and 1900s, such as:

  • The Granite Farmer
  • The Gleaner
  • Amoskeag Representative
  • American & Messenger
  • The Emerald
  • Manchester Weekly Budget
  • New Hampshire Farmer & Weekly Union, to name a few.

To view microfilm located in the New Hampshire Room, please check the schedule of open hours, or schedule an appointment. Note the New Hampshire Room’s hours, listed in gray, which are different from those of the rest of the library.

If you have questions, please call 624-6550 ext. 320 (Information Desk), or contact us via e-mail.

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