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This guide identifies and provides links to newspapers and newspaper databases to which Colby subscribes. Coverage is both current and historical. Also included are selected portals of newspapers freely available on the Web.
Motivated by the success of Leslie’s, Fletcher Harper published the first issue of Harper’s Weekly one year later on January 3, 1857. Harper’s was aimed at the middle and upper socio-economic classes, and tried not to print anything that it considered unfit for the entire family to read. In addition to the importance of illustrations and cartoons by artists like Winslow Homer and Thomas Nast, the paper’s editorials played a significant role in shaping and reflecting public opinion from the start of the Civil War to the end of the century. George William Curtis, who was editor from 1863 until his death in 1892, was its most important editorial writer.
From its founding in 1857 until the Civil War broke out in April 1861, the publication took a moderate editorial stance on slavery and related volatile issues of the day. It had substantial readership in the South, and wanted to preserve the Union at all costs. Some critics called it "Harper’s Weakly."
Harper’s Weekly would have preferred William Seward or possibly even Stephen Douglas for president in 1860, and was lukewarm towards Lincoln early in his administration. When war came, however, its editorials embraced Lincoln, preservation of the Union, and the Republican Party. Military coverage became paramount in every issue, as its news and illustrations kept soldiers at the various fronts and their loved ones at home up to date on the details of the fighting.
The following quotation from the April 1865 issue of the North American Review shows how a leading peer publication viewed the wartime contributions of Harper’s Weekly.
"Its vast circulation, deservedly secured and maintained by the excellence and variety of its illustrations of the scenes and events of the war, as well as by the spirit and tone of its editorials, has carried it far and wide. It has been read in city parlors, in the log hut of the pioneer, by every camp-fire of our armies, in the wards of our hospitals, in the trenches before Petersburg, and in the ruins of Charleston; and wherever it has gone, it has kindled a warmer glow of patriotism, it has nerved the hearts and strengthened the arms of the people, and it has done its full part in the furtherance of the great cause of the Union, Freedom, and the Law."
After the war, Harper’s Weekly continued to be a major factor in Ulysses Grant’s presidential victories in 1868 and 1872, the overthrow of New York City political boss William Tweed in 1871 and the first election of Grover Cleveland in 1884. Its circulation exceeded 100,000, peaking at 300,00 on occasion, while readership probably exceeded half a million people.
Thomas Nast’s devastating cartoons drew national acclaim. As Boss Tweed said, "I don’t care so much what the papers write about me ― my constituents can’t read, but they can see them damned pictures.”
The single largest compilation of Spanish-language newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Hispanic newspapers reflect a long tradition of Spanish-language press in the western hemisphere. In the United States, the Hispanic press plays a vital role in the lives of immigrants, exiles and native Hispanic peoples alike. Often illustrated with photographic documentation, Hispanic American newspapers reveal the rich history of a people who have long resided in and contributed to the American public sphere. For more than two centuries, they have united Spanish speakers and preserved their cultural heritage through news, editorials and literature as well as by providing leadership, solidifying communities and spearheading social movements.
Provides full text access to Godey's Lady's Book, Pennsylvania Gazette, Civil War newspapers, 19th century African American newspapers, 19th century American county histories, and South Carolina Newspapers.
Search here for national and international historical newspapers. Most will be on microfilm; you may borrow these from the Center through your ILLIad interlibrary loan account. An excellent source for more obscure sources.
African-American Newspapers, 1827-1998Online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African-American experience. The collection features papers from more than 35 states—including many rare and historically significant 19th-century titles.
African-American Periodicals, 1825-1995Archive of over 170 historical periodicals, including journals, newsletters, magazines, and bulletins, providing a unique window into African-American culture and history.
Baltimore Afro-American, 1893-1988 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)PROQUEST HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS:
Founded by former slave John Henry Murphy, Sr. when he merged three church publications, The Baltimore Afro-American became one of the most widely circulated African-American newspapers on the Atlantic Coast. In addition to featuring the first black female reporter (Murphy’s daughter) and female sportswriters, the paper’s contributors have included writer Langston Hughes, intellectual J. Saunders Redding, artist Romare Bearden, and sports editor Sam Lacy, whose column influenced the desegregation of professional sports.
Chicago Defender, 1909-1975 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)The Chicago Defender has been a leading voice of the black community well beyond the Windy City, with more than two-thirds of its readership outside Chicago. The newspaper was a proponent of The Great Migration, the move of over 1.5 million African-Americans from the segregated South to the industrial North from 1915 to 1925. It reported on the Red Summer race riots of 1919, and editorialized for anti-lynching legislation and the integration of blacks into the U.S. military. This newspaper also supported the aviation career of Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female pilot, and promoted the writing of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, poet laureate of Illinois.
Ethnic NewsWatchFull-text database of periodicals of the American ethnic and minority press, with works offering African-American, Arab-American, Asian-American, European-American, Latino, Jewish, and Native American perspectives.
Los Angeles Sentinel, 1934-2005 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)From its earliest beginnings when it urged African-Americans not to “spend your money where you can’t work,” the Los Angeles Sentinel has exposed prejudice, promoted social change, and empowered the black community. By accessing more than 70 years of cover-to-cover reporting, today’s readers view the Depression through the eyes of African-Americans in the 1930s. They can follow the grass-roots struggle against the racially restrictive housing covenants of the 1940s. Researchers can follow Roy Wilkins’ column, “The Watchtower,” and see how he attacked efforts to label civil rights activists as “communists” during the Cold War. Today, this independent publication continues to cover community and world issues from the unique cultural perspective of the Los Angeles African-American community.
New York Amsterdam News, 1922-1993 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)From an initial $10 investment, the New York Amsterdam News grew to become one of the nation’s leading black newspapers and one of New York’s most influential black-owned institutions. For nearly a century, it has helped influence and promote the causes and aspirations of African-Americans. Contributors have included W. E. B. Du Bois, Roy Wilkins, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and Malcolm X. The New York Amsterdam News captured the vibrancy and cultural richness of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, advocated for the desegregation of the U.S. military during World War II, and fought against discriminatory employment practices and other civil rights abuses in the 1960s.
THE COLBY ECHO
The Colby Echo has been published by the students of Colby College in Waterville, ME since 1877. The Echo is a weekly newspaper covering campus news, features, local news, sports, entertainment and opinion.
This collection provides access to more than 40 fully searchable African newspapers published between 1800 and 1922. African Newspapers features titles from Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Languages include English, German, French, Portuguese, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Sotho, and others.
The 19th Century British Library Newspapers collection contains full runs of 48 newspapers specially selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth century Britain. It includes national and regional newspapers, as well as those from both established country or university towns and the new industrial powerhouses of the manufacturing Midlands, as well as Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Special attention was paid to include newspapers that helped lead particular political or social movements such as Reform, Chartism, and Home Rule.
On Saturday 14 May 1842, the world's first pictorial weekly newspaper was born: The Illustrated London News. The inaugural issue covered a fire in Hamburg, Queen Victoria's fancy dress ball, the war in Afghanistan and the latest fashions in Paris. The ILN commissioned a galaxy of great artists and draughtsmen to cover wars, royal events, scientific invention, and exploration. In 1855 it launched the world's first colour supplement.
Latin American Newspapers provides fully searchable newspapers published in the 19th and 20th centuries from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and elsewhere. Dates of coverage: 1805 to 1922.
Created by the U.S. intelligence community to benefit U.S. policy, FBIS Daily Reports offers full text translations of foreign views and perspectives on historical events from monitored broadcasts and publications, including news, interviews, speeches and editorial commentary.
South China Morning Post, 1903-1991 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)Digitized, full text coverage from South China Morning Posts origin in 1903 up to and including 1991. "The South China Morning Post is renowned for its authoritative and influential reporting on Hong Kong, China and all of Asia. It is highly regarded by researchers because of the unique history of Hong Kong as well as the newspapers editorial perspective on Imperial Japan and Communist China."
Search here for national and international historical newspapers. Most will be on microfilm; you may borrow these from the Center through your ILLiad interlibrary loan account. An excellent source for more obscure sources.