For most of its existence, the Vermont Office of the Secretary of State has designated Newspapers of Record for the publishing of certain public records, initially legislative acts. Following the creation of a Commissioner of Public Printing in 1907 and a state printer, the use of newspapers to circulate and provide public access to legislative acts and other public records gradually diminished over time; however, persons or corporations publishing newspapers could receive state publications free of charge in exchange for providing copies of their newspapers to the Vermont State Library for preservation purposes (29 V.S.A. § 1163).
In 2017, the Vermont Department of Libraries, which microfilmed hundreds of Vermont newspapers over the past several decades, transferred its Vermont newspapers on microfilm, dating from the 1780s to present, to Vermont State Archives and Records Administration (VSARA). Newspapers are a critical information source for a variety of research interests as they contain contemporary coverage to events, insight into social norms, and often lead to other types of records to research, such as records related to corporations, vital events, land transactions, and court cases.
Through VSARA's partnership with Newspapers.com, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com, early Vermont newspapers that are no longer subject to copyright restrictions (papers dating December 1929 and earlier) are available online for free to Vermont residents through the MyVermont.gov state portal. MyVermont.gov accounts are free and can be created by visiting https://secure.vermont.gov/myvermont. Once logged in, the link to online newspapers will appear to Vermont residents.
The digitization of newspaper microfilm is ongoing and due to variations of dates and titles on individual microfilm reels, complete titles for all years or issues may not be available online. Access to additional titles and years for MyVermont.gov account users is at the discretion of Newspapers.com and separate from its partnership with VSARA, which is limited to early Vermont newspapers that are no longer subject to copyright.
Several titles are also available online through the efforts of the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project. The titles are accessible on Chronicling America and span the years of 1836 -1922. The Vermont Library Association also issued tips for accessing historical Vermont newspapers.
The full set of Vermont newspapers on microfilm (LIB-001) is available for research through our Reference Room. Inventories of the newspapers are available by:
Please see Information for Researchers for hours, procedures and related resources.
Copies of obituaries from newspapers can be requested if:
- A death date is provided; AND
- A specific newspaper is identified.
Please use our Online Record Request Form for all requests. The Record Series ID for Vermont newspapers is LIB-001. Please note that we cannot conduct research; requests for research cannot be fulfilled.