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Historical U.S. Newspapers

This resource is intended as an introduction to finding and learning about newspapers via the University of Maryland Libraries..

What is the Ethnic Press?

The Ethnic Press refers to newspapers published for specific audiences based on nationality, religion, and/or language.  The history of the ethnic press stretches back to the colonial period, when German, Irish, and other non-English immigrants made their way to the American colonies, forming communities and, with them, newspapers.  As the numbers and diversity of immigrants increased in the 19th Century, so too did the newspapers created to serve these populations.  Many of the newspapers are in languages other than English, comprising a sub-group known as the foreign-language press.  However, ethnic presses can appear in English as well, with a prime example being the Irish press.  This page offers some resources to help researchers learn about the ethnic press in America, as well as some tips for finding ethnic newspapers in the library collection.

Finding Ethnic Newspapers at the Library

There are several ways to go about locating ethnic newspapers in the University of Maryland system.  The route you take will depend on your specific research needs:

  • Looking for a specific newspaper: If you have a particular publication in mind, do a "title search" in the library catalog to see if it is available in the collection.  If you locate the newspaper of interest, pay attention to the holdings information.  Most likely, the newspaper will be on microfilm or will be accessed through one of the historical newspaper databases, such as America's Historical Newspapers.
  • Looking for newspapers of a particular group/community: Alternatively, you may want to find newspapers from a specific ethnic press, such as the German-American press.  To see what is available, do a "subject search" in the catalog of the format "[name of group] Americans newspapers".  So, for the German press, search "German Americans newspapers".  This search will return not only newspapers for that group, if available, but also histories and other resources.
  • Need current news from the ethnic press? Try Ethnic NewsWatch, available in Research Port.  This database covers newspapers and periodicals from 1990 to the present, with access to more than 2 million full-text articles.

General Histories and Bibliographies

Community-Specific Resources

In addition to the general resources listed above, there are a number of books and other works dedicated to one ethnic press or another.  A sample of those works is presented here.