The best free, downloadable chess database I've found is Kingbase (http://www.kingbase-chess.net). It only has games since 1990. I also have the Android Chessbase Online app, which also appears to only have relatively newer games. The only source I know of that has historical chess games is www.chessgames.com (but I don't think you can download the entire database into something like SCID).
Why are these older games so hard to come by?