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Historical Newspapers

A guide for searching newspaper articles in Mississippi, the United States, and/or international publications

Getting Started

Searching for newspapers for your research project? Whether you know the name of the newspaper, or you're interested in seeing what's out there, here are some good places to start.

For these databases, type in "newspapers" in the subject field. Enter keywords for your topic, and hit "Search." You may have to use the format limiters and choose "Newspaper," Microfilm," "Microform," and any others that are appropriate to you.

Notes on Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Getting Individual Newspaper Articles Via Interlibrary Loan
Have citations for the exact newspaper articles you need? You can get a scan of your article via Interlibrary Loan. For a newspaper article, be sure to have the exact date (month, day, year), the article title, author (if you have one), and the page number.

Pro Tip: after the first page number of your article, type in "-eoa" which stands for End Of Article. This can be helpful if your article does not continue on a contiguous page (as often happens in newspapers). Example: 3C-eoa

Getting Years of Newspapers on Microfilm via Interlibrary Loan

WorldCat (MSU Students and Employees)

Many US libraries include holdings for their newspapers on microfilm, but may limit lending to other libraries. If you're having trouble borrowing a newspaper microfilm, please contact your subject specialist


How long will this take?

  • Research using historical newspapers can be rewarding, and also time-consuming. Always start your research early, and communicate with your librairan as soon as you run into any problems.
  • Leave ample time to order microfilm reels through interlibrary loan and plenty of time to USE them.

Which newspaper should I use?

  • For local/county history, use the newspaper(s) from the city or county in which the events happeend. A larger newspaper from a nieghboring county may also have served as a newspaper-of-record for surrounding counties.
  • For major state-wide issues, use the main/largest newspaper from that state, often the newpsaper from its capitol city.
  • For major national issues, consdier national titles such as the New York Times, Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal.
  • For international issues, choose the most well known newspaper from the country involved in your research. MSU Libraries does have a long run of the Times from London.

How do I identify the articles I need? What about Indexes?

  • If the newspaper is still in print (even if its title has changed), check its own website and look for a search box or Archives link. You may at least get enough citation information to use interlibrary loan for the articles you want. Pay attention to how far back the archive search covers--is it going back far enough for your needs? DO NOT PAY FOR FULL TEXT. MSU Libraries can often get what you need at no cost to you.
  • Only the most popular newspapers had their own indexes. For Mississippi history, the NY Times has served as a reliable newspaper of record for major statewide issues. Searching its archives may give you dates you can use to browse the microfilm for our local newspapers. You can use this same tactic for other state newspapers lacking their own indexes.
  • Some county and state geneological societies have obituary indexes for their local newspapers which may be helpful to your research.
  • Use your other secondary and primary sources, as well as reference sources, to pin down dates you can use to begin browsing unindexed newspapers on microfilm.