New TimesMachine is a giant leap for newspaper archives

July’s full moon on the 22nd will remind some it’s been 44 years since Neil Armstrong was the first human to step on our moon and 41 years since Gene Cernan was the last one off. Those whose memories of the Apollo 11 mission are as intact as Armstrong’s first footstep in the lunar powder may recall the July 20, 1969 New York Times which ran the same Sunday the Eagle landed. It’s accessible through a new version of TimesMachine, the search tool for the newspaper’s archives.

Available for the first time in its full original context, the edition is one of six available for viewing in the new TimesMachine prototype version for readers to try before it replaces the current version. Links to each article, letter, and advertisement in the new version are listed alongside scanned pages of the original paper they appeared in and they can also be shared on six sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and reddit. Article searching can also be done by filters for descriptors, organizations, people, places, titles, and words.

Skipping the articles and looking at advertisements created by real-life counterparts to Mad Men television characters, space wasn’t just a front-page theme. Castro Convertibles promised in its full-age ad “down-to-earth prices” on hide-a-beds, while Lord & Taylor’s full-page ad selling pram suits and planetarium gear said “We give them everything but the moon,” and asked “When was the last time you visited the Planetarium?”

Macy’s furniture show was all about “inner space,” its full-page ad boldly printed, while among the book ads is one for the newly-published novel “The Andromeda Strain” by a budding Michael Chrichton about “the world’s first space-age biological crises.” A large collection of advertising and marketing materials from this era are at the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History at Duke University, and descriptions can be found in ArchiveGrid.

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