The earliest newspaper presented on this website was published in 1769, and the most recent in 1977. They are all part of the Provincial Newspaper Collection maintained at Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (Halifax, NS). The collection is the largest of its kind in Nova Scotia, encompassing nearly 260 years of newspaper publishing and including titles from every corner of the province.
The newspapers presented here were all digitized from original paper copies. In some instances they are unique — no other original copies have survived besides what you are about to read here now, online.
Newspapers are disposable, ephemeral sources of information — here today, gone tomorrow. The series (or 'runs') of papers presented here are therefore not complete. Days, weeks or months of a particular title may be missing, individual issues may be incomplete, pages may be torn or severed. In some instances, other copies may be available elsewhere in the province, but the time constraints of this project meant that we could not borrow them for digitization.
'Old' newspapers can be challenging to read. There aren't many illustrations — and no photographs — until the early 20th century. The print on the page is small and dense, and the language is even denser. Forget about news delivered in sound bites or 140 characters or less! Sentences are long, formal and full of strange words. Ideas are expressed in convoluted ways that can make it difficult for us to follow their sequence and meaning. Read slowly, use our Zoomify™ feature to magnify the page, and have a good dictionary nearby — or use Google!
One quirk you'll encounter immediately in newspapers published before 1800 is the strange-looking 'long s' – ∫ – that looks a little like an ƒ. It's used alone in the middle of words, or in combination with a second, normal-looking 'short s', or sometimes it's connected to a following 't' in a cute little type-face curlicue. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines the 'long s' as: 'a lower-case form of the letter s, written or printed ∫; not in general use after the early nineteenth century.'
Wondering about the handwritten names scrawled on the front page of some issues? That's the name of the subscriber, who would collect his or her newspaper at the post office or from the publisher. No subscription labels in those days! Lastly, spelling didn't become standardized until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so don't be alarmed at seeing words in these newspapers spelled very differently from today.