The first edition of the Vineyard Gazette was published on May 14, 1846. Despite hurricanes, floods and ferry shutdowns, the newspaper hasn’t missed a full week since.

More than 173 years later, the Gazette still houses either a physical or microfilm version of nearly all 9,000 editions of the paper, as well as thousands of photographs, clippings, correspondence, woodblocks and other artifacts of Island history. These are available to the public for research by appointment.

At the Gazette’s monthly off-season speaker series, Tuesdays in the Newsroom, Gazette archivist and librarian Hilary Wallcox highlighted that collection, offering rare insights into nearly two centuries of news coverage on everything from the Steamship Authority to selectmen’s meetings to an uproar about alligators reported in Chilmark Pond. Seriously. The newspaper did report there was an alligator missing in Edgartown in 1878.

“It is painful to contemplate the dismay which this announcement must necessarily create in the bosom of the small native, whose visions of unlimited wadings after mud turtles and pollywogs are thus cruelly dispelled, but duty is duty, and our motto shall ever be, ‘Let no local item escape,’” the newspaper wrote.

Although much has changed over the years, the Gazette has remained a black and white broadsheet throughout its existence, Ms. Wallcox said, and its large size has ensured that few local items have ever escaped.

“In fact, it used to be even bigger,” Ms. Wallcox told the crowd on Tuesday. “But that has always been its trademark.”

What’s even rarer, however, than a black and white broadsheet in the 21st century is a local newspaper that offers a public research library to help remember and preserve its community’s history. The Gazette is now one of the few small newspapers in the country that still employs a full-time librarian to manage its collections, something the Gazette’s legendary editor Henry Beetle Hough instituted in the 1930s after he took over the paper and the Kohlberg family wanted to preserve when it purchased the newspaper in 2010.

“Fortunate is he who ventures upon any historical research on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, for he is certain of the most helpful and loyal support,” Mr. Hough wrote in 1936.

For the next seven decades or so, librarians, including longtime librarian Eulalie Regan, helped curate the clippings according to the Library of Congress’s filing standards, cataloging every story with tags and preserving them in 3.5-by-six-inch manila envelopes.

By the early 2000s, digital archiving began when the Gazette launched a new website, allowing for best-practice tagging and cataloging methods. Three years ago, the newspaper launched The Time Machine, an interactive extension of the newspaper’s website that offers selected historical collections from the Vineyard’s past, including on African American history, the Island Cup, the striped bass and bluefish derby, the Wampanoag tribe and Presidential visits, among others.

Ms. Wallcox said the most robust years for clippings are in the 1970s and 1980s, but added that the paper has everything from birth notices, death notices, deer population numbers, family history, real estate history, and weather records dating back for well over a hundred years. The newspaper is also in the process of digitizing its extensive archives.

“Not only are we digitizing our content, but we are doing so in a way that ensures they will be discoverable now and much further in the future,” Ms. Wallcox said.

In 1935, a fire broke out in the Gazette building on South Summer street in Edgartown. With a prompt response from the Edgartown department, no one was hurt the structure was saved. But nearly as important as the building were the decades of files it held.

“These old files are prizes above almost everything else,” the newspaper said in its coverage of the fire, “partly symbolic, partly sentimental, partly informative, partly surprising in the light they cast out upon the present and future . . . Everyone seems to have the same esteem for the Files, and in much pleasure it is said that the files are safe.”