I stumbled upon an online archive today that ended up costing me about two hours of my time just browsing. The Internet Archive is an organization primarily known for its archiving of the internet. It has snapshots of websites dating back to the early 1990s which you can view and use as though they were still online today. Just take a look at this snapshot of Yahoo from 1996 to see what I mean.
What I didn’t realize, however, was that they also have a digital archive containing digitized historic books and documents. While it’s fun to visit old websites (who doesn’t remember how bad the internet looked in the ’90s?), it’s much more fascinating to look at books and documents that are older than anyone still alive. That is, after all, one of the primary activities that keeps historians busy.
The number of collections they have is very large and I wasn’t able to even come close to going through them all. A person would need days to do that. To get you started though, here are a couple of my favorites so far:
The rest can be accessed by visiting The Internet Archive.
Happy browsing and don’t get lost!