Used to find what was going on in a particular place, at a particular time, historic newspapers will tell you what made the news and was being talked about. Keep in mind that newspapers in different geographic areas have different target audiences.
|New York - HWS||1879 - 1942||Hobart Herald|
|New York - HWS||1942 - 2015||The Herald|
|New York - Geneva||1806 - 1923||NYS Historic Newspapers|
|New York - Ontario County||ca.1803 - ca.1989||NYS Historic Newspapers||Browse titles|
|New York - Rochester||1884 - 2011||Democrat and Chronicle|
|New York - New York City||1851 - 2016||Historical New York Times||Browse titles|
|New York State||ca. 1803 - ca. 2015||NYS Historic Newspapers||Browse titles|
|United States - Northeastern U.S.||1785 - 2010||Historical Newspapers U.S. Northeast Collection||Browse titles|
|United States - Chicago||1909 - 1975||Chicago Defender||Browse titles|
|United States||1827 - 1998||African American Newspapers||Browse titles|
|United States||1704 - 1998||Early American Newspapers||Browse titles|
|United States||1789 - 1963||Chronicling America||Browse titles|
1. Formulate your research question before you start.
Newspaper databases have the potential to deliver incredibly rich and varied results. Having a solid idea of what question you are trying to answer before you start will serve you well in the process.
2. Know the geographical application of your research question.
In other words, is there a specific place (region, state, county, city/town) most applicable to the information you seek? If the event you are interested in took place outside of New York state, consider a resource with broader geographic coverage, like Early American Newspapers or Chronicling America. From there you can target your search to specific geographic locations.
3. Know what time period is applicable to your research.
If you are seeking newspaper coverage reported during a particular event or within the span of a particular individual's life, make sure to use date limits. An event or person may be recalled differently after the fact than during the active time of the event or life.
4. Consider the audience of the newspaper itself.
Newspaper publishers target their titles to different audiences. Do not assume that all papers in the same geographic region or time frame will cover an event from the same point of view.
5. Experiment with your search strategy.
Newspapers are very rich resources and can deliver excellent coverage of the past in the voice of the day. Give yourself time and permission to really experiment with your search techniques to find the best possible articles and coverage.
Edward Elder Cooper (1859-1908), publisher of the The Colored American (Washington, DC). Image courtesy NYPL Digital Collections.