The papers date primarily from 1900 to 1910, and come from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC. Among these pages are articles about the 1901 assassination of president William McKinley and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (below).
But even if you have no ancestors in those states, you can use Chronicling America’s searchable directory of US newspapers from 1690 to the present. Say you want to find articles about a trial your ancestor was involved in. Search the directory for titles of local papers by entering the state, county and town; the year of the trial; a keyword appearing in the newspaper’s title; publication frequency (such as daily or weekly); or type of paper (such as an ethnic or labor press).
You’ll get a list of papers that might have articles on your relative. Click each title and the View Complete Holdings Information link to see libraries that have the paper, and which year’s that library’s collection covers.
If none of the libraries are near you, see if you can submit a search request or borrow papers on microfilm through interlibrary loan.