Several news organizations asked for the messages during the 2008 presidential campaign, saying they would give insight into the Republican vice presidential nominee's political background.
Alaskan officials say it took this long to process all the documents involved.
Because only hard copies of the emails were released, reporters and photographers crowded into a small office to pick up boxes of emails - hundreds of pounds of paper - to begin poring over them.
Requests also have been made for Palin's final 10 months in office. State officials haven't begun reviewing those records yet.
Palin resigned partway through her first term, in July 2009.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.