How to Find Old Newspaper Photos

By Mark Spowart ; Updated April 12, 2017
City libraries are one location where photos from newspapers are archived.

For years, newspapers have been publishing pictures from events that happen around the world. These pictures often show historic events as they happen. These photos are often archived at local libraries as well as at the newspaper’s office. You may also be able to find these pictures online through the Internet. Despite that you may be looking for the same image, how you look for these pictures can differ greatly from source to source.

Obtain as much information as you can about the picture you are looking for. If you can determine who is in the picture, the date the picture was taken, the location of the picture and the name of the newspaper it appeared in, your search will be easier.

Contact the newspaper that published the picture. Give a representative there the date the picture appeared, who was in the picture and, if possible, give her the newspaper volume and issue numbers.

Go to your local library’s media or newspaper section. Search through the archives looking by date for the picture you are looking for. If you do not have the date, speak to the librarian responsible for media or newspaper section and provide him with the information you have about the picture. There may be several pictures that are similar to the one you are looking for. Sort through the results until your find the picture.

Turn your computer on and connect to the Internet. Open a search engine, change the search parameter to pictures, enter keywords that could be used to define the picture. Keywords are used to define the content, event or subject that the picture depicts. Search engines cannot see pictures, they find pictures by identifying the words used in the search and finding matching words contained in the pictures. This search method may generate a large number of results that will require you to sort through to find the actual picture you are looking for.

About the Author

Since 2002 Mark Spowart has been working as a freelance writer and photographer in London, Canada. He has publication credits for writing and/or photography in Canada, The United States, Europe and Norway, with such titles as "The Globe & Mail," "The National Post," Canada News Wire, Sun Media and "Business Edge" magazine.