America's Historical Newspapers


The Beatles Launch the British Invasion: As Covered 50 Years Ago in the American Press

For American teenagers of the millennial generation, it may be difficult to imagine that a band as established as The Beatles was once viewed as exotic. Yet when they landed at Kennedy Airport on their first U.S. tour in February 1964, they were viewed as curious foreigners with a completely fresh sound, humor and style.

During late 1963, the American press had begun to note The Beatles’ rising popularity in Britain, but coverage dramatically expanded that December when the Beatles reached agreement to appear on America’s most watched variety hour, The Ed Sullivan Show.

The Beatles Launch the British Invasion: As Covered 50 Years Ago in the American Press

Now Available on Video: “Still Reading the Silences: African American Women’s History in the Digital Age”

Erica Armstrong Dunbar holds many titles—scholar, historian, professor—and, as dozens of academic librarians recently learned, spellbinding storyteller.

Speaking at a special breakfast event at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, Dunbar—Director of the African American History Program at The Library Company of Philadelphia—unraveled the fascinating tale of Ona Judge Staines, a slave who escaped from George Washington’s family in 1796. Philadelphia was an appropriate setting for such a story. The executive mansion at 524-30 Market Street, where Judge lived, served, and from which she ultimately escaped, stands just four blocks from where we met for Dunbar’s talk.

Through Dunbar’s extensive research into Judge’s life, the audience came to understand the enslaved young woman’s unique circumstances and why she so feared a move to Mount Vernon after Washington’s retirement from the presidency. As I listened to Ona’s story, I yearned to see the face of this woman who, despite Washington’s ongoing attempts to find her, evaded capture for the rest of her life.

Now Available on Video: “Still Reading the Silences: African American Women’s History in the Digital Age”

Readex Announces Early American Newspapers, Series 10, 1730-1900

Today Readex distributed this press release:

Readex Expands Early American Newspapers with Series 10

Hundreds of rare and essential titles from all 50 U.S. states

Readex Announces Early American Newspapers, Series 10, 1730-1900

Eyewitness Accounts of President Kennedy’s Assassination: A Look Back after 50 Years

In Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963, one undisputed fact occurred: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife Nellie. Beyond that almost every detail is disputed, and Kennedy’s assassination remains the subject of vigorous debate, with many competing conspiracy theories.

Did Lee Harvey Oswald actually kill the president, even though he denied it before Jack Ruby in turn murdered him? Was Oswald a lone assassin, as the official government-sponsored Warren Commission concluded after a 10-month investigation? Were there three shots or four? Did all the shots come from the Texas Book Depository, or did at least one shot come from a grassy knoll on the north side of Elm Street? If the killing was a conspiracy, who was involved? The questions, and the speculation, are endless, and now at the half century mark it looks like we may never know the whole story.

The Dallas Morning News thoroughly covered the Kennedy assassination. After all, it was a major story happening in their own city, and one of their correspondents was chosen to be one of the four reporters allowed to travel in the presidential motorcade that fateful day. The News printed that reporter’s eyewitness account of the assassination, as well as an eyewitness account from another staff reporter who was standing on the infamous grassy knoll at the time the shots rang out.

Eyewitness Accounts of President Kennedy’s Assassination: A Look Back after 50 Years

“Stings for Our Enemies—Honey for Our Friends”: The Washington Bee (D.C.)

A weekly African American newspaper, the Washington Bee was often the boldest of the several dozen papers published in the District of Columbia in the decades before and after the turn of the 20th century. The Bee’s slogan was “Stings for Our Enemies—Honey for Our Friends.”

Throughout its nearly 40 years in publication, it was edited by African-American lawyer-journalist William Calvin Chase. Despite the Bee’s alignment with Republican Party views, Chase did not hesitate to criticize GOP leaders when he thought they were on the wrong side of an issue. Among the Bee’s daring editorial stands was Chase’s criticism of Booker T. Washington’s conservative positions on black racial progress.

The Bee focused much of its editorial coverage on the activities of the city’s African Americans, and its society page paid special attention to events at local black churches. The paper also covered national issues using its own correspondents as well as wire services. Financial troubles brought an end to the paper in 1922, a year after Chase’s death.

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, features 1,926 issues of the Bee published between 1882 and 1922. These digitized issues may be browsed by way of the “Newspaper Titles” tab, and searches can be restricted to this newspaper by limiting results to the Washington Bee.

“Stings for Our Enemies—Honey for Our Friends”: The Washington Bee (D.C.)

If your vision of Caribbean history has Captain Jack Sparrow in the foreground, think again…

While pirates form a colorful facet to the history of the West Indies, it is a small facet of a complex world that now looms larger than ever in the minds of historians. The reasons for this interest in the islands and colonies of the Caribbean Sea are also complex, but a few facts may suffice as a start: 

Between 1640 and 1660, the majority of English colonists to the Americas went to the Caribbean, not to North America. English colonists to the Caribbean during this period numbered 44,000; colonists to New England numbered 23,000; colonists to the Chesapeake Bay area numbered 12,000.

If your vision of Caribbean history has Captain Jack Sparrow in the foreground, think again…

The first illustrated African American newspaper: The Indianapolis Freeman

Called “the Harper’s Weekly of the Black Press” by historian Irving Garland Penn, the Freeman was the first illustrated African-American newspaper. It was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1888 by Edward C. Cooper. Subsidized by the Republican Party for some of its existence, the Freeman enjoyed large circulation because of the variety and scope of its news coverage and its attention to black culture.

When its correspondents weren’t covering issues and events of interest to African Americans across the nation, the Freeman focused on the actions of past black figures. Many (including two that follow) were illustrated on the Freeman’s front pages in the late 19th-century. Political cartoons and photographs appeared in later years.

Edward Marshall, a favorite tenor in New York, is featured on the front page of the Freeman, November 30, 1889.

The Hon. John M. Langston, Congressman-elect from the Fourth District of Virginia, is featured on the front page of the Freeman, April 6, 1889.

The first illustrated African American newspaper: The Indianapolis Freeman

Just published — The Readex Report: September 2013

IN THIS ISSUE: Scandal mars the mastery of a Native American sporting great; a plucky female editor redefines an iconic southern newspaper; a hulking hoax sparks a sizable 19th-century sensation; a star-crossed sedan slides into obscurity.

"The Great Upheaval": Tracking Jim Thorpe's Swift Fall from Grace after the 1912 Olympics

By Kate Buford, author of Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe

One hundred and one years ago this past summer, American Indian athlete Jim Thorpe was acclaimed around the world for winning, by huge margins, both the classic pentathlon and the decathlon at the Fifth Olympiad in Stockholm. The King of Sweden famously declared him “the most wonderful athlete in the world.”

Six months later, on January 22, 1913, a newspaper scoop in ... (read article

Just published — The Readex Report: September 2013

Announcing Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society

Today Readex distributed this press release:

Readex to Launch Digital Edition of Caribbean Newspapers
New collection is essential for research on Colonial history, the slave trade and the Atlantic region

September 19, 2013 (NAPLES, FL) — The digital collection Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society will be introduced in October 2013 by Readex, a division of NewsBank. This new online resource—the largest of its kind--will chronicle the evolution of the Caribbean region across two centuries, providing a comprehensive primary resource for studying the development of Western society and international relations within this important group of islands. “With more than 140 Spanish, French, Danish, and British titles—all available for the first time in a fully searchable database—Caribbean Newspapers promises to transform scholarship on the eighteenth and nineteenth-century West Indies,” says Eliga Gould, Chair of the History Department and Professor of History, University of New Hampshire. “It’s going to be a real game changer."

Announcing Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society

Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, we are presenting this article by Nicolás Kanellos, published previously  in The Readex Report:

Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers
By Nicolás Kanellos, Brown Foundation Professor and Director of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, University of Houston

Among the various types of writing in early-20th century Hispanic American immigrant newspapers was a genre essential in forming and reinforcing the attitudes of Hispanic communities. It was the crónica, or chronicle, a short, weekly column that humorously and satirically commented on current topics and social habits. In Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, the crónica had already been cultivated extensively and had helped to define national identity over the course of the 19th century.

In America, however, the crónica came to serve purposes never imagined in Mexico or Spain. From Los Angeles to San Antonio and even up to Chicago, Mexican moralists assumed pseudonyms (in keeping with the tradition of the crónica) and, from this masked perspective, wrote scathing satirical commentaries in the first person. As witnesses to both American and Mexican culture, the cronistas were greatly influenced by popular jokes, anecdotes and speech, and in general, their columns were a mirror of the surrounding social environment.

Cultural Conflict and the Battle of the Sexes in Hispanic American Newspapers

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