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Primary Sources for American History

This guide offers resources for finding primary source material in the area of American history.

Newspapers as primary sources

Newspaper articles published at the time of an event are considered primary sources, as they are contemporaneous to the event and often include first-hand accounts and related images.

Students may find local or smaller newspapers published by social, religious, ethnic, and political groups to be particularly useful.  

Check out this helpful blog post from the Library of Congress for more information:

"Using data from historic newspapers," The Signal, September 5, 2017

New-York Daily Tribune, July 07, 1863

Digitized Newspaper Collections and Databases

Access World News 
Full text access to approximately 3,000 global news sources, including newspapers, broadcast transcripts, newswires, news blogs.


Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers [Library of Congress]

Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.


Ethnic Newwatch

Full text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press. Covers of a wide spectrum of ethnic viewpoints, including African-American, Jewish, Latino, Native-American, and Asian-American publications. Coverage Dates: 1990 to present


Gale Infotrac Newstand 
InfoTrac Newsstand is an innovative Web-based full-text newspaper database.


National Newspaper Index 
Index of five major newspapers: New York Times (from 1980), Wall Street Journal (from 1980), Christian Science Monitor (from 1980), Los Angeles Times (from 1982) and Washington Post (from 1980). Also includes index for New York Times Magazine (from 1977) and New York Times Book Review (from 1980).


New York State Newspapers 
Full text of select New York state newspapers, including the New York Post (from 2000), New York Observer (from 1999), Albany Times (from 1986), and Buffalo News (from 1996). Coverage dates vary by publication.


New York Times Historical 
Full text of the New York Times from 1851 to 2007. Recent issues available thru Lexis-NexisAdditional holdings.


Staten Island Advance 
Full text of Staten Island's local newspaper, the Staten Island Advance, from October 1991 to present. Electronic access is also available from LexisNexis (Aug. 2006 - present). Issues from Aug. 1945 to Dec. 2007 are available on microfilm. See library catalog for holdings.


Wall Street Journal [Proquest] 
The financial newspaper of record offering in-depth coverage of national and international business, finance, and economic news. Full text is available for all issues published since 1984. Issues from 1889 to 2007 are available on microfilm