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U.S. Historical Newspapers

Major Digitized Metropolitan Dailies

Major Digital Collections

For the major metropolitan newspapers of the 20th century, the best place to begin is:

For pre-20th century American newspapers, the two best collections are:

  • America’s Historical Newspapers: Hundreds of titles, with especially strong coverage of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries, but also strong coverage of the early twentieth-century. Includes the following sub-collections: Early American Newspapers, Series I through VII, X, XIII, and IV (1690-1922); Hispanic American Newspapers (1808-1980); African American Newspapers, Series I-II (1827-1998); Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection (1799-1977); and Caribbean Newspapers (1718-1876). Newspapers were primarily sourced from the American Antiquarian Society and the Center for Research Libraries. Part of the Archive of Americana.
  • Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers: Over 500 newspapers from all states, and territories that would become states. Newspapers of oth urban and rural communities represented, with substantive runs of some major nineteenth century newspapers like the New York Herald, the Cleveland Daily Herald, the Chicago Inter Ocean, the Milwaukee Sentinel, and the Rocky Mountain News. Newspapers were sourced primarily from the Wisconsin Historical Society, and the Library of Congress (two of the best newspaper collections in the nation), but also from other collections like the Kansas Historical Society. The new interface includes a term frequency graphing app, similar to Google’s NGram Viewer. (It’s difficult to assess the real value of this feature since the collection’s OCR text is hidden, and the page scan quality varies wildly from completely illegible to crisp, two-bit reproductions.) For a complete list of titles in Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers, click here.

More Digital Collections

  • Chronicling America: American newspapers published during 1836-1960. Also includes the U.S. Newspaper Directory with information about American newspapers from 1690 to the present.
  • African American Newspapers, 1827-1998: A wide ranging collection that complements our largest collection of digitized African American newspapers, ProQuest Historical Black Newspapers. While ProQuest Historical Black Newspapers covers the major, metropolitan black newspapers of the 20th century, African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 provides access to a broader range of publications, especially the black press of America’s smaller cities, and the few extant issues of the earliest black newspapers, most of which were previously available only on microfilm or in smaller digital collections scattered around the Internet
  • African American Newspapers: The 19th Century: Nine major African American newspapers of the 19th Century, including Freedom’s Journal (the first African American newspaper ever published), the Christian Recorder, the Colored American, Douglass’ Monthly, Frederick Douglass’ Paper, the National Era, the North Star, the Provincial Freeman, and the Weekly Advocate.
  • Ethnic American newspapers from the Balch Collection, 1799-1971: Over one hundred newspapers of immigrant communities, with heaviest representation frjom Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Polish, and Slovak newspapers. Part of America’s Historical Newspapers and the Archive of Americana.
  • Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980: Mostly scattered issues of over 300 Hispanic-American newspapers. Purports to be largest compilation of Spanish-language newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries. Based on the “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project” collection at the the University of Houston. Part of America’s Historical Newspapers and the Archive of Americana.
  • American Indian Newspapers: 59 newspapers, most of which are digitized in full color. Few are already available on our various microfilm collections, so the collection includes many sources that our new to our Library. Collection includes issues from 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
  • ProQuest Civil War Era: Nine major newspapers– Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Va., 1852-1865), Charleston Mercury (Charleston, SC, 1840-1865), Columbus Gazette (Columbus, Ohio, 1856-1865), Daily Picayune (New Orleans, La., 1840-1865), Boston Herald (Boston, MA, 1848-1865), New York Herald (New York, NY, 1840-1865), Louisville Daily Journal (Louisville, Ky., 1840-1865), Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tenn., 1847-1865), and Ohio State Journal (Columbus, Ohio, 1840-1853).
  • Agricultural Newspapers: A sub-collection of American Business Periodicals. Over 180 farm newspapers, dating from 1788 to 1894. Part of the America’s Historical Newspapers.
  • ProQuest Historical Communist Newspapers: Nine labor, socialist, and communist newspapers published in the United States. All nine newspapers are connected to the Daily Worker (either preceding or succeeding titles).

There are hundreds of freely available digitized newspaper collections. These collections vary wildly in quality, but to the historian hunting down evidence, quality isn’t always a top priority: if a collection has the source a historian needs, then he or she will happily use it, especially if it’s freely available online. Many states have their own digital newspaper collections, often developed in tandem with the National Digital Newspaper Program. States that have partnered with the NDNP, but that have not developed their own separate collections, are not included here.