The unique value of old newspapers

Although I read most of the daily news online, it seems that the pile of New York Time and other newspapers and magazines grows as fast as weeds in our family room. In addition we also purchase the occasional French newspaper and magazine. When the pile is so tall it looks like the Pisa Tower, I go through and each time is a dilemma. As I sort the magazines and newspapers, I set apart the ones that cover an important moment such as an election or even a disaster and anything related to a topic of interest. The pile might get smaller, I think I still keep too much.
Yet when my son started his history project about Ulysses Grant, Wikipedia, online research and library books weren’t enough.
His dad found two original copies of the Harpers’s Weekly from March 1862 with Ulysses Grant on the cover. The pages are yellowish, the print tiny, the full page illustrations and maps realistic and detailed. Is there a better way to make history more real than to turn the pages of an historic journal? My son has done most of his research online and will type his project on his computer but I have no doubt that his classmates will gather around the old copies of the Harper’s Weekly with curiosity and awe.
So now I look with fondness at my pile of newspapers and magazines and feel less eager to get rid (even recycled) of them. They collect dust and take space but also hold events of our lifetime. I imagine a child in one hundred fifty years researching for a history project and turning with care and wonder the pages of an old yellowish newspaper printed in 2010.

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