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Early American Newspapers: Series 14, 1807-1880

The Expansion of Urban America

Daily life in the metropolis
Summary
Learn what makes this product unique
  • Dozens of the most notable metropolitan U.S. newspapers to emerge in the 19th century
  • Long, continuous runs chronicle the growth of urban America during a time of profound change
  • New forms of journalism provide critical coverage of daily life, politics, literature, religion and popular culture

Early American Newspapers, Series 14, 1807-1880 offers digital editions of many of the most notable 19th-century newspapers from America’s urban centers.  It delivers long runs of 48 major titles published in 34 towns and cities in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Each title has been selected not only to represent the new forms of journalism that emerged during this pivotal period in U.S. history, but also to enable longitudinal studies—an increasingly popular methodology for historical and literary research. Together, their outstanding coverage of metropolitan life in the 19th-century United States will enable students and scholars to make fresh discoveries within innumerable topics crucial to American studies.

For teaching and research across the humanities and social sciences
The 19th century was a time of profound transformation for American journalism. In urban areas in particular, newspapers began venturing beyond politics and economics to report on literature, religion, art and popular culture. Many papers shed their political party affiliations and began reporting on the views of diverse factions. Surging populations in America’s cities made leading publishers highly profitable, enabling them to print larger editions with more detailed articles.

Even the concept of news itself changed; newspapers began covering sports, travel, society, health, food and humor. For today’s researchers, these changes could not have occurred at a better time: just as debates over slavery, immigration, women’s suffrage and worker’s rights began intensifying, newspapers began publishing real debates that reflected viewpoints of wide-ranging racial and socio-economic groups. The 48 metropolitan newspapers in Series 14 were selected to reflect these changes, and to provide lengthy, continuous runs of many of the most noteworthy newspapers to emerge during the 19th century.

Exclusive digital access to famous and influential urban papers
Prominent titles in Series 14 include the New York Journal of Commerce, Democratic Press (Philadelphia), Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, Detroit Advertiser and Tribune and many others—all of which strongly support the 19th-century U.S. history curriculum. Also here are three of the century’s best known literary newspapers: the Boston True Flag, New York Evening Mirror and New York Atlas. These titles support literature studies through their reviews of the American literary canon as well as hundreds of actual literary works not readily available elsewhere. Other titles are the Washington Globe, D.C.’s most powerful paper during the Jacksonian Era; Lutheran Observer, one of the period’s most important religious publications; Paterson Daily Press, which stood up for women’s suffrage; Gloucester Telegraph, a forceful temperance title; Buffalo Morning Express, which fostered the modern Republican Party; and dozens of other titles that shaped national debates over significant issues. In addition, Series 14 will be heavily used by researchers in economics, political science, religious studies, ethnic studies and sociology.

Superior bibliographic control
Like other series of Early American Newspapers, Series 14 offers many significant titles from the authoritative bibliographies by Clarence S. Brigham and Winifred Gregory. A distinguished academic advisory board guided the title selection process.

Give It a Try
Take a step toward access for your library

The Early American Newspapers series is available within America’s Historical Newspapers.

“…an essential source…”
“Makes research for scholars and students much easier and more rewarding.”
Graham Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of History, Colgate University
Areas of Study
This product supports the following subjects
American Studies
British & European Studies
Business History
Childhood Studies
Environmental Studies
Ethnic Studies
Immigration Studies
Literature & Theater
Native American Studies
Politics
Religion & Theology
STEM History
US History
War & Conflict
Women's Studies
Title List
Reviews & Accolades

“Readex, a division of NewsBank, has been publishing primary research materials for over 60 years and has partnered with the American Antiquarian Society for almost that long. The latest collaborative effort has resulted in the release of Series 10, 1730-1900 and Series 11, 1803-1899 in its Early American Newspapers collection…Series 10 adds more than 440 new titles, including Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette and many major political organs of their time, such as the National Intelligencer and The Chicago RepublicanSeries 11 adds 130 titles, including those such as the New York Herald, New York World, Cherokee Advocate, and the New Orleans Commercial Bulletin….

“Readex's expanding collection of historical US newspapers offers excellent breadth and depth—an unparalleled resource for all who pursue historical research in a great range of academic disciplines, as well as journalists, teachers, and genealogists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic audiences; professionals/practitioners; general readers.”
— J. A. Knapp, Penn State University, reviewing Early American Newspapers, Series 10 and 11, in Choice (Dec. 2015)

“The Early American Newspapers collection contains over 2,000 newspapers of historical importance, both at the national and the local level, including the Pennsylvania Gazette, New York Herald, Boston Herald and Times-Picayune. Each series in the collection covers a different time span, and series can be selected individually or in combination to build a collection best suited to the needs of each institution’s users….Early American Newspapersuses the America’s Historical Newspapers interface, which makes it simple to search or browse….The simple search interface should make this database user-friendly for undergraduate researchers, while the thoughtful filtering options, as well as the sheer scope of the collection, will be a boon for more advanced researchers, such as graduate students and faculty.”
— Lindley Homol, Reference and Instruction Librarian, University of Maryland University College Library, in Reference Reviews (2015)

“Readex publishes respected subscription databases of full-text historical newspapers. Its America's Historical Newspapers collects and digitizes American newspapers; offerings include Early American Newspapers, which has recently released four additional series—series 6 (1741-1922), series 7 (1773-1922), series 8 (1844-1922), and series 9 (1832-1922). This collective addition adds 290 newspaper titles and over 4,300,000 pages to Early American Newspapers (series 1, CH, Apr'06, 43-4401; series 4 and 5, CH, Dec'12, 50-1798), bringing the complete collection to a substantial compilation of 2,000-plus newspaper titles from all 50 states, published between 1690 and 1922. Titles include valuable sources such as some 8,000 additional issues from New Orleans's Times-Picayune and some 15,000 issues from The Oregonian, now Oregon's largest newspaper. Other remarkable titles are Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and New York's The Daily Graphic--both heavily illustrated with hand-drawn graphics, making them a researcher's treasure. The complete list of additions is rich with titles of national and local importance.

“Libraries may purchase the entire collection or choose series, decades, or eras, in order to reflect a library's research needs. Readex's newspaper searching has a number of features that encourage precision and better results. The single search line can be expanded into a multiple-line search engine to better focus a complex research topic. Users may also narrow results by date, article type, language, state, and individual newspaper titles. The results present a small window of select information, with search terms in boldface for quick reading. Though other newspaper databases are available, the America's Historical Newspapers project is unique in the numbers of newspaper titles included, the number of individual issues included, and the inclusion of small local newspapers. Early American Newspapers is a real research gem for historians, all levels of college students, and genealogists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers.”
— C. W. Bruns, California State University-Fullerton, reviewing Early American Newspapers, Series 6-9, in Choice (July 2014)

“Readex has recently released Series 4 and 5 of this database, adding 268 newspaper titles and over 2,700,000 pages, all of which are available for full-text searching. These additional pages bring the current version of Early American Newspapers to over 1,000 historical newspaper titles with almost 9 million pages. Series 4 and 5 consist of newspapers from all 50 states and many diverse categories....Each additional release is a real bonanza to researchers....The Early American Newspapers database is unique among the many digitized newspaper collections for its size and for the inclusion of local newspapers; it is a functional database of real depth. 

“Searching newspaper databases can be laborious, but Readex's features assist users in quickly locating the articles they need....These features are immensely useful when evaluating results. The Series 4 and 5, 1756-1922 component is the latest addition to an exciting product and a valuable tool for historians and students in a wide variety of fields...Summing Up: Highly recommended...”

 —C. W. Bruns, California State University, Fullerton, reviewing Early American Newspapers, Series 4 and 5, in Choice (Dec. 2012)

"Readex has launched a new subscription-based Web site, America’s Historical Newspapers, that enables users to travel through time and call up issues of various newspapers to conduct, for example, a thorough study of the Civil War in the 1860s, analyze the stock market as it soared in the 1920s, or track the slugger Mickey Mantle’s baseball career throughout the 1950s. Using a simple search function, users can bring to life on their monitors the pages of an old newspaper from any major American city—and some small towns—and read about whatever person or event they choose.

"For example, one can call up any number of colonial-era newspapers to track the beginnings of the American Revolution in 1775 or search twentieth-century publications to investigate the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The newspapers provide graphic accounts of history’s disasters and joyous stories of its triumphs. Do you want to know what the American people thought about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” declaration? Look it up and read how ten different newspapers covered his first inaugural address in 1933. How electrifying was the 1927 baseball World Series? Call it up and read about it, game by game and inning by inning.

"The site allows users to race back in time, seeing how newspapers covered real drama. I went to the October 27, 1881, edition of the Tombstone Epitaph to read its account of the fabled gunfight at the O.K. Corral involving the legendary marshal Wyatt Earp. The lengthy, colorful story about the high noon shoot-out in Tombstone was just as melodramatic and colorful as the movies that depicted the battle. Happily, the story included a historical note not presented on film: that hundreds of men working in the Tombstone silver mines piled out of the mine shafts, 'like an invading army,' as the reporter wrote, when they heard news of the gun battle. Users can also access a national list of newspapers—organized by state—and compare how a paper in San Francisco covered the story with its treatment in a Boston publication....

"Overall, America’s Historical Newspapers is a fabulous tool for research. The new world of electronics and gadgetry may infuriate us (turn those cell phones off!) but here, in this Internet collection of historical newspapers, it is a wonder. I am researching a book on the Civil War and was able to call up dozens of 1860s newspapers. Full of vivid and stark accounts of the conflict, the newspapers provide the first draft of history, as they say—and a colorful one.

"The site will be extraordinarily helpful to scholars doing historical research, and it will also be rewarding for college and high school history teachers and students who want to use old newspapers as part of their study of the American story. Anyone with an Internet connection and wanderlust who wants to do a little journalistic time traveling can go to this site and come face to face with presidents, Oscar winners, Wall Street titans, and leaders of the women’s movement.

"And, as the American newspaper industry continues to shrink, it is always nice to go back in time and see it in its hearty majesty." 
—Bruce Chadwick, Professor of History, Rutgers University, in Journal of American History (September 2010)

“Composite Score: 4.75 Stars (out of 5)....The initial search screen makes it very clear which searching options are available. One can immediately start searching using the Google-like search box and the drop-down menu of searching options, including Headline, Standard Title (i.e., publication title), and Title as published....The results list includes a wealth of information for each item, including title of publication; publication date; published as; location; headline, and article type....The results list also includes a thumbnail image (actually larger than a thumbnail) of a portion of the article. This facilitates research by making it easy to browse through and eliminate irrelevant items....

“Compared to other databases that sometimes make it difficult to find a list of titles included, this one gives you a list that is straightforward, easy to find, and includes useful details such as language, number of issues included, and start/end dates. The ability to sort the list by various categories is useful....The list of titles included is impressive. The publications list indicates details of what is included in each title, including name changes, etc. The fact that all titles are full-image enhances the use of the database for research.” 
—Janice G. Schuster, Phillips Memorial Library, Providence College, in The Charleston Advisor (April 2010)

"A truly expansive archive of nearly 2,000 newspaper titles culled from all fifty states. At the time of this review, the fully searchable collection consists of three primary divisions, which together canvass the course of American history from 1690 to 1998. The first and largest of the three divisions, Early American Newspapers, is organized into seven series ranging from 1690–1922. Each series covers a range of years and geographic regions, which roughly expand in scope in conjunction with the geographic growth of the United States. A second division,African American Newspapers, 1827–1998, offers coverage of more than 170 years of African American history as recorded in 270 newspapers representing thirty-five states. The collection includes numerous historically significant titles, such as Freedom’s Journal, the first African American newspaper in American history, which was published in New York City from 1827–29. The third and final division, Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808–1980, is a by-product of the ‘Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project,’ a national program to locate, collect, and make available the written contributions of Hispanic Americans from the colonial period to the present. The collection includes hundreds of Hispanic American newspapers, including Spanish language and English titles printed in the United States." 
—Daniel P. Barr, Robert Morris University, in Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies (Winter 2010)

"Scholars and students of journalism history will find a rich resource of primary sources in Early American Newspapers, 1690-1922. The extensive database provides Web access to an expanding compilation of digitized newspapers published during 200-plus years….With the 2007 edition of series 4 and 5, the database numbers nearly 2,000 titles of full-text newspapers representing all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The collection contains an extensive array of papers, ranging from early colonial publications to regional weekly and metropolitan daily newspapers to the specialized press."
—Aleen Ratzalaff, Tabor College, in Journalism History (Spring 2008)

"Best of Reference 2007... 'You want a primary source from when?' One-stop shopping for full-text digital images from more than a thousand U.S. newspapers published from 1690 to 1922. Zoom in and out of particular time periods with a score of handy limit options."
—Branch Libraries, The New York Public Library (May 2007)

"Most Improved Product....exploding with new content, a much improved user interface..."
—The Charleston Advisor (October 2006)

“Readex has long been the name associated with collecting and preserving documents that define and describe the country’s early heritage. Early American Newspapers (EAN), with bibliographic and full-image access to nearly two centuries’ worth of local papers (from 23 East Coast and Midwestern states and the District of Columbia), represents one of the major components of its ‘Archive of Americana’ suite of digital collections….

“It’s as if the contents of hundreds of historical societies all across America were put on display, and a glance at the list of titles—from the Cahawba Press and Alabama Intelligencer(Cahawba, AL) to The Bee (Hudson, NY) to the lone issue of People’s Friend (Danville, KY)—should be enough to give scholars and historians a serious case of goose bumps….

“Institutions acquiring multiple Archive collections receive a discount; those that own the microform receive an additional discount-an approach we warmly applaud….

EAN's content possesses a local flavor that the other resources reviewed here cannot come close to matching.”
—Gail Golderman and Bruce Connolly, Union College, in Library Journal-supplement Net Connect (Fall 2005)


"...Rapid access to newspapers spanning centuries. ... Researchers in academic, public and historical libraries will save time with this resource. … Early American Newspapers, Series I is the researcher's choice to complement Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 and Early American Imprint Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819."
—Jetta Carol Culpepper, Special Programs Librarian, Murray State University Libraries and the College of Education, in Reference Reviews (November 2005)


"Early American Newspapers is a digitized, full image, completely searchable electronic database of newspapers that chronicle the rich and intriguing history of the United States' early years. The collection focuses on titles published in the 18th century but includes material from 1690 through 1876. This substantial database includes 617 newspaper titles, though many of the titles are far from complete. It features 1,344,099 pages as of 2005, with more to be added. The newspapers are primarily from a collection owned by the American Antiquarian Society. Series I includes newspapers from 23 eastern states and the District of Columbia. Series 2 and Series 3, covering other parts of the country, have recently been released.

“Researchers who remember working with clunky microfilm, with all its limitations, will be ecstatic about this product's ease of use and dynamic search capabilities. The search engine is highly intuitive.

“It is possible to combine Boolean operators in both simple and advanced searches and to limit to categories as varied as elections, legislation, poetry, letters, shipping news, and advertisements. Genealogical researchers will enjoy being able to limit searches to death or matrimony notices. Especially valuable with this type of database is the capability of dealing with the variant spellings so common in early American primary materials. The digitized images vary in quality but tend to be amazingly good, given that they are copies of deteriorating newsprint. This unique source of primary materials will be of great interest to larger public libraries and to academic libraries within the geographic areas covered. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers.”
—C. W. Bruns, California State University, Fullerton, in Choice (April 2006)

“The availability of the Early American Newspapers database of thousands of Manhattan newspapers from that period also helped—and I read them all!  (This is slightly less impressive than it sounds; each issue was normally only 4 pages.) But that's the challenge if you're trying to a write a narrative history that has anything like a novelistic level of detail—it's not just the big stuff, like the details of the case in itself, it's the little stuff like what color was someone's bedstead painted, what did they eat for dinner that night, whose house down the street got robbed the week before, which juror ran a grocery with another juror a decade earlier, that sort of thing.  You can't get that from standard accounts; it's only diaries and searchable scanned newspapers that can dredge up that stuff.” 
—Paul Collins, author of Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take On America's First Sensational Murder Mystery, on Fine Books & Collections.com (Jan. 2015)

America’s Historical Newspapers enabled me to trace the different contemporary and then later uses of the ‘scalping’ hoax. By way of background, let me point out that Franklin was profoundly troubled that the British military was paying Native peoples to create devastation on British Americans’ homes and to kill the people. Franklin had spent much of his time while in Pennsylvania (decades earlier) figuring out how best to negotiate peacefully with Indians. So he was outraged when the Indians became (by necessity and in an effort to preserve their own sovereignty) involved in the fray between Britons in North America and those in England. The Readex database made it possible for me to discover the posthumous uses to which Franklin’s hoax had been put, and, with terrible irony, I discovered that it was used to promulgate a form of Indian-hating by Americans in North America. The original target, British peoples in England, was lost, and the Indians received the central, negative thrust of the hoax. I think Franklin would have found this appalling. So I traced the uses of the hoax and made a record of it, so that others might see how periodical circulation takes on a life of its own." 
—Carla Mulford, Associate Professor of English at Penn State University and Founding President of the Society of Early Americanists

“Between the years 1998-2008 my large research team had the good fortune to be funded by a generous grant from Mars, Incorporated, to investigate the culinary, medicinal, and social history of chocolate....Our research team drew extensively on Colonial Era and Federal Era documents available through Early American Newspapers, especially chocolate/cacao-related advertisements, articles, price currents, obituaries, and shipping news documents. As a scholar who formerly spent months using microfilm documents—winding and re-winding reels searching for specific documents on specific dates—I report here that the new technologies available through Readex have made my work and that of my students a hundred times easier. Now, with a click of our computer ‘mice,’ team members can retrieve thousands of documents that previously would have taken weeks to amass.”
—Louis E. Grivetti, co-editor of Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage (Wiley, 2009)

“The advent of Readex’s online edition of Early American Newspapers opens new avenues to research and dramatically reduces the time to do that research. Now, scholars not only can locate the original articles in context, they can also study how an article might have changed as it was reprinted in another newspaper....Early American Newspapers often allows scholars to find details when they only have general information.”
—Norman Desmarais, author of Battlegrounds of Freedom, The Guide to the American Revolutionary War in Canada and New England and The Guide to the American Revolutionary War in New York

“Despite the large number of convicts who were shipped across the Atlantic, finding information about them can be a challenge. Most of the convicts were illiterate, and many of them tried to hide their criminal past by changing their names and moving away after serving out their terms. The historian has to do some real digging to fill in the lives of these little-known men and women, and Readex’s Early American Newspapers is a tremendous help in this regard.

“Eighteenth-century American newspapers often carried announcements of convict ships leaving Great Britain and arriving in America with prisoners for sale as servants. Newspapers ran numerous advertisements for runaway convicts that describe in detail their clothing and bodily marks—faces pitted from small pox being a common characteristic. Sometimes the ads indicate their skills or behavioral tendencies, such as “addicted to boasting and telling of lies,” “loves liquor” or has “a very remarkable way of staring any body in the face that speaks to him.” Sometimes convict servants are described wearing an iron collar or handcuffs, and many times they escaped in pairs or in groups, occasionally in the company of an African slave.
—Anthony Vaver, publisher of EarlyAmericanCrime.com

“One afternoon, though, I discovered a unique online database of primary sources: Early American Newspapers, Series 1, 1690-1876. No longer was insufficient research material a problem. With access to almost any colonial newspaper that I desired, I now had a library of pertinent primary information at my fingertips. Although I could give several examples that speak to the quality of research provided by these sources, three articles suffice to illustrate how this searchable database offered me unique insight into the New Yorkers’ reactions....These articles only begin to scratch the surface of the type of research made possible by the seven online series of Early American Newspapers. The amount of valuable information contained in these issues and the ease with which it can be browsed and searched cannot be overemphasized. In my case, just as the Tea Party was not confined to Boston, thanks to the digitization of Early American Newspapers, neither was my research limited to the print and microfilm materials held by my own small institution’s library.”
—David Brooks, Graduate, Taylor University, May 2010

“Readers of the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Daily National Intelligencer witnessed a strange and disturbing transformation in 1847, when the nation’s most popular literary character freely admitted that he had become a greedy, cynical killer. Soon enough this beloved American hero, whose name was synonymous with Yankee Doodle, would threaten to stage a military coup to seize the Capitol and overthrow Congress! Readers of the Early American Newspapers archive can follow along, gleaning important hints to decoding contemporary political rhetoric.”
—Aaron McLean Winter, National Tsing Hua University

"We are avid users of Early American Newspapers for our research on the Jefferson Papers and have been thrilled by its increased accessibility in a digital edition. Early American Newspapers has been of enormous value to us." 
—Martha J. King, Ph.D., Associate Editor, Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Princeton University

"Readex has put together a wondrous, easy-to-search database from the world's most important repositories of early American newspapers. Historians and other scholars who want to shave years off their research would do well to ask their college or university to purchase it."
—Robert L. Paquette, Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History, Hamilton College

“My students are ecstatic about Readex’s digital Early American Newspapers. I’m delighted too, remembering the many hours I spent squinting over a microcard reader as I researched what became my first published article. At the time, I considered it a miracle that my small state university had a microcard reader, even though in summer condensation on the glass produced even deeper fog than the words themselves. Digitization will help democratize scholarship, but in the right hands it will also produce more thorough and imaginative research.”
—Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Phillips Professor of Early American History, Harvard University

“How jealous I am of the students who will be able to use this wonderful resource! The digital version of Early American Newspapers gives them an unfair advantage over all previous generations of scholars who had to spend months or even years seeking-and perhaps never finding-what can now be found with a few keystrokes. One five-minute search on ‘Washington Irving’ made visions of an article dance before my eyes. I turned up not only reviews of his works and accounts of his travels, but an article about the controversy surrounding Irving’s selection to a committee charged with designing a memorial to Shakespeare in London. (‘It does appear,’ wrote a London editor, ‘that a national monument could have been raised to Shakspeare without selecting as a Committee-man, a member of a republic which has denationalized itself.’) Who knew?”
—Benjamin Reiss, Associate Professor of English, Tulane University

“Digital Early American Newspapers is extremely valuable for scholars, teachers and students. I was able to search for specific individuals, commodities and objects, helping me to complete a study of one product and its distribution and consumption in America. Before this digitization, time would not permit me to search for goods of a certain name and merchants of a particular firm. Nor could I before scan across cities in search of specific debates on specific topics. For an American Revolution course I teach, I am now able to present in my lectures and handouts information on how debates over, for example, luxury ramified and endured after the 1780s and early 1790s.

Early American Newspapers also allows more effective research by my students on course-essay topics, such as one paper on the fear of piracy in the late 18th century. For certain subjects in material, economic and literary history, extracting needles from haystacks is key, and this digital collection will offer that ability. I especially like that it will allow graduate students to break their current focus on the Middle Colonies and States, rerouting attention to other cities and problems and facilitating previously difficult cross-urban comparisons.”
—David Hancock, Professor; Director, Atlantic Studies Initiative, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

“With its digital Early American Newspapers collection, Readex has produced an excellent new resource. A religion department colleague has found articles that he did not know existed about an obscure Protestant sect he’s studying. I’ve been able to continue work in the ‘Massachusetts Spy’ that I’d had to set aside for lack of time to visit the microfilm reader, and a graduate student studying women criminals has been able to vastly expand her research base. We are all very impressed. This Web-based archive is a beaut!”
—Woody Holton, Associate Professor of History, University of Richmond

"The Early American Newspapers database is a digital miracle that will revolutionize the way in which scholars conceive of and undertake research. Ideas buried in crumbling and hard-to-find newspapers are now available with the click of a mouse. Not only is it possible to identify the emergence of ideas within specific texts and contexts, but it is now also practical, for the first time, to trace their diffusion through space and time, identifying plagiarisms, noting piracies, documenting permutations and revealing the structure of hitherto invisible networks of communication."
—Leon Jackson, Associate Professor of English, University of South Carolina

“The Readex digital Early American Newspapers (1690-1876) will revolutionize the way American history is taught and studied. Until now, only an intrepid few scholars have mined these phenomenal resources. The absence of any easily used indexes, the tedium of endless hours before the microfilm reader, and the simple scarcity of some of these primary sources has made truly comprehensive work in early American newspapers extremely difficult.

“With this new on-line resource, scholars and students alike will be able to easily and efficiently search these texts. And they will be able to do so in a way hitherto only dreamed of. Instead of focusing on modest runs, perhaps several years, of a very limited number of papers, they will now be able to search decades of a much larger variety of newspapers. If the recent work of researchers such as Jeffrey L. Pasley and David Waldstreicher is any indication, the yield of this new research will be monumental. We will have a whole new sense of exactly what it was early Americans knew about themselves and their world. For the first time, students too will be able to explore once pedestrian documents in ways never before possible. Imagine a research project on Jefferson’s first inauguration in which students can easily survey dozens of newspaper accounts. The possibilities boggle the mind.”
—Edward G. Gray, Professor of History, Florida State University

“Digital Early American Newspapers will revolutionize research in early American history by allowing full-text searches of a huge and constantly growing number of early newspapers ranging over centuries of time and the whole of the nation. No indexes exist for these materials. In the past, one had to pick a specific paper in a specific time and place and simply slog through it. It could easily take a couple days to thoroughly read one year of one daily newspaper, with no guarantee that anything related to one’s research question would be found. The process then had to be repeated paper after paper, year after year. Because of the low signal-to-noise ratio and the intense physical demands (on the eyesight especially) of this sort of research, many scholars and most students of early American history have avoided newspapers if they could, even though newspapers are by far the most extensive and useful source available on many political, cultural, and economic topics. The wide dissemination of the Early American Newspapers database should change all that.”
“Now research projects that once took weeks will be performed in an afternoon. New historical interpretations will arise in many areas simply because more historians will be able find out for the first time what was in the periodical press. In addition, the research capacities and consequent professional development of students will greatly expand.”
—Jeffrey L. Pasley, Associate Professor of History, University of Missouri-Columbia

“Explore your early American ancestors and the America of yesterday!... A new invaluable resource.... Based largely on Clarence Brigham’s ‘History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820,’ this collection offers a fully text-searchable database of over one million pages, including cover-to-cover reproductions of historic newspapers! It contains a comprehensive listing of marriage, death, and court records found in early American periodicals such as the Boston Gazette, Gazette of the United States, New York Evening Post, and many more. For genealogists and scholars alike, Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876, offers an unprecedented look back into the extraordinary past of the United States!"
—The New England Historic Genealogical Society Web Site

“An essential source for early Americanists now available in a user-friendly format. Makes research for scholars and students much easier and more rewarding.”
—Graham Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of History, Colgate University

Notable Titles

New York Journal of Commerce (New York, NY; 1828-1876)

  • One of the most influential and innovative newspapers of the nineteenth century, the Journal of Commerce was founded by Samuel Morse and Arthur Tappan. It operated two deep-water schooners to intercept incoming vessels at sea in order to get stories ahead of the competition, and following Morse’s invention of the telegraph it was a founding member of the Associated Press. It was also one of the most fearless papers in New York: Its editors were staunch opponents of slavery but also critics of the abolitionists, and they decried the tactics of the war wing of the Republican Party. After the Civil War broke out the government suspended the paper’s mail privileges, effectively interrupting its publication, on grounds of “disloyalty.” President Lincoln later ordered the paper closed, but it soon reopened and continued to publish the eloquent, detailed, and controversial views that make it today one of the most heavily researched newspaper of the nineteenth century.

Washington Globe (Washington, D.C.; 1831-1843)

  • During the era covered here the Globe was the most powerful newspaper in the Capital, as well as the official organ of President Andrew Jackson. Its publisher, Francis P. Blair, and his senor colleagues at the Globe split their time between running the paper and running the country. Intimate companions of “old Andy,” they formed the original “Kitchen Cabinet,” and are said to have wielded more power than Jackson’s official cabinet. “Old Andy would lie on a couch and smoke and dictate his ideas to Kendall…and then Blair would write and re-write the paragraphs that were to crackle in the Globe the next day.” (Mott, American Journalism.)

Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette (Cincinnati, OH; 1821-1856)

  • The Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette was the most important newspaper in Ohio during much of the early nineteenth century. For much of the run included here it was edited by Charles Hammond, a prominent Ohio legislator who would later turn down a seat on the United States Supreme Court to run the paper. “Hammond published a steady stream of commentary on law, politics, and public affairs. William Henry Smith, who coordinated and managed the Associated Press, described Hammond as ‘the most distinguished American editor of his day.’” (Mott, American Journalism)

New York Evening Mirror (New York, NY; 1844-1858)

  • The Evening Mirror was one of the most important nineteenth century newspapers that included coverage of arts and literature as well as local news. Founded by the poet and songwriter George Pope Morris and co-edited by the poet and travel writer Nathanial Parker Willis, the Evening Mirror employed many well-known literary figures of the day (including Edgar Allen Poe). Its editors monitored the literary works of authors in both America and Europe, and published many of them in the Mirror, often with critical essays attached. In 1845 the Mirror published an “advance copy” of Poe’s The Raven—the first time the poem appeared under the author’s name. The Mirror also issued an anthology called The Prose and Poetry of America in 1845. Today, the Mirror is one of the most heavily researched early American newspapers for the study and teaching of American literature.

New York Atlas/Morning Atlas (New York, NY; 1840-1853)

  • One of the highest circulation Sunday papers in the nation, the Atlas battled for improved conditions for workers, and became famous for its coverage of the arts, literature, and popular culture. Notable contributors included Bret Harte (whose first poem was published in the Atlas when he was eleven years old), Walt Whitman, P.T. Barnum (who sent the Atlas 100 letters from Europe during his acclaimed European tour), and the poet Ada Clare.

Democratic Press (Philadelphia, PA; 1807-1820)

  • One of the most eloquent and fearless political papers of the early nineteenth century, John Binn’s Democratic Presswaged a continuous battle with William Duane’s Philadelphia Aurora. The issues over which these papers debated split Pennsylvania’s Democrats into rival factions that would play a central role in the evolution of national politics in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

Paterson Daily Press (Paterson, NJ; 1853-1876)

  • During the era covered here, the Daily Press was the largest paper in Paterson, New Jersey, a major industrial center at the time. The Daily Press took a progressive and sympathetic attitude toward the plight of immigrant workers and women workers, and is heavily researched for its coverage of the woman’s suffrage moment. In 1869, when the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association presented a petition to the New Jersey Senate requesting woman’s suffrage and the reform of married women’s property rights, the Daily Press covered in scathing detail the mockery with which the petition was received. Its coverage of this and many other related events provides scholars with rare reporting on the chilling ridicule to which early suffragists were subjected, even in state legislatures of the late nineteenth century.

Raleigh Sentinel (Raleigh, NC; 1853-1876)

  • The Raleigh Sentinel was the voice of the Democratic Party in Raleigh and one of the most influential and controversial newspapers in North Carolina. Fearless in its editorial positions, its offices were bombed with gunpowder in 1872. Undaunted, its editor Josiah Turner continued a fervid campaign against carpetbaggers and sided with Horace Greeley’s New York Herald in a campaign to expose the corruption of the Grant Administration. The Sentinel is heavily studied today for its chronicling of the Reconstruction Era.

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune (Detroit, MI; 1862-1876)

  • The Republican Detroit Advertiser and Tribune and the Democratic Detroit Free Press were the two major papers in Detroit during the era covered here, and both papers are heavily researched today for their editorial positions on civil rights issues. The Advertiser and Tribune represented a Radical Republican view: It supported abolition absolutely, and black rights to a larger extent than many other newspapers at the time. It also supported Lincoln, but argued that he was not radical enough in his support of emancipation, the use of black soldiers, and African-American rights in general. These views, and the thoughtful manner that they were presented in the Advertiser and Tribune’s editorials, have made it a popular reference for teaching and researching the evolution of Civil Rights legislation in nineteenth-century America.

Buffalo Morning Express (Buffalo, NY; 1849-1855)

  • One of the major newspapers in upstate New York, the Morning Express is particularly interesting to historians for its chronicling of the formation of the modern Republican Party. Its founder and publisher, Almon Mason Clapp, served in the New York State Assembly in 1853 as a Whig, but by 1856 he was a leader at the Pittsburgh convention of the new Republican Party. The articles and editorials of the Morning Express provide scholars with a detailed history of the changing attitudes that led to the founding of the Republican Party and the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency.

Lutheran Observer (Baltimore, MD; 1840-1876)

  • The Lutheran faith-based Lutheran Observer was one of the most prominent religious newspapers of the nineteenth century. Its editor, Benjamin Kurtz, was regarded as one of the most eloquent men of his time; he traveled extensively in Europe during his tenure with the paper, and under his leadership the Observer gained a national audience, in part due to the international perspective that he brought to the paper.

Boston True Flag (Boston, MA; 1851-1876)

  • The True Flag was a literary newspaper that published the fiction of many notable American writers, including many women authors. Its contributors included Susan E. Dickinson, Louise Chandler Moulton, Francis A. Corey, Fanny Fern, Oliver Optic, and John Townsend Trowbridge. Mark Twain admired the paper, and mentions it in his 1855 sketch “Jul'us Cesar”: “He was decidedly literary, after a fashion of his own, and the gems which find their way before the public through the medium of the Flag of our Union and Boston True Flag…were food and drink to his soul.”
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