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History Research Guide

Resources for research not limited to any particular course topic and tools to support history scholars.

Why Newspapers?

Newspapers are one of the best primary source collections for many topics, but should not be considered scholarly or impartial.
These serve as a reflection of popular thinking and exhibit strong biases based on editorial policies.

This page is devoted to historical newspaper sources. All newspapers (current or historical) that are available in full text at CSUSM in either paper, microfilm or electronic format can be located by a search in the library catalog.


Before digitization, microfilm was considered state of the art for long-term newspaper storage as newsprint has an approximate shelf-life of 50 years or less. Knowing this doesn't make microfilm easier to use, but here at CSUSM, we have indexes to the newspapers when available and staff have a microfilm reader-printer to make scans from microfilm holdings.  As we can, we are adding newspapers in digital form to our collections and those will be found in the database collections as noted below.

Searching Newspapers

This guide is specifically for historical newspapers (generally running into the early 1990s.) Information on current newspapers, both print and digital, is found in the News & Newspapers Research Guide.

There are a variety of ways to access older newspapers and most are digital or microfilm collections due to the nature of newsprint being a material not intended for long-term storage.

At CSUSM, you can search several specific major newspaper titles found in the Database List collections by title. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Times (London), and the San Diego Union each have individual archival collections.

Other titles can be searched using the Articles+ search on the library home page. Type your research topic (keep it simple) in the Articles+ search box and limit the results to "newspaper articles". This is going to return articles published from a variety of time periods and publications, but you find tools to narrow your results to the left of the results list.

Looking for a specific newspaper title or region?

It is best to have a newspaper title, but if you do not, you can try the word newspaper with a city or state to focus your search.

If you are interested in certain types or geographic divisions of papers, you can do a subject search on 'newspapers' and look through the available subdivisions that reflect more focused topics.  Here are some examples of subject headings and sub-headings:

  • Newspapers--African Americans--California (newspapers by/about African-Americans in California)
  • Newspapers--Albuquerque N M (newspapers published in Albuquerque)
  • Newspapers--Bannock Indians (newspapers published by and about a particular group)
  • Newspapers--Boston University (school newspaper, generally student-run and written)
  • Newspapers--Chinese--United States (Chinese can refer to the subject group or language of publication)
  • Newspapers--India (newspapers published in another nation)
  • Newspapers --Indians of North America--South Dakota (Native American newspapers published in a particular state)
  • Newspapers--Popular Culture--San Francisco Calif (newspaper on a topic with regional subdivision)

Research in many historical newspaper requires access to backfiles (the term used for older issues) and you may need to go to a newspaper 'morgue' for hard copies. These may be also found at a public library or a historical society located in the area you are researching. Many newspapers are not yet indexed or digitized and will require consultation with a librarian or history expert to locate pertinent materials.

CSUSM holdings for digitized older papers

For local papers without digital archives, contact information has been posted for possible archival access.

Los Angeles Times 1881-1996
Print: Latest two months in paper, online in the Library Databases by Title (L to find the title)

New York Times 1851-2016
NON-CSUSM users--You can use the NYT archives search to access free full text (prior to 1923.)
Online in the Library Databases by Title (N to find the title)

San Diego Union Tribune (1871-1983) Note this title has changed several times over the years.
Print: Latest in paper, older issues in the Microfilm Collection F-1
Online in the Library Databases by Title (L to find the title)

Escondido Times Note this title has changed several times over the years.
Online formats accessed through Library Catalog: 1893-1995

North County Times (San Marcos city edition)
Business Office: 207 Pennsylvania Ave. Escondido, CA 92025 (760) 745-6611
A related collection is the Daniel Rios Photographic Negatives, 1968-2001. This is collection of negatives from the Escondido city edition is being processed.  If you are looking for images please send your requests to for assistance.

San Diego Voice and Viewpoint
Business Office: 1729 N. Euclid Ave. San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 266-2233

Wall Street Journal <1980-on)
Older issues in the Microfilm Collection F-4, from 1984-on in ProQuest Direct

Irish Times
Microfilm Collection F-144 for years 1916-1988 (some gaps), 1995-on in ProQuest Direct or Factiva databases

Times (London) 1785-1985
Online in the Library Databases by Title (in 'T' collection)

Collections (multiple titles in one resource)

America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1998 from Newsbank) includes these collections:

  1. African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
  2. Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980
  3. Early American Newspapers: Colonies to to Nation
  4. Early American Newspapers: The New Republic
  5. Early American Newspapers: The Rise of Industry

Ethnic NewsWatch 1992-current <(papers in Spanish and English)


Indexes do not provide full-text to the articles, but act as a directory to tell you when an article was written addressing your research topic. Even weekly newspapers have so many different articles covering so many topics in one issue, it is difficult to locate the desired information unless you have a specific citation. Indexes speed up your research in comparison to guessing at a date and browsing the issues.

Some papers have print or digital indexes. Please refer to the Newspapers Research Guide for more information or consult the librarian.

Newspaper Internet Collections

Older California newspapers are available in the  California Digital Newspaper Collection. Titles include The Californian (first California newspaper in 1846) and regional titles. 

Chronicling America at the Library of Congress is the clearing house for the National Digital Newspaper Program. The California Digital Newspaper Project is a part of this nation-wide effort.

Penn State's Historical Newspapers Online is a very comprehensive and detailed listing of full-text historical US newspapers.

News Archives for US papers is an assortment of papers and sources for browsing

Elephind provides a list of a number of large free access digitized newspaper collections.

Foreign Newspaper Archives (examples)

Mexico Hemeroteca Nacional Digital de Mexico 1722-2006 (note, not all are available open access and all materials are in Spanish)

Ireland Belfast Newsletter Index 1737-1800 An index to the early years of the oldest continually-published English-language newspaper.

Canada Saskatchewan News Index 1884-2000 Index to newspapers from the region. A limited number of full-text articles are also available.

Australia TROVE: Digitised Newspapers and More

Focused Interest Archives (examples)

Union List of Digitized Jewish Historic Newspapers, Periodical and E-journals 1811-2018 with the bulk of titles early 20th Century,  many titles are in German or other non-English languages and some titles listed are accessed only through subscription.

Catholic News Archive 1831-1978

Hoji Shinbun Digital Collection -- Japanese Diaspora Initiative 1891-1938, titles in English and Japanese, published in Hawai'i and the Americas.