Citation Style Guides
This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Historical Newspapers" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Historical Newspapers   Tags: how do i find, research assistance  

Last Updated: May 8, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

Historical Newspapers

This LibGuide will provide information on how to access historical newspaper collections for your research. 

What can old newspapers tell us? They report the news of the day as it happened.  They also include many items that tell us how daily life was lived: classified advertisements, cartoons and comics, editorials, book reviews, stock prices, recipes, obituaries and death notices.  Newspapers are considered primary sources. 

What subject areas use this kind of information? All areas of social science and humanities research: architecture; business; communications; criminal justice; economics; graphic arts; history; literature; media studies; music; popular culture; psychology; sociology; women's studies.  

Examples of research using this collection.  

  • Look at cigarette advertisements over several decades. The changing social position of women is documented in the number, size and text of cigarette advertisements. The changes can be seen in the advent of advertisements directed at women, in the different appeals - to a women's independence, to glamour, etc., and in the amount of money spent on this advertising - number and size of ads.
  • Find the cost of household items in different parts of the country, and in different years.
  • Read of Civil War battles 'hot off the press' in the New York Times. What else was in the news then?
  • Read newspaper reports of the Boston Strangler, Unabomber, Black Dahlia, Zodiac Killer and others.
  • Look at the papers on, and a few days after, the date of an event we now accept as significant. How was it reported? Look at contemporary accounts of important events as well as retrospectives.
  • Read reviews of an important artist's gallery showing, or the opening of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
  • Even negative evidence can be informative. For example, what do we know that happened, that was not reported in the papers at the time, or ever? What does this tell us?

Research Help

Librarians are available to help you find the information that you need. 

  • Visit us at the Information Desk any time that we're open, or
  • Call 203-932-7189 for help or to set up an appointment with a librarian for one-on-one research assistance.
  • Email

We'll help you learn how to use the catalog to find books and use our databases to find articles, e-books and more.

Diane Spinato

Profile Image
Diane Spinato-Sr. Info. Literacy Librarian
Contact Info
Send Email

Joe Scollo

Profile Image
Information Literacy Librarian
Contact Info
(203) 479-4186
Send Email

Loading  Loading...