This online collection of newspapers is an excellent resource for historians and writers of historical fiction, especially — even if you’re not writing about California.
It’s the most accessible online newspaper archive I’ve ever come across. Searchable, image size can be adjusted, and the text of whatever you’re looking at shows up on the left via OCR — granted, lots of imperfections, but still legible enough to know if the page is worth downloading. You can clip articles or columns of ads, or grab the whole page as a pdf. And best of all: if the article is spread out over columns or even pages, when you clip it, the whole article shows up, each piece appearing in its proper place. Here’s a small clipping from the Sacramento Bee in March 1883:
From the front page:
This collection contains 61,412 issues comprising 545,955 pages and 6,364,529 articles.
The CDNC is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.
It occurred to me just recently that I should post information when I come across resources like this that would be useful to writers of historical fiction. Let me know if you find something you can use, I’d be interested.