Finding Articles from the 17th, 18th, 19th, or early 20th Century in British and American Periodicals and Newspapers

Listed and linked below are many of the key resources available to you, through Columbia Libraries, for identifying, locating, and accessing periodical and newspaper articles from the 17th, 18th, 19th, or early 20th centuries.

Online Full-Text Resources

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

  • Accessible Archives
    Focus: American, 18th and 19th centuries
    A set of databases that can be searched individually or simultaneously. The focus is on periodicals and newspapers in the Eighteenth Century (Pennsylvania Gazette) and the Nineteenth Century (African-American Newspapers, Godey's Lady's Book, and Civil-War newspapers). Also includes specialized databases of genealogical and industrialization information.
  • American Antiquarian Society (AAS) historical periodicals collection  
    Focus: American, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries
    Provides full-text searchability and full-page-image access to periodicals from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society, one of the premier repositories in the United States. Currently includes series 1 (over 500 titles dating from 1691 through 1820) and series 2 (over 1,000 titles dating from 1821 through 1837) out of a five-series collection. Series 3-5 (covering 1838-1877) are forthcoming and will be added to this site when they become available.  The subject matter covered in AAS Historical Periodicals Collection is broad in scope and covers most aspects of American society during the time period.
  • American Periodicals
    Focus: American, 18th through early 20th centuries  
    Provides digitized images and searchable text for American magazines and journals published from colonial days to the dawn of the 20th century.
  • America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1922
    (Including Early American Newspapers, Series I through V)
    Provides full-text and full-image access to more than 1,000 U.S. historical newspapers published between 1690 and 1922, including titles from all 50 states.
  • British Periodicals (Collections I and II)
    Provides facsimile page images and searchable full text for nearly 500 British periodicals published from the 17th through the early 20th centuries. Topics covered include literature, philosophy, history, science, the fine arts, the social sciences, music, archaeology and architecture. Note: both of these collections are also searchable within: Periodicals Archive Online.
  • Eighteenth century journals : a portal to newspapers and periodicals, c1685-1815
    Full-text and page-image access to newspapers and periodicals printed between c1685-1815. Contains materials from: the Hope Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas; the British Newspaper Library at Colindale, London; the Cambridge University Library; Chetham's Library, Manchester; and Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.
  • Gale newsvault  (Cross-search a Number of Collections 17th through 20th centuries)
    Users can simultaneously search or browse across multiple databases of historical newspaper and/or periodical literature. These include: 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers; 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Part I; 19th Century UK Periodicals; 19th Century U.S. Newspapers; Illustrated London News Historical Archive; Times Digital Archive; and Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive.
  • Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, 1543-1945
    Focus: American, British, and European, 1543-1945 (most materials are 1880-1920)
    Full-text collection of books and periodicals relating to the history of women, women's rights, and women's suffrage.
  • HarpWeek
    Focus: American, 1857-1912
    Page images and searchable full text of Harper's Weekly, the popular illustrated American magazine.
  • Illustrated London News historical archive, 1842-2003
    Focus: British, 1842-2003
    Unprecedented online access to the entire run of the Illustrated London News from its first publication on 14 May 1842 to its last in 2003. Each page has been digitally reproduced in full colour and every article and caption is full-text searchable with hit-term highlighting and links to corresponding illustrations.
  • Internet Library of Early Journals: A Digital Library of 18th and 19th Century Journals
    Focus: British, 18th and 19th centuries
    Provides digitized page images covering at least twenty consecutive years for six journals: Gentleman's Magazine, The Annual Register, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Notes and Queries, The Builder, and Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Search options vary by title, ranging from browse only, to searching by subject headings, to searching full text.
    Focus: American and British, beginning 1665 covering up to 3 to 5 years ago
    Searchable full text, displayed as page images, for more than 600 key scholarly journals beginning with their earliest issues. A “moving wall” (generally ranging from 3 to 5 years) separates the latest issue available in JSTOR from the most recently published issue of the journal.
  • Making of America
    Focus: American, 19th century
    “A digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.”
  • The Nation
    Focus: American, 19th century onward
    Searchable full text, displayed as page images only, for a leading American left-liberal journal, from 1865 through 2004.
  • 19th Century UK Periodicals
    Provides full-text and full-page-image access to 19th century British periodicals.  Periodicals are grouped in cross-searchable topical series. Currently contains Series 1, New Readerships: Women and Children, Sports and Leisure,  Humour and Satire; and Series 2, Empire: Travel and Anthropology, Economics, Missionary and Colonial. Series 3 through 5 will cover Culture, Working Life, and Knowledge, and will be added to this site as they are published.
  • Periodicals Archive Online
    Focus: British, American, and European; mid-17th to late-20th centuries
    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
    Focus: American, 19th and 20th centuries
    Full-text and full-image articles, dating back to their first issues, for the following newspapers: the New York Times (1851-2001), the Wall Street Journal (1889-1987), the Washington Post (1877-1988), the Atlanta Constitution (1868-1925), the Boston Globe (1872-1922), the Chicago Tribune (1890-1946), and the Los Angeles Times (1881-1984).
    NOTE: If you do not wish to search all of these newspapers simultaneously: click on "Select Multiple Databases"; scroll down to the Historical Databases; and de-select newspapers as you wish.
  • Times Digital Archive
    Full-text and full-image articles from the Times of London for 1785-2007.
  • The TLS historical archive, 1902-2008
    A fully searchable resource containing every page of the Times Literary Supplement from 1902 to 2008. NOTE: for listings of articles appearing in TLS subsequent to 2008, see Humanities Full Text.


An index will enable you to identify articles published in periodicals and/or newspapers. For the most wide-ranging picture of how your topic was covered in the periodical press, you will want to make use of indexes and full-text resources in conjunction with one another.

Online Indexes

  • The Wellesley index to Victorian periodicals, 1824-1900 
    The vast majority of articles written for Victorian periodicals were published anonymously, or under pseudonyms. The Wellesley Index identifies the authors of articles within major Victorian periodicals, and provides a bibliography for each contributor. 45 important monthly and quarterly titles are included, covering the period from the beginning of the Westminster Review in 1824 to the end of the century. The exception to this is the Edinburgh Review, which is indexed from first issue, in 1802. Wellesley does not index poetry.
  • Nineteenth-Century Masterfile
    Focus: American and British, 19th Century
    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. Now includes links to full-text articles for selected periodicals.
  • Historical Newspapers
    Focus: American and British
    Contains: Palmer's Index to the London Times (1790-1905); The Official Index to the London Times (1906-1980); and Historical Index to the New York Times (1851-1922).
    Allows for searching across all of these indexes combined.
  • Readers Guide Retrospective
    Focus: American with limited coverage of British, 1890-1982.
    Provides listings of articles in popular and general-interest periodicals published in the United States. Coverage includes literary works published in those periodicals (short stories, poetry, etc.)

To Identify Additional Relevant Indexes

For a fuller listing and discussion of periodical 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

Bibliographies, Directories, and Histories

Bibliographies, directories, and histories can provide you with varying types and 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:

  • The Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800-1900
    A subject-inclusive, language-inclusive annotated bibliography of 50,000 periodical publications. Searchable by title, by names of persons or of issuing bodies involved with these publications, by subject, and by place of publication.
  • Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 5 vols. (New York, London, D. Appleton 1930-1968)
    BUTLER STACKS  PN4877 .M63 1930

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.

  1. In the “Basic Search” screen of CLIO, select "Subject Heading" from the “In:” box menu.
  2. Enter searches using subject headings as appropriate, for example:

english periodicals
english newspapers

american periodicals
american newspapers

Once you have done your subject search in CLIO:

  • Look at the overall list of entries to see how the subject is broken down. If you are interested in finding more of the types of resources listed on this page, you should be attentive to subheadings such as those below:

english periodicals--bibliography
english periodicals--directories
english periodicals--history
english periodicals--indexes

  • Click "More Info" next to the "American Periodicals" or the "English Periodicals" subject heading to see more specialized subject headings that you may wish to search under, for example:

African American periodicals
Children’s periodicals, American
Hispanic American periodicals
Women’s periodicals, American