Using newspapers for historical research

A guide to sources. Here is a listing of those available with the words newspaper or newspapers in the title Digitized Historical Newspapers Available on the Web These two sites will help identify which newspaers are online and where they can be found -- but they won't find everything. Historical Newspapers Online and You can use Elephind as a one-step search engine for a large number of -- but not all -- free historical newspapers online. Once the hits appear, you can narrow results by place and time frame.

Using newspapers for historical research

Documents Project Using Newspapers as Primary Sources When historians study the past they utilize primary sources, materials written during the time period or by participants, to reconstruct the events that took place. However, in studying history, they are also limited by the sources available.

In addition to a variety of primary sources historians also use secondary sources, materials written by scholars about the period, to increase their knowledge of the greater context.

In the case of Oregon woman suffrage, newspapers are one of the few surviving kinds of records documenting the campaign in Oregon. Archives possess very few journals, meeting minutes, or other primary source records of the campaign.

However, as with all texts documenting the historical record, newspapers must be analyzed critically to create the clearest picture of the time period.

Several key considerations, or tests, exist for using newspapers as primary sources. The first thing to consider when using a newspaper as a primary source is the broader context for the selected articles.

One must first look at the newspaper itself. For example, during the woman suffrage campaign inarticles appeared in a variety of news sources including the Oregonian, the Oregon Journal, the Portland Evening Telegram, and the Pacific Grange Bulletin.

While the intent of most newspapers at the time was to inform, these sources differed in their political and social agendas. In addition to the overall agenda of the newspapers, historians need to consider the intended audience. The articles did more than inform the reader about current events.

Articles were also propaganda. They could be event summaries, editorials, and even advertisements. Author bias, when the author is known, must also be considered.

For example, an author could have been a political figure writing about a topic with which she or he disagreed. When analyzing newspaper articles it is also important to understand the importance of where the article itself appeared in the newspaper.

For example, the article could be considered front page news or perhaps considered less important—being listed on a social events page. Newspapers preserve time in a unique way as they include information about key people, places, and events.

They can assist historians in documenting what was going on and they often served as the primary way to spread information to the general public.

Across different Oregon newspapers in readers could find articles and editorials presenting many perspectives on woman suffrage.

Because newspapers were a main source of information about current events and political topics, people would rely on this information, in part, to make decisions about key issues.

Newspapers are also the only way that researchers and archivists know about the existence of certain groups involved. Many of the newspaper articles about the woman suffrage campaign also include the names of participants, events, leaders, organizations involved, and how they worked together to achieve their goal of gaining woman suffrage in Oregon.

In many cases this information is not contained in any other source. While newspapers are valuable as sources, issues arise when people rely on them alone to reconstruct history.

History is generally written based on new perspectives and interpretations of sources already in existence. Using newspapers alone can lead one to be misinformed about the time period being researched.

Newspaper articles may include errors and discrepancies due to misreported events, unreliable sources, or political slants and biases. Surviving copies of newspapers can have legibility problems due to poor preservation and maintenance. Some newspapers, including the Oregonian, the Oregon Journal, and the Portland Evening Telegram were microfilmed for preservation.

In this process legibility can be compromised. This leaves one with an incomplete story. Transcription and digitization can help with this problem, but it is a continuing challenge. Even with these challenges newspapers are a valuable resource for understanding the time period in which they were written.

In the case of Oregon woman suffrage, they provide us with nearly all the information about the campaign.

Documents Project

These documents serve as the foundation for understanding the history of woman suffrage in Oregon and the campaign that achieved it. Secondary Sources Katz, Sherry J. Finding Women in the Archives eds.

Using newspapers for historical research

Nupur Chardhuri, Sherry J. Katz, and Mary Elizabeth Perry. University of Illinois Press, An introduction to using newspapers for research. In addition to the Daily Utah Chronicle, several local and national daily papers are available for free to students Monday through Friday during the school year as part of the ASUU-sponsored Collegiate Readership Program, in boxes scattered around the campus.

Genealogical Research in Newspapers

At the west entrance of the Marriott . Here is the list of newspapers that are in the now defunct Google project to archive historical newspapers. Researching Newspapers For Genealogy For Free This YouTube video shows you how to find and use some free newspaper sites.

20 minutes. Using Newspapers in Historical Research Newspapers can serve as useful primary sources for historical research. They reflect the time period in which they were created, and provide a glimpe into society at the time. However, as with all texts documenting the historical record, newspapers must be analyzed critically to create the clearest picture of the time period.

Several key considerations, or tests, exist for using newspapers as primary sources. Historical newspapers are useful tools for history and genealogy research. Newspapers provide day to day accounts of a particular period in time and supply insight into the customs, cultural values, and social issues which impacted communities on local and global levels.

Using newspapers for historical research

Newspapers (historical and contemporary) are full of different kinds of information that can be used in many ways – for amusement or education, for example, but also for scientific research.

Using Newspapers in Historical Research | NCSU Libraries