Doing Newspaper Research from Home: Online Learning with History Unfolded

By May 4, 2020For Teachers

WELCOME

Welcome to History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust, a project of the United States Holocaust Museum. History Unfolded asks students, teachers, and history buffs to help us discover what information was available to Americans about the Holocaust as it was happening and how Americans responded to that information. Citizen historians — like you — perform research in local newspapers from 1933 to 1946, searching for news and opinion about different Holocaust-era events that took place during that time. They submit information about articles they find – as well as information about newspapers that did not cover events – to the project website. Together, project participants have compiled (and are growing!) the world’s largest database of US newspaper reporting on the Holocaust.

 

HOW TO GET STARTED: CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY, ARCHIVE OR HISTORICAL SOCIETY

First, familiarize yourself with the project website. It is designed for you to learn about specific events from the time of the Holocaust, research how specific newspapers reported on those events, and submit what you find to the project database.

You can contribute research to History Unfolded from any newspaper in the United States. However, it is often most rewarding when you learn about what was reported in your local area or home state. Because most historical newspaper collections are housed in libraries, History Unfolded was designed for participants to conduct research using microfilm and digitized collections in local libraries, archives and historical societies (as well as digitized online collections). 

While many libraries are physically closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still recommend that you begin your research by contacting your public library, university library or local historical society/archive to inquire about the availability of remote access to digitized historical newspaper collections. It is critical that you ask the library staff if their online collections include newspapers from the 1930s and 1940s, as they may have digitized newspaper collections, but not necessarily from the relevant time period. Library staff may also share other helpful tips, such as whether certain issues or years may be missing from the papers they hold or what collections may be added in the near future.

On December 7, 2015, participants in History Unfolded gather at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC, to search local newspaper archives via online databases. US Holocaust Memorial Museum

On December 7, 2015, participants in History Unfolded gather at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC, to search local newspaper archives via online databases. US Holocaust Memorial Museum

OTHER FREE ONLINE COLLECTIONS

In addition to your local library holdings, you may also perform research using a number of digitized newspaper archives that are available online free of charge. They vary in terms of the size of their newspaper collections, whether they have many newspaper issues from 1933 to 1946, and how easy they are to use. Here are some of the open online archives that we recommend you consider:

  1. North Carolina Newspapers (https://www.digitalnc.org/collections/newspapers/)
  2. Utah Digital Newspapers (https://digitalnewspapers.org/)
  3. Iowa Historical Newspapers (https://guides.lib.uni.edu/c.php?g=668054&p=4696290)
  4. The Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu/)
  5. Montana Newspapers (http://montananewspapers.org/)
  6. Hoosier State Chronicles (https://newspapers.library.in.gov
  7. Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections (http://idnc.library.illinois.edu)
  8. Georgia Historic Newspapers (https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/
  9. California Digital Newspaper Collection (https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc)
  10. New York State Historic Newspapers (http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/)
  11. Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project (https://digitalcollections.library.cmu.edu/portal/collections/pjn/index.jsp)
  12. Brooklyn Public Library (https://bklyn.newspapers.com)
  13. Google Newspaper Archive (https://news.google.com/newspapers)

 

PAID ACCESS ONLINE COLLECTIONS

Some of the largest online collections of historical newspapers are available only through paid subscription services. Check with your school or local library to see if they subscribe to any of the following services, most of which include thousands of newspapers published in all 50 states from the year 1700 to the present.

Researchers who have access to or choose to purchase a use Newspapers.com subscription are encouraged to consult our blog post with tips on how to upload from Newspapers.com.

 

FINDING OTHER COLLECTIONS

The History Unfolded website maintains a directory of known newspaper collections in each state. This directory is not comprehensive, and Newspapers holdings are changing all the time. We recommend that you begin with the resources we listed above, and consult the directory after, filtering by “Type of Resource” “Open Online” or “Restricted Online” to see what you can view off-site.