Help Center

General Information

How do I use this site?

You can use this site to:

  1. Submit data based on your own discoveries about local news reports during the 1930s and 1940s
  2. View information about US newspaper reports on the Holocaust that has already been submitted.

Begin by setting up an account. This enables you to communicate with the project’s Community Manager and to keep track of your submissions. Once you’ve set up an account, browse the event modules on the site. Read about the events, then pick an event (or multiple events) to research.

Once you’ve finished your research, use the site to submit information that you find. Log in to your account and follow the instructions on the submission form. You can only enter information for one article at a time. Once you have submitted an article, you can fill out the form again for any more data you’ve found.

Use the database to search newspaper articles that have been submitted by other researchers. You can search by keyword and filter data by event, location, newspaper name, headline, article type, author, and date.

How do I begin my research?

  1. Select an event (or multiple events) from our list that you would like to research.
  2. Find out what newspapers were published in your community during the 1930s and 1940s and select a newspaper using the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America U.S. Newspaper Directory.
  3. Determine whether the newspaper you chose is available in digitized format online, or if you will need to access digitized or microfilm holdings in a nearby library or archive. A list of sources for online newspapers is available here. The Chronicling America database indicates where you can find microfilm holdings for each newspaper.
  4. If you plan to perform research in a library or historical society, contact their staff ahead of time to confirm that they have the collections you need, to determine the hours when you can access the collections, and to request assistance with your research.
  5. If your research is available through an online database, follow the instructions provided by the database for help locating newspaper articles about your event.

Where can I find newspaper archives?

You are likely to find newspapers either archived online or on microfilm—typically held in public libraries, university libraries, and historical societies. Use the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America U.S. Newspaper Directory to find newspapers published in your state from 1930 to 1950. Each entry in the Chronicling America database includes a “Libraries that Have It” link which indicates where you can find microfilm holdings. Contact your local library to confirm it houses microfilm collections and readers.

You can also find newspaper archives online via free or paid services. In some cases your library may provide access to these services with a library card or at the library. Ask your library about their digital offerings.

Free online services:
The International Coalition of Newspapers (ICON) provides a large, useful list of digitized newspapers organized alphabetically by state, as does FamilySearch.

Premium/paid online services:
NewspaperArchive.com, Newspapers.com, Proquest, and Readex.

What if I need help using the microfilm machine?

Ask the librarian or historical society staff to assist you.

Different microfilm machines come with different features. Ask the librarian if it’s possible to print images. Libraries may charge a fee for this. Ask if you can save images in electronic format to a thumb drive or as an e-mail attachment. In most cases, you will have to use your phone or a camera to take photographs of articles displayed on the microfilm reader screen.

There is a lot of big text in this newspaper. How do I know which headline goes with my story?

On many front pages from the 1930s and 1940s, you will see quite a lot of information: possibly over a dozen stories on a single page, headlines, sub-headlines, doglegs, weather, stocks, and more. To learn how you can wade through all this information and find which headline goes with the article you're looking for, visit How to Read Old Newspapers.

Can I research a paper that is not my hometown paper?

Yes. Feel free to use any local or regional US community newspaper for your research. While we are interested in collecting data from a variety of small local newspapers, the scope of this project also includes sources as diverse as university newspapers; religious, ethnic and African-American press; state papers, and even larger publications. However, we ask that you do not use The New York Times, whose coverage has already been the focus of substantial research, most recently in Laurel Leff’s Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper (2005).

How can I tell what type of article I am viewing?

News Articles are the most common type of article you will encounter. These types of articles report the facts of an event as witnessed by the author or based on information collected by the author. Typically, the author does not present his or her own opinion, advocate a position, or argue that particular actions be taken. If an article appears on the front page of a paper, it is almost always a news article.

Editorials and Opinion pieces present the viewpoint and opinions of the newspaper or of guest columnists. The purpose of these articles is to advocate positions on topics or events. Often the author is attempting to sway public opinion or demand action. Editorials are usually presented as the opinion of the paper and its editorial board. Op-eds usually appear under the byline of a specific author. Both editorials and op-eds often appear toward the end of the news section of a newspaper, though Sunday papers sometimes devote complete different sections of the paper to editorials, political cartoons and opinion.

Letters to the Editor are letters sent by readers—typically in response to previously published news articles or op-eds. Letters to the editor are usually printed as a collection of several short articles which are identifiable by the way they are “signed” with the name, hometown, and sometimes title/profession of the author. They usually appear near the editorials section in a newspaper.

What’s a byline and what if there isn’t one?

A byline gives the name of the author of an article. A byline is traditionally placed between the title and the body of the article. In some cases the author of an article is a wire service, which is a news agency that gathers news reports and sells them to subscribing news organizations. Large wire services include Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, and Reuters. If there is not a byline on your article, leave that field blank.

What do I do if my story continues on another page?

If your story continues onto another page, please enter both pages into the "Page" field as you're submitting the article. When you upload the image of the paper, only upload an image of the first page of the article.

What’s the difference between a news article and an opinion piece/editorial?

See above “How can I tell what type of article I am viewing?”

How can I cite data from this project?

Please view the Museum’s citation page.

To cite specific articles from this project in a footnote or endnote:
[author name], “[article title],” [newspaper name], [date], [edition], [section], http://newspapers.ushmm.org/xxxx (accessed [date]).

To cite specific articles from this project in a bibliography, use:
[author name]. “[article title].” [newspaper name], [date], [edition], [section]. http://newspapers.ushmm.org/xxxx (accessed [date]).

To cite general material from this project in a footnote or endnote:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust, http://newspapers.ushmm.org, accessed on [date].

To cite general material from this project in a bibliography, use:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust. http://newspapers.ushmm.org. Accessed on [date].

Who is reviewing my research?

See below “What is the review process?”

Can I get credit for this? Will I be acknowledged in any way?

Yes. When you set up a user account to perform research, it will track all research that you have submit to the project. Your username will be credited beside data displayed on the site.

For Teachers/Group Leaders

Why did you pick these events?

The research you add to History Unfolded is supporting the creation of a new exhibition on Americans and the Holocaust, opening at the Holocaust Museum in spring 2018. The curator of that exhibition has many topics he'd like to explore, and the events we're asking you to investigate have been chosen based on his research priorities. Many were events that reflected socio-economic and political pressures that influenced American responses to the Holocaust, such as the threat of war, isolationism, antisemitism, and racism. Your participation directly helps the curator—you might even see an article you've contributed show up in the exhibition!

Can I suggest a new event?

Yes. We plan to regularly add new events for research during the life of this project. Please send your event suggestions to the Community Manager.

For Researchers & Academics

What if I notice a mistake?

If you notice any errors in data published on this site, please notify the Community Manager immediately. Be sure to include a link to the entry and to identify the newspaper, date, and headline of the article in question.

Can I contact the article contributor with a question?

No. For privacy reasons, we do not allow you to directly contact project researchers. However, questions or requests may be routed through the Community Manager.

What is the review process?

When submitted, all data is reviewed by the project’s Community Manager for accuracy. The Community Manager will compare the entered data against the image that was uploaded, and if everything is accurate, the data will appear in the online database, viewable by the public. You will receive a notification from the Community Manager when your research is validated.

How can I use the data on this site?

Anyone can access data compiled in this project by selecting the Search Database function. You can search by keyword and filter data by event, location, newspaper name, headline, article type, author, and date.