America's Historical Newspapers


Find new historical collections for research and teaching at ALA Midwinter

If you will be attending the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association, please visit our exhibit for a demonstration of our new and recent collections. The acclaimed resources highlighted below were created for researching and teaching American and world history over the past four centuries. If we miss you in Boston at booth 1417, please use the links below to request more information, including pricing. 


African American Newspapers, Series 2, 1835-1956

Completing the world’s most comprehensive collection of its kind, African American Newspapers, Series 2, is the essential complement to Series 1 of this widely acclaimed resource. Series 2 now adds virtually all other available newspapers in this genre, including many rare titles—in all, more than 75 publications from 22 states and Washington, D.C. REQUEST PRICING 


American Business: Agricultural Newspapers

Find new historical collections for research and teaching at ALA Midwinter

Toddies Innumerable and Punches Without Limit

19th-Century Cocktail from The Cocktail Explorer.comOne joy of 19th-century American newspapers is reading the columns devoted to non-news things. The example seen below—published on page three of the Indiana State Journal on August 11, 1897—is entitled “Drinks and Drinkers: What People of Various Lands Exhilarate Themselves With.”

After a quick whip-around describing the drinking styles in various parts of the United States—the Easterner is quick, the Southerner courtly and discursive in conversation, and military men say “How” and down it goes—the unnamed author declares:

It is a world of strange drinks. Americans are supposed to be past masters in the art of mixing singular decoctions. The very names of them give the untraveled Englishman a sense of wonder extreme. We have the cocktail of various kinds, the rickey, the ginsling, the julep, the stone fence, the eye opener, the brain duster, the silver fizz, the golden fizz, the smash, the pick-me-up, the Remsen cooler, toddies innumerable and punches without limit. One barkeeper of New York city, known to newspaper men affectionately as “the only William,” has published a book containing recipes for the making of more than five thousand drinks. Many of them are of his own invention, but they may be had as far west as the Pacific.

Further in, the author explores beyond the U.S.:

Toddies Innumerable and Punches Without Limit

Readex to Deepen Its Acclaimed Digital Edition of African American Newspapers

Today, Readex distributed this news release:

Readex to Deepen Its Acclaimed Digital Edition of African American Newspapers

African American Newspapers, Series 2, will dramatically expand Series 1 with newly available titles

Readex to Deepen Its Acclaimed Digital Edition of African American Newspapers

Readex Significantly Expands Early American Newspapers with Series 12, 1821-1900

Today, Readex distributed this news release:

 Readex Significantly Expands Early American Newspapers with Series 12, 1821-1900 

Hundreds of rare short-lived U.S. papers, available online for the first time 


Readex Significantly Expands Early American Newspapers with Series 12, 1821-1900

New Historical Newspaper Collections to Meet Targeted Teaching and Research Needs

Today, Readex distributed this news release:

Readex Announces Five Unique New Historical Newspaper Collections to Meet Targeted Teaching and Research Needs

One-of-a-kind resources focus on American agriculture, business, political campaigns, religion, and official pronouncements and documents

New Historical Newspaper Collections to Meet Targeted Teaching and Research Needs

Interface Training: Make the Most of Your Readex Collections

Readex interface training sessions present a brief overview of collection content, highlight key interface features and functionality, and offer suggestions for classroom instruction. Specific examples of how faculty and students use the content are also provided.

Sessions are organized around major Readex collection families. Register today for one or more today.


America’s Historical Newspapers and World Newspaper Archive
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Collections covered include Early American Newspapers, African American Newspapers, Hispanic American Newspapers, Ethnic American Newspapers, Caribbean Newspapers, 20th-Century American Newspapers, American Newspaper Archive and the World Newspaper Archive.

Interface Training: Make the Most of Your Readex Collections

San Francisco Conference Founds the United Nations: A Look Back through Three Readex Collections


From America's Historical Newspapers

Beginning on April 25, 1945, as World War II entered its final months, delegates from dozens of nations gathered at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Their goal was the creation of an international organization that would lessen the chances of a third global conflict.  The meeting’s official name was the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), but it was more typically called the San Francisco Conference.  

The participants debated the institutional framework that had been negotiated earlier in the year by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.  Chaired by U.S. diplomat Alger Hiss, and addressed by President Harry Truman, the San Francisco Conference ultimately produced the United Nations Charter, which was signed on June 26, 1945.

Readex collections offer three different ways to see real-time accounts of this historic meeting. The first is through the daily press accounts in America’s Historical Newspapers.  The actions of the delegates in the build-up to the final charter can be traced through news stories, editorials, opinion columns, photographs and cartoons.

San Francisco Conference Founds the United Nations: A Look Back through Three Readex Collections

“A newspaper for sensible people or for fools?”: An 1894 Lecture on “The Making of a Newspaper Man”

Charles A. DanaJournalist Charles A. Dana (1819-1897), noted editor of the New York Sun, delivered a lecture on “The Making of a Newspaper Man” at Cornell University on January 11, 1894. This lecture and two related ones delivered in 1888 and 1893 were published the following year in a volume titled The Art of Newspaper Making. On January 19, 1895, the Kansas City Star published this article summarizing his Cornell address. Here’s the Star’s account of what Dana said:

Click to open in PDFThe newspaper profession is certainly a learned profession in one sense, but at the same time there are certainly many newspapers in which learning is very sparsely and very meanly applied. On the whole, the newspaper is very much like human nature—it is right sometimes and it is wrong very often. But the newspaper is not only a necessary institution, but it is a useful and beneficial institution. Just now the business of making newspapers is going through a revolution. It is passing through changes of a very radical and remarkable nature.

That revolution comes primarily from new high-speed printing presses, Dana says, and with that change…

An important question to be decided by the newspaper conductor is, what kind of newspaper will you make? That question may be divided into two. Will you make a newspaper for sensible people or for fools?

“A newspaper for sensible people or for fools?”: An 1894 Lecture on “The Making of a Newspaper Man”

“There’s something about them you’ll like”: The Continuing Adventures of Herbert Tareyton

In the 1960s and 1970s, the advertising campaign for Tareyton Cigarettes upset grammarians, teachers and others. “Us Tareyton Smokers Would Rather Fight Than Switch,” the ad copy proclaimed. The accompanying pictures showed smokers with a black eye.

From The Oregonian (Nov. 17, 1963)


In the late 70s, when Tareyton introduced a light cigarette brand, the copy became “Us Tareyton Smokers Would Rather Light Than Fight.” The black eyes were replaced with a white patch in the same shape.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Dec. 27, 1979)


This was a long way from how the cigarette was marketed in the early part of the 20th century, as seen in this example from the 1918 Seattle Times. To begin with, Tareyton had a first name—Herbert! And the tag line was “There’s something about them you’ll like.” There was a centered portrait, presumably of Herbert himself. He wears a top hat and suit, has a monocle in his right eye, carries a walking stick and, of course, smokes a cigarette. He’s an urbane gentleman out for the evening. “Twenty for a Quarter” completed the copy. Smoke Herbert Tareytons, the ad seems to say, and you too can be a gentleman.

“There’s something about them you’ll like”: The Continuing Adventures of Herbert Tareyton

Houdini’s Amazing Life – and Mysterious Death

Harry Houdini is internationally famous as the world’s foremost magician and escapologist. For 35 years, from 1891 until his sudden death on October 31, 1926, at the age of 52, Houdini amazed audiences with seemingly impossible escapes that became increasingly dangerous.

More mysterious than any of his escapes, however, was the circumstance of his final act: his death. Houdini did not perish before an audience performing one of his stunts; rather, his death seems to have resulted from pride and stubbornness.

Houdini’s escapes made great copy, and newspapers closely followed his exploits throughout his long career—up to and including his puzzling death. Reading these contemporary accounts provides fresh perspective on the man and his times.

Houdini was born Erik Weisz on March 24, 1874, in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. His family immigrated to the U.S. and lived in Wisconsin and then New York City where, at the age of 9, Erik began his performing career as a trapeze artist called “Ehrich, the Prince of the Air.”

In 1891, at the age of 17, he began his career as a magician, first performing card tricks billed as the “King of Cards.” His fame grew when he moved on to escaping from handcuffs, eventually becoming widely known as “The Handcuff King.”

To publicize his escape act, Houdini would challenge a city’s local police force to use their strongest handcuffs on him. This Nebraska newspaper article reported the time the 25-year-old Houdini confounded the Omaha Police Department.




According to this article:

Three pairs of wrist fasteners were placed on Houdini first, then his feet were secured with very heavy leg irons, and to make his escape a still greater feat, he bent over and permitted his wrists and ankles to be secured with two additional pairs of handcuffs.

Houdini’s Amazing Life – and Mysterious Death

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