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Slavery & Freedom in Maryland

A guide to the history of slavery in Maryland leading up to the Civil War, using materials from the University of Maryland Special Collections in Hornbake Library.

About Historical Newspapers

Historic newspapers are a rich primary source that can be used to investigate social and political information about the past.  The information available in historic newspapers provides researchers with the opportunity to examine the local impact of slavery across Maryland and how it was covered by journalists at the time.  

For more information using newspapers for your research, visit the interpreting primary and secondary sources guide from the University of Maryland libraries.

In additional to traditional news stories about the politics and court cases related to slavery, early newspapers contain editorials, advertisements for slave auctions, and reward notices for runaway slaves.  In many instances, reward notices provide detailed biographic information, including the names and relatives runaway slaves, physical descriptions, and geographic details of where they may have traveled.   

The Maryland Room has an a variety of pre-Civil War newspapers from across the state of Maryland that are available on microfilm.  Use the list below to browse these titles.  For more information on newspapers in the Maryland Collection, visit the Newspapers of Maryland webpage.

Some early American newspapers have been digitized and are available to search using Database Finder. See a list of selected resources below.

Image: Typical reward notice for a runaway slave in Anne Arundel County, Maryland 1850.

Databases

Database Finder offers online access to databases and journal articles, and is available only at University of Maryland Libraries or to University of Maryland staff and students.  Below is a list of databases pertaining to historical newspapers. 

Maryland Newspapers on Microfilm

There are several early Maryland newspapers available on microfilm in the Maryland Room.  The following is a sampling of these titles, followed by the years covered available. Click on a title to view the full catalog record.

    The Baltimore News American changed names several times during its publication history, below are the earliest titles available: 

    Additional historic newspapers are also available in the Periodicals/Microforms room in McKeldin Library, including:

    Bound Publications