Finding Articles from the 18th, 19th, or Early 20th Century in American Periodicals & Newspapers

Resources marked with this symbol are restricted to Columbia affiliates.

Online Full-Text Resources

Various online resources provide access to full text and/or full-page image of selected periodicals and newspapers from the 17th, 18th, 19th, or early 20th  century.

For the most wide-ranging picture of how your topic was covered in the periodical press, you will want to make use of Indexes (see section below) to supplement what you are finding in full-text resources.

  • Accessible Archives
    Contains a wide range of primary-source collections drawn mainly from the 19th century: including African-American Newspapers; American County Histories; periodicals for women (Godey’s Lady’s Book and The Lily); The Pennsylvania Gazette, Virginia Gazette, and South Carolina Newspapers. Includes an extensive 6-part collection covering the Civil War from a variety of perspectives.
  • African American historical serials collection    (EBSCO)
    "Includes African American periodicals, annuals and reports published from 1829-1922 including materials from African American religious organizations and social service agencies." (from publisher's description)
  • African American periodicals, 1825-1995   (Readex)
    "Allows users to search more than 170 African American Periodicals published between 1825 and 1995. Created by Readex through a partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society, African American Periodicals enables researchers to explore African American culture, thought and opinion ranging over more than 150 years of African American life." (from publisher's description)
  • American Antiquarian Society (AAS) historical periodicals collection (1691-1877)
    Provides digital access to an extensive collection of American periodicals published between 1691 and 1877. "Subject coverage includes: Art, Architecture, Music; Books and Publishing; Business, Agriculture, Industry; Ethnic Groups; Family and Society; History and Description; Language, Literature, Law, Politics and Government; Religion and Philosophy; Revolutionary War; and Science and Medicine." Produced by a partnership between EBSCO and the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), one of the premier libraries documenting the life of America's people from the Colonial Era through the Civil War and Reconstruction. (Derived from publisher's description.)
  • American Periodicals (1740-1940)
    Contains periodicals published between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically-significant periodicals.
  • America's historical newspapers : including Early American newspapers series, 1-7, 1690-1922; African-American newspapers, 1827-1998; Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection, 1799-1971 and Hispanic American newspapers, 1808-1980
    "For searching and browsing American newspapers published in three centuries, America’s Historical Newspapers is the most comprehensive online resource available. Continually expanding, it offers searchable digital facsimiles of thousands of titles from all 50 states. With eyewitness reporting, editorials, letters, advertisements, obituaries and much more, this acclaimed collection uniquely chronicles the evolution of American culture and daily life from 1690 to the recent past." (from publisher's description)
  • Chronicling America : Historic American Newspapers
    Search America's historic newspapers pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
  • Ethnic American newspapers from the Balch collection, 1799-1971 (Readex)
    "Enables users to search more than 130 Ethnic American newspapers published in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. Created in partnership with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. . . ." (from publisher's description)
  • Gale newsvault 
    Includes 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, which may be searched on its own or in conjunction with a wide range of British newspaper and periodical collections.
  • Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, 1543-1945
    Full-text collection of books and periodicals relating to the history of women, women's rights, and women's suffrage. The bulk of materials fall within 1880-1920.
  • HarpWeek
    Page images and searchable full text of Harper's Weekly, the popular illustrated American magazine, for the period 1856-1912. Detailed searchable subject index.
  • Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980
    Includes hundreds of Spanish-language or Spanish/English bilingual newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Historical Black Newspapers 
    A subset of Proquest Historical Newspapers (see listing below). Full-text and full-image access to the following newspapers: Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988),  Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), and Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002).NOTE: To include other historical databases in your search, or to remove one or more of the above newspapers from your search: Click on "Select Multiple Databases" in the main search screen, scroll down to "Historical Databases," and select or de-select items as desired.
    Searchable full text, displayed as page images only, for more than 120 key scholarly journals from their earliest issue up to about five years ago.
  • Making of America
    Searchable full text of thousands of pages of text from U.S. books and periodicals of the late 19th and early 20th-century.
  • The Nation
    Searchable full text, displayed as page images only, for a leading American left-liberal journal, 1865-1999.
  • 19th Century U.S. Newspapers
    Searchable database containing digital facsimile images of newspapers, presented as full page layout as well as single articles. Advertisements and illustrations are included. This collection includes numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.; and it encompasses the entire 19th century.
  • PAIS International  &  PAIS Archive
     items published 1915 to the present
    The "PAIS International" database contains references to journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, publications of international agencies, microfiche, Internet material, and more.  It includes publications from over 120 countries throughout the world. The "PAIS Archive" database (which is searched simultaneously with "PAIS International")  comprises a retrospective conversion of the "PAIS Annual Cumulated Bulletin," volumes 1-62, published 1915-1976. The "PAIS Archive" database contains references to monographs, periodical articles, notes and announcements, and analytics. Since its establishment in 1914, PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) has chronicled public and social policy issues in the public debate through highly selective coverage of a wide variety of sources.
  • Periodicals Archive Online
    Focus: American, British, and European
    Coverage: items published 1665 to 2000
    Archive of hundreds of digitised journals published in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and areas of general popular interest. Each periodical is covered back to its first issue, regardless of when it began publication. International in scope, Periodicals Archive Online covers periodicals in a number of Western languages.
  • Proquest Historical Newspapers
    Full-text and full-image articles, dating back to their first issues, for the following newspapers: Atlanta Constitution (1868-1945), Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), Boston Globe (1872-1927), Chicago Tribune (1849-1987), Hartford Courant (1764-1985), Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), Los Angeles Times (1881-1987), New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), New York Times (1851-2006), The New York Tribune (1841-1922), Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002), The Wall Street Journal (1889-1992), The Washington Post (1877-1993). Also includes British newspapers The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003).  
    NOTE: To limit your search to one or more of the above newspapers: Click on "Select Multiple Databases" in the main search screen, scroll down to "Historical Databases," and de-select items as desired.


An index will enable you to identify articles published in periodicals and/or newspapers.

Online Indexes

  • Nineteenth-Century Masterfile
    Integrates a number of indexes to nineteenth-century printed material into one database. Includes: Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1906), and other general periodical indexes; New York Daily Tribune Index (1875-1906), New York Times Index (1863-1905), and other indexes devoted to specific newspaper or periodical titles; as well as specialized indexes for law, religion, and government documents.
  • Historical Newspapers Online
    Electronic form of the indexes to the London Times and the New York Times. Currently covers the London Times beginning 1790 and the New York Times beginning 1851.
  • PAIS Archive
    Includes references to more than 700,000 journal articles, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, and other English-language materials from around the world, originally published in the PAIS Bulletin, 1915-1976. Subjects covered include: demography, economic conditions, energy resources, environmental studies, government, human rights, international affairs, media, political science, and public policy.
  • Readers Guide Retrospective
    Coverage: 1890-1982. Provides citations to articles in popular and general-interest periodicals.

Print Indexes

  • Writings on American History, 1902-1989/90.
    Location: BUTLER STACKS
    Call Number: Z1236 .L331
    Lists books and articles on American history.

To Identify Additional Relevant Indexes

For a fuller listing and discussion of periodical and newspaper guides and/or indexes, see:

  • Balay, Robert. Early periodical indexes : bibliographies and indexes of literature published in periodicals before 1900. (Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2000)
    Butler Reference R016.05 B18
  • Prucha, Francis Paul. Handbook for Research in American History, 2nd. ed (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1994), 50-61, 73-80.
    Butler Reference Desk R016.973 P951

Bibliographies and Histories

Bibliographies and histories can provide you with varying degrees of information about specific periodicals or newspapers and/or about the periodical press as a whole in a given time period. Some major examples of such works would be:

  • Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 5 vols. (New York, London, D. Appleton 1930-1968)
    BUTLER STACKS PN4877 .M63 1930

Many specialized bibliographies, which list and describe certain types of periodical publications, are also available. Some examples are listed below. Note that the base call number they share--R016.051--identifies a good area of Butler Reference (Room 310, Alcove 5) to browse for similar resources.

  • Humphreys, Nancy K. American women's magazines : an annotated historical guide (New York: Garland, 1989)
  • Lora, Ronald and William Henry Longton, eds. The conservative press in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century America (New York: Greenwood Press, 1999)

Using CLIO to Identify Additional Resources

Books and other information resources about periodicals and newspapers can be searched in CLIO under the appropriate subject headings.

Select "Subject" as "Search Type Option" in the Basic Searching screen of CLIO.

Enter one of the following searches:

american periodicals
american newspapers

Once you have done your subject search in CLIO:

  • Look at the overall list of entries to see how the large subject of "american periodicals" is broken down. If you are interested in finding more of the types of resources listed in this handout, you should be attentive to headings such as:
    american periodicals--bibliography
    american periodicals--directories
    american periodicals-history
    american periodicals--indexes
  • Click "More Info" next to the "American Periodicals" subject heading to see more specialized subject headings that you may search under, for example:
    african american periodicals
    children's periodicals american
    hispanic american periodicals
    women's periodicals american