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Is there data on the circulation numbers for newspapers in the antebellum (pre-1861) United States? I'm also interested in any other pieces of data about these newspapers.

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The US Newspapers Directory has a substantial amount of metadata about publication locations & dates, but nothing on circulation. Some bulk data/linked data access is apparently available.

It's part of the broader Chronicling America site, which offers digitised newspapers from 1836 onwards; 1770 titles, 1.36m issues, 9.55m pages. (Of course, the majority of these will be post-1860s)

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The NYTimes Archive goes back to 1851.

Here's a random example, showing that the articles are machine readable.

They also have an API for developers.

And they have an N-gram tool called Chronicle where you can click on the results to view each article.

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