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Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection


Two centuries of immigrant life in the United States
Learn what makes this product unique
  • More than 130 fully searchable newspapers in 10 languages from 25 states, including many rare 19th-century titles
  • Extensive coverage of many of the most influential ethnic groups in U.S.history
  • Covers immigrant contributions to U.S. business, music, science, education, labor movements and war efforts

Featuring more than 130 fully searchable newspapers in 10 languages from 25 states—including many rare 19th-century titles—this online collection provides extensive coverage of many of the most influential ethnic groups in U.S. history. With an emphasis on Americans of Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak and Welsh descent, this unique resource will enable students and scholars to explore often-overlooked aspects of this nation’s history, politics and culture. 

Two centuries of immigrant life in the U.S.
Spanning the Early Republic’s Open Door Era to the Era of Liberalization in the mid-1960s, Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection covers two centuries of immigrant life in the United States. Nineteenth-century topics include the denial of citizenship to “nonwhites”; the founding of nativist political movements, including the anti-immigrant “Know-Nothing” party; the 1849 discovery of gold in California, which lured people from all over the world; New York City’s place as the world’s largest Irish city in 1860 with more than 200,000 Irish-born citizens; and the Immigration Act of 1882, which levied a tax on all immigrants landing at U.S. ports.

In addition to the major contributions of immigrants to business, music, science, education, labor movements and war efforts, later topics include the Naturalization Act of 1906, which for citizenship required immigrants to learn to speak English; the 1921 Emergency Quota Act, which favored northern and western Europeans; the 1942 internment in “War Relocation Camps” of Japanese Americans, several of whom published newspapers; Truman’s 1953 Commission on Immigration and Naturalization, which revealed the positive impact of immigrants; and much more. 

Partnership with a leading ethnic research center
This new resource features newspapers from the former Balch Institute of Ethnic Studies—arguably the best known ethnic research center in America, which merged with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 2002—and the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania itself, one of the largest and oldest family history libraries in the nation. Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection is the third collection in the Readex American Ethnic Newspapers series, which also includes African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, and Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980. It can be cross-searched with all other America’s Historical Newspapers series, including Early American Newspapers and Caribbean Newspapers.

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Take a step toward access for your library
“... A marvelous window…”
“....many different ethnic groups and diverse localities embrace over 200 years of the American experience.”
James M. Bergquist, Emeritus Professor of History, Villanova University
Areas of Study
This product supports the following subjects
American Studies
Ethnic Studies
Immigration Studies
US History
Title List
Reviews & Accolades

"Outstanding Academic Title, 2013"
 — Choice  (January 2014)

"... prior to the electronic age, newspapers provided the most up-to-the-minute coverage of events. Therefore, when doing historical research, newspapers remain one of the most valuable primary resources. When followed over time, newspaper articles provide chronology, clarify why an event occurred, and may include quotations, statistics, photographs, editorial coverage, and a deep investigation into an event's immediate context. This explains the distinctive value of Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection. Presently, it comprises 55 titles originating from 12 states (all US regions are represented), with some German and French language titles. This database offers material that would be extremely difficult or even impossible for researchers to locate elsewhere. Readex, a division of NewsBank, has been a leading publisher of unique primary source material since 1984, when the company was invited to publish the Early American Imprints series, e.g., Series I: Evans (1639-1800) (CH, Nov'04, 42-1269), and Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819 (CH, Sep'11, 49-0028). This series provides comprehensive coverage of early American history, culture, and daily life through books, pamphlets, and broadsides. Ethnic American Newspapers is of unparalleled value because it gives researchers insight into American history, culture, and life from perspectives one will not find in the mainstream. For example, a search for "know nothing party" (a fringe political party in the mid 19th century) returns a range of opinions from the Jewish community, the Irish-American community, and others. ...

"Ethnic American Newspapers is very user-friendly and easily navigable, even by novice researchers. The export, e-mail, printing, and related features are clearly identified, and these functions are readily accomplished with only one mouse click. Users may browse by era, begin a simple search, or create a more complex algorithm by selecting from clearly marked tabs, which limit results by article type, language, place of publication, newspaper title, or dates/eras. Search history is saved until cleared--a simple but invaluable tool, particularly when doing historical research, where the selection of key terms may be vastly different. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above."
-- D. W. Bilal, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, in Choice (May 2013)

Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection opens a marvelous window into immigrant life in America. These newspapers of many different ethnic groups and diverse localities embrace over 200 years of the American experience. In them we find many small but essential details of immigrant life, including their divisions, their controversies and their struggles to adapt to the American environment.”
James M. Bergquist, Emeritus Professor of History, Villanova University

Notable Titles
Chronological Segments
Series List
Case Study
Advisory Board

James Bergquist, Professor Emeritus of History
Villanova University 

David Brundage, Professor of History
University of California, Santa Cruz

Donna Gabaccia, Professor of History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center
University of Minnesota

Walter Kamphoefner, Professor of History
Texas A&M University

Eric Pumroy, Director of Library Collections, and Seymour Adelman Head of Special Collections
Bryn Mawr College

Dorothee Schneider, Lecturer in History
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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