What should I do with these old newspapers?
September 28, 2012 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Should I save old newspapers?

I was handed down a box full of old newspapers from significant events (Kennedy assassination, Gulf I, Gulf II, Katrina, 9/11, Shuttle crashes, etc..) --mostly the local paper from wherever my family was living at the time.

Should I save them? They've been just sitting in old cardboard boxes, not preserved very well. The really old ones have yellowed significantly.
posted by chocolate_butch to Society & Culture (13 answers total)
No. They're not really worth anything because everyone and his brother saved them.

If there's a sentiment involved, you can make a collage of them, to make them more interesting.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:20 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

See if the newspaper wants them. I worked at a local paper where a roof leak meant that we lost a ton of archives. I think the editor would have enjoyed getting significant issues back. (Worth a shot, anyway.)
posted by purpleclover at 9:25 AM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

For the much-older ones, I'd contact the historical society or library of whatever town your family lived in at the time and see if they have any interest in taking them. Especially if it's an edition of the local Tinytown Gazette, as opposed to, say, The New York Times.
posted by lizzicide at 9:26 AM on September 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

School libraries/teachers might also want them, to use as a visual aid in teaching history. Since school libraries can't really keep big archives of newspapers, ones that hit the highlights could be helpful either for the students to look at or to frame the front pages.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:46 AM on September 28, 2012

If they're all from local papers, the stories are most likely syndicated from AP or another such outfit, which makes them far less significant than original reporting (unless the local paper is the Dallas Morning News or the local paper from a big city.) You could can them if you really want to, but most of these stories are available online or through Proquest, which most libraries have.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:50 AM on September 28, 2012

Sell 'em on Ebay. I'm selling a huge pile from the early 70's that I bought for $100 a few years ago and have already made my money back with only about 15 issues sold. That stuff is a gold mine.
posted by JJ86 at 10:31 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing that you should donate them to a local high school. Kids LOVE that kind of thing.
posted by JimmyJames at 10:42 AM on September 28, 2012

1. Take pictures of them or scan them if you feel sad about parting with them.
2. Donate them to a school.
3. Live clutter-free.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 11:16 AM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Digitize them and then donate them to a local school/library/historical society.

Enjoy your good karma.
posted by Sphinx at 11:53 AM on September 28, 2012

Donate to a middle or high school history teacher.
posted by easily confused at 1:01 PM on September 28, 2012

(former newspaper archivist here) It's likely the local paper won't want them unless they have had an odd accident; we had everything on microfilm and no space, do I always declined such offers. Local history departments of local libraries might want them, or state historical libraries or associations if you're near your state Capitol. Especially if they're yellowed/crumbled/in poor condition, they're not really worth keeping unless you personally just want to. In which case, look to invest in acid-free archival storage boxes, and store them flat (unfolded).
posted by Occula at 3:42 PM on September 28, 2012

Please call or email before donating these to anyone. Many libraries will be distinctly not interested. I think these are for collectors, nor archives.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:06 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I vote for saving them, just for your own enjoyment, not for financial or historical value. I recently discovered some old local papers that had been used as insulation (bad idea!) in my >100-yr old house. Even though they stank and crumbled as I read them, what a delight it was! The old advertisements were the most fun. And news from "ordinary" days was way more interesting than news from historically significant events -- everybody already knows about those, but the everyday stuff gets forgotten.

So unless you're really cramped for space, or very averse to the accumulation of stuff, just tuck the box away somewhere relatively dry and mouseproof and try to forget you have it so you can have fun rediscovering it someday. If you really don't care about that sort of stuff, leave it behind for someone to discover when you move.
posted by Corvid at 12:44 PM on September 29, 2012

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