“We publish today the first issue of the New-York Daily Times, and we intend to
issue it every morning (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come.”
So wrote the paper’s founders, Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones, on September 18, 1851. Raymond was speaker of the
New York State Assembly and a journalist who had worked for Horace Greeley at the New York Tribune. Their goal was to publish a paper that avoided sensationalism. The first issue had four pages and sold for one penny. The paper’s offices were located at 113 Nassau Street. (The building was demolished at the end of last summer.) Three years later, the paper moved to a building closer to City Hall.

On September 14, 1857, the paper changed its name to The New York Times. And the rest, as they say, is history.

UPDATE:  The New York Times will be publishing The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages, 1851-2008 in October. The set features 3 DVD-ROMs that contain every front page
ever printed. All of them will be indexed and linked to the complete articles on the
online archives of The package will also include a book of essays by
Richard Bernstein, Ethan
Bronner, Roger Cohen, Gail Collins, Helene Cooper, Thomas Friedman,
William Grimes, Caryn James, Gina Kolata, David Leonhardt, Steve Lohr,
Frank Rich, Carla Anne Robbins, Gene Roberts, William Safire, Serge
Schmemann, Sam Tanenhaus and John Noble Wilford.
You can pre-order the collection here.