There are some odd things about the Old Fulton NY Post Cards
site. First of all, despite the name, it has nothing to do with old postcards. Second, it's full of strange animations. A goldfish floats around the screen, and there's a head with spider legs that crawls about. There are sounds (such as a cannon and fireworks) that play at random moments, and you can't turn them off.
But these odd things are just the wrapping around the true content of the site, which is 17 million pages of scanned, fully searchable pages of old New York state newspapers. All completely free. There aren't even any ads. If you like doing historical research, it's a goldmine. The site has been around for a while, but I just discovered it last month, and it's now become one of my favorite sites.
The really strange thing about the site is that it's been put together by one guy, Tom Tryniski, who runs the site off of servers in his home. To put this in perspective, Tryniski has managed to put together an online newspaper archive that's larger than the Library of Congress's newspaper archive
. Much larger. And far more comprehensive.
Anyway, I've been finding all kinds of old hoax-related material on it, which is why I'm so excited about it. For instance, I found the original text
(warning: pdf) of the man-eating tree of Madagascar hoax
, published in the NY World on April 28, 1874, which I posted about last month.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I've been finding the original texts of lots of old newspaper hoaxes -- stuff that I don't think anyone has seen for over 100 years. I'll be posting some of my finds in the next few weeks.