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Historical Articles from the NYT Archives

September 21st, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

If you have not registered with the online version of The New York Times, do so now because the newspaper has opened up its article archives, which go back to 1851, and, believe me, there is some interesting stuff in there. For example, here is an excerpt from an August 12, 1888 article on Korea, “Corea and Her Aims“:

The official dispatches received by Secretary Bayard from our Consul at Seoul confirm, with a trivial modification, the almost incredible rumor of the origin of the late outbreak in Corea. It did spring from a belief among many of the natives that the American missionaries were buying or stealing their babies for the purpose of boiling them down. Instead, however, of using the product for medicines, they were suspected, it appears, of employing it for chemicals in making photographs.

Perhaps no incident could better illustrate the obligations our Government is under to the King of Corea for his progressive policy, and his welcome of foreigners and particularly of Americans, to a country which, in the main, is the prey of such dense ignorance and prejudice. Some obscurity prevails as to the ground on which the strange rumor about the missionaries gained currency, but it is probably due to the fact that they are known to have been in the habit of saving poor children from cruelty or murder by adopting them in their schools and other institutions, paying sometimes a trifling sum to bind the bargain. This explanation is the more probable, since it appears that nine Corean officials were seized and decapitated in the streets of Seoul on the charge of complicity with the missionaries. It is well known that the King has intrusted to Americans the entire task of developing the educational system of Corea, and that besides a school which has now been in operation for four years for the purpose of training interpreters in English, there has also been established by Americans for several years an orphanage under Government patronage. It seems quite possible, therefore, that the hapless officials who perished were those whose duty connected them with supervising these orphanage and other American charitable institutions….

The articles written between 1851 and 1922 and between 1987 and the present are free, but there are charges for most of the articles between 1923 and 1986. The older articles are in PDF format.

I have started a list of links to articles related to Korea and will add to the list as I go through the articles: 

List of NYT Articles on Korea (in date order)

7 Responses to “Historical Articles from the NYT Archives”

  1. comment number 1 by: chase

    Thank you for sharing news. archive back to 19th century… that’s really cool!!!
    they didn’t use times new roman back then… interesting.
    Why did they spell Korea as Corea back then?? .. or interchangeably??

    1893 Apr 13: “WAR SHIP SENT TO COREA; Threats of an Uprising Against the Christians Living There”
    1893 May 23: “KOREA AND JAPAN RECONCILED; A War Averted by the Diplomatic Offices of the United States”

    Anyway, if would be fun to read these articles… too bad I have so much homework and tests to study. =( Gerry-Bevers, is these archive free forever? or is this just a short-term event?

  2. comment number 2 by: General Tiger


    Why did they spell Korea as Corea back then?? .. or interchangeably??

    It was interchangeable, because the Latin-based languages used the “C” while Germny used “K.” I’m not sure when “K” became the standard for the US, but it definitely wasn’t because of Japan.

  3. comment number 3 by: The Overthinker

    Coming from a Japan-based perspective, I’ve been mainly looking into the Japan-based articles (including some from before Perry got there), but did find an interesting one from the Treaty of Versailles discussions, when Korea requested help with gaining independence. 26 Jan 1919, “Korea Appeals to Wilson for Freedom.”

    Also that last guy noted, Griffis, wrote a book on Japan in which he claimed that the reason for Japan’s success at modernisation was the incidence of Aryan blood, through the Ainu. The NY Times had a review of it (June 27, 1908) in which to their credit the subheadline was “Dr Griffis attributes Genius of the Islanders to White Ancestry – Difficulties of the Thesis” The book is “The Japanese Nation in Evolution” and is unfortunately not yet available online.

  4. comment number 4 by: MarkA

    I can imagine how bosses punish their underlings at the NYT now….

    “Jones, so much as one more misspelled word out of you and you’ll be in the basement scanning archives into Adobe for a month!”

  5. comment number 5 by: stumpjumper

    “The Japanese Nation in Evolution” and is unfortunately not yet available online.

    Is this the one you are talking about?


  6. comment number 6 by: The Overthinker

    Stumpjumper – thanks for the link. I did a search and couldn’t find it online (the usual suspects like Gutenberg etc) and the only places seemed to be stuff like amazon selling reprints. Excellent find.

  7. comment number 7 by: ZenKimchi » Those NYT Archives

    […] Lots of folks have been talking about the releasing of The New York Times archives to the general public for free back to 1851 (minus some time between WWII and the 1980s).  Jason Kottke maybe was the first to delve in a place links to notable moments in history.  Commenter Sonagi at The Marmot’s Hole, ComingAnarchy, and Occidentalism have posted links to relevant articles about Korea. […]