Lewis Hine: Newsie selling at the Hudson Station, Jersey City 1909, Library of Congress

Discover and explore the World’s Historical Memory and Cultural Heritage

On a global – national – regional scale

HistoricalMedia offers a central access to digitized, originally analogue media of all types, focusing on newsreports, photography and posters. The platform links collections and press titles from archives, media companies and agencies.

  • Newspapers and magazines, photographs, moving pictures (TV, Video) and radio broadcasts .
  • Collections and media titles from archives, libraries, museums and other memory institutions as well as from media companies and agencies.
  • Search help and information on the terms of use of available media.
  • Information on collections and press titles, and on the institutions and media providing the service.

The HistoricalMedia blog offers articles on platforms and collections, on media history and on a wide range of historical topics.

Press titles from the advent of the first newspapers around 1607 in Europe. Daily and weekly newspapers, illustrated magazines of the 19th and 20th centuries, selected cultural magazines with socially or historically relevant content.


Posters on all topics from the mid-19th century to the present: artistic and political posters, advertising posters on diverse branches, from tourism to food and beauty products, fashion and automobile, to theatre, music and film.


Photography from 1839 in all its technical and topical varieties: landscape photography, portrait and nude photography, reportage photography, art photography, architecture and object photography, amateur photography.


All news formats and documentary films: actualities from 1895, newsreels from 1908, television news, news magazines, documentary films, video documents, rivate videos, and home movies.


All information formats by radio broadcasting stations since the emergence of the medium in the 1920s: News, political magazines, documentary reports, broadcasts on historical and cultural topics.


Blog articles with focus on three categories: presentation and evaluation of collections / portals; Articles on the history of the media; Contributions to historical topics with links to sources.

  • Media Revolution and Propaganda in the Great War
    Media Revolution and Propaganda in the Great War
    Newsreels, the oldest form of news through motion pictures, established themselves as an influential information and propaganda medium during World War I. Based on the examples of France, the United Kingdom, the German Kaiserreich and the United States, the article sheds light on the development of the production of the new medium during the Great War and on the image it mediates of the war events. A list provides links to newsreel collections covering the war available on the Web.
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  • Newsreels were the first moving imagages news format. They were shown in France from 1908 and soon in many other countries as an accompanying programme in cinemas. Despite competition from the television after the Second World War, newsreels survived in many countries until the 1970s and 1980s.
  • HistoricalMedia is looking back on important, interesting, and exciting events  reported by newsreels all over the world. Brief explanations present them in their historical context.
  • The linked reports come from online collections of public archives, media companies and commercial vendors.

Marian Anderson’s legendary easter concert at the Lincoln Memorial

Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939. 75’000 visitors come to Marian Anderson’s recital at the Lincoln Memorial. The memorable event makes the contralto a symbol of the demand for equal rights for all US citizens.

  • Marian Anderson’s Easter Sunday Lincoln Memorial Concert
  • April 9, 1939
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive
  • Copyright UCLA
The first impetus to the concert was given unintentionally by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Their refusal to let the singer perform at Constitution Hall sparked a nationwide controversy. In response to the discriminatory policy, Eleanor Roosevelt, America’s First Lady, leaves the DAR. A committee initiates the open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Prominent figures, including Home Secretary Harold Ickes, support the plan, and President Roosevelt gives his approval.
Never before has there been an event of this size at this location. Millions of people are following the event on the radio. Marian Anderson begins her recital with “My Country, ‘This of Thee”. Through her interpretation, the patriotic hymn becomes unequivocally an appeal that freedom and the constitution have to apply to all Americans, regardless of skin color.

Marian Andersen (1897-1993) grows up in humble circumstances in Philadelphia. Her talent as a singer already shows as a girl in the church choir. After first successes, she continues her musical education in Europe. In the thirties, she performs in many of Europe’s renowned concert halls where she thrills the audience. Back in the USA, she becomes also here a star. Her broad repertoire includes aria and leader recitals as well as spirituals. A highlight of her career is in 1955 her appearance at the Metropolitan Opera. In the 1950s, she becomes an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. © ff December 2018

Tragic Alpine disaster – “white death” claims immense toll of death

In the winter of 1950/51, the worst avalanche disasters of the 20th century cause immense suffering and destruction in many villages in the Alps. More than 270 people are killed by masses of snow and debris that are hitting villages and traffic routes.

Watch newsreels:  Video1 Video2
  • Swiss Newsreel:
  • Die Lawinennot. Nr. 463, 27.01.1951
  • Lawinen im Tessin! Nr. 466, 16.02.1951
  • Copyright: Cinémathèque Suisse/Swiss National Library
  • Platform: MEMOBASE
Picture: The author’s mother and her two daughters were rescued from a completely destroyed house (Screenshot).
Exceptionally heavy snowfalls in January and February 1951 lead to disastrous catastrophes in several Alpine countries. The hardest struck is Austria where 135 people die as a result of countless avalanches. In Switzerland, disasters claim 96 victims, much to the detriment of the entire population. In Italy, fatal avalanche accidents kill 46 people.
In Switzerland, disasters caused by the forces of nature occur in two waves. Between the 19th and 21st of January, in the cantons of Grisons, Valais, Uri and Glarus, innumerable avalanches crash down on from the mountains. Swiss Newsreel covers the event in a special edition (Video 1). The devastating effects are worst in the village of Vals in the canton of Grisons. On the night of January 20, just before 10 pm, avalanches hit several houses. 19 people, including 8 children, die in the debris and snow. In Andermatt, canton of Uri, 13 people get killed.
On February 11th and 12th, 1951, Switzerland again suffers disastrous avalanches, this time in the southern canton of Ticino. In some valleys, over 4 meters of fresh snow have fallen within 10 days (Video 2). Avalanches bury the Gotthard Railway over long distances. Once again, the “the winter of avalanches” takes a heavy toll: 16 people are recovered dead, including 10 in the village of Airolo alone, where an avalanche destroys an entire quarter.
The avalanche disaster in the Alps gets worldwide attention in the media. The legendary US magazine Life publishes 8 pages on the event (p. 19-25). © ff December 2018