Cleveland Plain Dealer (1845-1991)
An Archive of Americana Collection

Quick Facts

  • More than one million pages published over nearly 150 years from Ohio’s largest daily newspaper
  • Fascinating insight into American life from the 19th century to the late 20th century
  • Ideal for a broad range of users, including researchers, students and genealogists


The Plain Dealer has won numerous journalism awards. As one of the major U.S. newspapers comprising American Newspaper Archives, this digital edition of The Plain Dealer enables all users—researchers, students and genealogists—to easily search this historically significant publication from the 19th century to the late 20th century.

Through more than one million pages published over nearly 150 years, The Plain Dealer provides regional perspectives and reporting on the American Civil War, World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War; movements ranging from women’s suffrage to civil rights; noteworthy local people; political campaigns; and much more.

19th-century beginnings
Established by Joseph William Gray in 1842 as a weekly newspaper, The Plain Dealer has been an integral part of the greater Cleveland area since its founding. It became an evening daily in 1845, and during the Antebellum Period was the local Democratic organ in a largely Republican city and region. During the Civil War, the paper denounced Lincoln, backing the Ohio gubernatorial campaign of arch-Copperhead Clement L. Vallandigham. Returning to its Democratic roots after the Confederacy surrendered, The Plain Dealer launched a morning edition in 1885. With circulation rising to nearly 30,000, The Plain Dealer also began a Sunday edition. The paper’s proximity to prosperous oil refineries, including John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, makes it an excellent source of insight into the explosive growth of American industry and the antitrust suits of the next century. Available as a complement is the Cleveland Leader (1854 to 1913), an important local paper that was acquired by The Plain Dealer in 1917.

An award-winning newspaper in the 20th century
Cleveland had become the nation’s fifth-largest city by the 1920s and ‘30s. Breaking with its long Democratic orientation, The Plain Dealer endorsed Wendell L. Willkie for president in 1940. In the 1960s, Thomas Vail invigorated The Plain Dealer, giving the paper a spirited non-partisan stance.

These 20th-century issues chronicle attempts to energize the region after the Great Depression, the local boom after World War II and the election in 1967 of the first black mayor of a major U.S. city. Also here are the diverse citizens whose efforts led to Cleveland’s five-time recognition as an All-American City.

An American Newspaper Archive
One of the major titles in American Newspaper Archives, this digital edition enables users to easily search and browse The Plain Dealer. Digital editions of dozens of other vital American newspapers, from every region of the United States, are also available individually.  Each is cross-searchable via an integrated interface that allows users to easily view, magnify, print and save digital page images.

For more information, contact a Readex representative by calling 800.762.8182 or by using our easy contact form.

Back to top