NewspapersSome of the most iconic American newspapers have been around for two centuries.Library of Congress

  • Newspapers revolutionized communication and the way people receive news. 
  • Some of the first newspapers emerged in the 1800s and have been so successful that they continue to reach millions of readers two decades later.
  • Here are nine of the very first editions of famous American newspapers like New York Times and Washington Post.

Many of the most iconic American newspapers have been around since the 1800s, when the Industrial Revolution took off and made print more accessible to readers.

To break into such a robust industry as newspapers in the 19th century was no easy feat, according to W. Joseph Campbell, media history professor at American University and author of “Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism.”

“Multiple newspapers in major cities were slugging it out, and it was a very challenging market for newspapers to break into,” Campbell told Business Insider. “The casualty rate was very high.”

Once established, remaining stable through the introduction of digital media in the late 1900s brought on another layer of challenges for print publications, and print advertising revenue began to decline by the billions, AEI reported.

According to Campbell, a few legacy brands have been able to withstand the influence of digital media due to key components they possessed early on, like a strong point of view, a publisher with deep pockets, and a competitive price, that allowed them to go the distance.

You wouldn’t have guessed that from the front pages of their first issues, though, which looked drastically different than they do today.

Here’s a fascinating look at the first issues of some of the most iconic American newspapers that still reach millions of readers today.