Suppose I'm writing a novel that takes place N years ago, say N = 80. Given the dramatic increase of loanwords in the past century, especially from English, what would be the best way (if there is any) to know whether a word existed at all and how commonly was it used at the time?
For material things, eg related to technology, this would obviously trivial. I am referring here to more abstract concepts, such as adjectives and nouns like ポピュラー、リーズナブル、カラフル、デリケート、ドキュメント、コミットメント、イベント, and so on.
One way I can think of is to check dictionaries published around the time the story takes place. However, this could be technically difficult and not necessarily precise. Is there any other way? To rephrase the question, what is a good way to understand when a new word has been officially introduced and became mainstream? Before Google of course.