Recalls the Destruction of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake on 100th Anniversary

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Newspaper articles from 1906 detail the damage that swept California after the great earthquake

"San Francisco Doomed" read the headline above the banner of the Oakland Tribune on April 18, 1906. When one of the worst earthquakes to ever hit the U.S. struck California in 1906, people were told, "Keep cool. Keep your heads. Keep your courage. Don't exaggerate. Don't get panic stricken. An earthquake shock of great violence and long duration is an appalling calamity, but a panic is infinitely worse.", a free archive sponsored by, contains historic newspaper pages about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake along with other earthquakes throughout history. Thousands of historic articles about 1906 earthquake can be found in by just searching for the word "San Francisco." Articles written on April 18, 1906, the day of the disaster, can also be found by entering the date in the Advanced Search.

"The great San Francisco earthquake was one of the most destructive natural disasters in American history," said Greg Hollingsworth, researcher for "In many ways, it was the Hurricane Katrina of the early 20th century."

Newspapers across the country began reporting on the San Francisco earthquake as soon as they received telegraph reports. According to the April 18, 1906 edition of The Fort Wayne Sentinel, which is found in, information came from one telegraph wire in San Francisco that wasn't destroyed. "Enough is known to make it clear that hundreds of lives have been lost, millions of dollar's worth of property destroyed and, according to latest reports the city seems doomed to destruction by fire which broke out in many sections of the city immediately after the earthquake," the paper printed in 1906.

"The newspapers take you back 100 years to the time of the earthquake when Americans were just learning about the disaster," said Jeff Kiley, General Manager of "The headlines and the stories give you a sense of the massive destruction and confusion within the city."

Researchers interested in finding more information about the San Francisco earthquake can also go to where there are currently more than 31.9 million newspaper pages online and a newspaper page added every two seconds. Heritage Microfilm of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, began, the largest newspaper database available online, in 1999.


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Crystal Hardinger
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