Searching Chronicling America
Chronicling America is the Library of Congress‘s freely-available, online newspaper resource providing access to over 4.5 million keyword-searchable newspaper pages and information about American newspapers published between 1690 and now. Read the tips below to learn how to find newspaper articles and images for school projects, genealogy research and much more.
This Library of Congress website is freely-available to users all over the world. All you need is an Internet connection and the following URL:
Home page of Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.
The front page of Chronicling America features:
- a tabbed search bar that stays with you as you move throughout the website (Search Pages, Advanced Search, All Digitized Newspapers, 1836-1922)
- a link to the US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present (a searchable database that contains information about American newspapers, including library holdings and links to other digital newspaper resources)
- 100 Years Ago Today (newspaper pages that were published exactly 100 years ago)
- links to additional information about Chronicling America, the National Digital Newspaper Program and other newspaper resources
In addition to providing access to millions of digitized newspaper pages, Chronicling America
contains information about thousands of United States newspapers published between 1690 and today. You can use this feature of the website to:
- Obtain basic facts about a particular newspaper title
- Learn which newspapers served certain communities during a specific time
- Trace the history of a newspaper
- Find out which libraries have hardcopy or microfilm holdings for a particular title
- Discover other digital newspaper resources
To access, click on the US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present button located to the top right of the blue search bar.
Click to access the US Newspaper Directory.
You can browse by newspaper title by using the A-Z, 0-1 buttons.
If you were to click on the H, the following results would appear:
The search feature in the US Newspaper Directory offers a variety of options.
The US Newspaper Directory offers many search options to help you find information about America’s newspapers.
You can use some or all of the following limits to help narrow your results:
- Publisher Location: Use the drop-down boxes to select State, County, City.
- Time Period: Use the drop down boxes to limit your search to a specific year range.
- Keyword: Use this box to search by newspaper title, editor, publisher, political orientation or other descriptor for the newspaper. Digitized newspapers available on Chronicling America include essays about the paper’s history that are searched using this feature.
- Frequency: Use the drop-down box to limit your search to papers published only a certain number of times per day, week or month.
- Language: Use the drop-down menu to limit the language of your publication if interested in finding foreign language papers.
- Ethnicity Press: Use this limit to find papers that served specific cultural groups.
- Labor Press: From Agricultural Industries to Mechanics to Women’s Rights, this feature allows you to find information about papers were geared toward a specific group of people or political agenda.
- Material Type: Options include Microfiche Master, Microfiche Service Copy, Microfilm Master, Microfilm Service Copy and Original (hardcopy).
- LCCN: Search by Library of Congress Control Number (attached to each newspaper’s catalog record) for the most precise searching.
After you do a search, your search results will appear as a list providing the newspaper title, publisher location and dates of publication. Results are sorted by Relevance
, though you can also use the drop-down menu above your search results to sort by State
. Click on a title to view the paper’s Newspaper Directory Entry
and learn more about it.
Sample search results for the US Newspaper Directory.
At the top of each entry, the newspaper title, place of publication and dates of publication are provided. A blue menu bar below the title allows you to toggle between the following screens (the About screen is automatically loaded):
- Browse Issues: This is provided only for newspapers that are available as a digital edition on Chronicling America. Selecting this option will allow you to browse available issues in a calendar view.
- About: The About screen provides basic information about a newspaper, such as Title, Place of Publication, Publisher, Dates of Publication, Frequency and Language. Other information provided may include:
- Notes:It may also include Notes indicating the paper’s political orientation or other editions.
- Preceding Titles, Succeeding Titles and Related Titles: These will link directly to other newspapers’ US Newspaper Directory entries and is helpful for tracing a newspaper’s history.
- Related Links: Links to view the paper digitally on Chronicling America or other digital repositories that include newspapers such as Ohio Memory.
- Libraries that Have It: Powered by WorldCat, this feature tells you which papers hold the paper and includes information on date range and format. If it’s not on Chronicling America, this is one way you can find out where to access the paper.
- MARC Record: Catalog record for the newspaper.
Newspaper directory entry for the Ohio Patriot. This paper is not available digitally.
If the newspaper is digitized and available on Chronicling America, additional information will appear on the right side of the screen, including a sample image, short essay on the history of the paper and links to Browse the Calendar View, All Front Pages and the First Issue and Last Issue available digitally.
When doing a search, it’s important to remember that not every newspaper ever published in the United States between 1836 and 1922 is available. To see exactly what’s available on the site, select the All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922 tab in the blue search bar located in the middle of the home page. This list provides the title and date range of each paper currently available on Chronicling America
All Digitized Newspapers Menu Bar
You can choose to view a complete list by clicking on the Show All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922 link, or you can choose to view the list of papers by state, ethnicity or language by selecting one of the options in the drop-down boxes and left-clicking on GO. The image below shows a portion of Ohio newspapers that are currently available:
List of Ohio newspapers available on Chronicling America.
For each available newspaper, the following information is provided (click on each box to learn more):
Location in which paper was published and/or for which it provided geographical coverage. The Blue-Grass Blade of Lexington, Kentucky, for example, is included on the list of Ohio newspapers because it was also distributed in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Title, place of publication and dates of publication.
A calendar view of issues currently available.
- Links to issues currently available
- Can change which year you want to view
- Link to view all front pages of the issue
Browse available issues using the calender view.
Total number of issues available digitally for that paper.
Link directly to all pages of the earliest or latest issue available digitally. In general, most issues published in between those dates should also be available digitally.
Provides additional information about the newspaper from the US Newspaper Directory
. You can also access this page by clicking on the newspaper’s title in the Newspaper
Newspaper directory entry for the Mahoning Dispatch.
offers two search options from the blue search bar: Search Pages
and Advanced Search
. The search bar stays with you as you move throughout the site, so that no matter where you are, you can easily perform a new search.
Chronicling America’s search bar stays remains at the top of the page as you move throughout the site.
Click on Search Pages (if it’s not already loaded) to begin a basic search. Type your terms into the white search box and left-click “Go” or press enter to search. Limit your search to results from particular states or a year range using the light blue drop-down menus. You don’t need to worry about capitalization, letters with special characters (like accent marks) or including common words like “and” or “not” because these elements are ignored by the search engine. For more tips, see the Advanced Search section below.
Click on the Advanced Search
tab for even more ways to limit your search.
The advanced search feature of Chronicling America offers many options for limiting your search.
With an Advanced Search
, you can limit your search to a specific time period by using the Select Year(s)
/Or Date Range
options located on the right of the screen. The following limiters are also available:
- Select State(s): You can select one, all or more than one state. To search more than one state but fewer than all, use the CTRL key on your keyboard and left-click on the states of your choosing. The search options you selected will be highlighted in blue.
- Select State(s): You can select one, all or more than one newspaper title in which to search. To search more than one title but fewer than all, use the CTRL key on your keyboard and left-click on the titles of your choosing. The search options you selected will be highlighted in blue. Use this technique if a newspaper title changed over time to make sure you get all relevant results.
- Or Date Range: Input MM/DD/YYYY to limit results to a specific day, month, etc. This is helpful when looking for information about a specific event from a birth to a war battle to new legislation.
- Limit Search: Check the box to view results from only the front pages or input a specific page number to narrow your results.
- Language: Select an option from the drop-down box to limit your results to papers with English, French or Spanish language content.
Using these features will help you get the most out of this resource by excluding results from states, papers and time periods that are irrelevant to your search.
The search boxes at the bottom of the Advanced Search box let you ask the search engine to look for your search terms in different ways:
- with any of the words: Type (without the brackets) <dog cat> to retrieve any page with the word dog, cat or both words.
- with all of the words: Type (without the brackets) <dog cat> to retrieve any page on which only both words appear.
- with the phrase: Type (without the brackets) <”dog cat“> to retrieve pages on which the words appear exactly as you have typed them. This is helpful for looking for specific quotations, sayings, place names or people names.
- with the words <insert search terms here> within 5, 10, 50, 100 words of each other: Use the proximity search to find information about a specific person, place or event..
Note:When selecting your search terms, be sure to use contemporary vocabulary! The words we use today to describe the people, places and events of the past are not always the same as the words that people living at that time – those people reading and writing the news – would have used. For example, the country we know today as Thailand was called Siam until 1939. If you did a search for <Thailand> in Chronicling America (which contains only newspapers published before 1923), you would get few or no relevant results. Use the search term <Siam> to get the results you want.
Other search tips to keep in mind so you can get the most out of this resource:
- Use limiters such as state and date.
- Use many words to characterize the topic you are searching.
- Too many results? Use more specific terms or increase your limits.
- Too few results? Use alternate terms or broader subjects and relax limits.
After you decide what you want to search for, what sort of limiters you want to use and how you want the search engine to find your words, type your search term into the appropriate box and hit the enter key or left-click on the Search button.
Once you do a search, your search results will appear as a gallery of mini-newspaper pages (also called thumbnails) on which your search terms appear, sorted by relevance. Your search terms will be highlighted in pink and will remain highlighted when you view a larger version of that page. Search results are considered more relevant if:
- more of your search terms appear
- your search terms are near each other
- your search terms are repeated
The search results forfeature mini-newspaper pages with the search terms highlighted in pink.
You can sort your results by state, title or date by using the drop-down menu next to Sort by. You can also view your results as a list by selecting the List option next to View in the top right corner of your search results. The list view removes the images and provides the title of the paper, date of issue and image (page) number on which your search terms appear. (This feature is useful when using slower Internet connections.) Click on Gallery to return to the thumbnail image view.
View your search results as a list by selecting List next to View in the top right of your search results.
Check the box next to Show only front pages on the top left of your search results to see when your search terms made front page news.
View results from only the front pages by checking the box in the top left of your search results.
Once you’ve found a newspaper page that you would like to look at more closely, click on the thumbnail or link below the image to open the Image-Viewing Screen
. Citation information (Newspaper Title
, Issue Date
and Image Number
) for the page is provided above the image and below the search bar. From this screen, you can scroll through your search results by selecting Previous
options above that citation information. Click on the hyperlink below the citation information to access information about the newspaper from the US Newspaper Directory
Page 1 of the April 1, 1913 issue of the Mt Vernon Democratic Banner in the Image-Viewing Screen.
The Persistent Link and citation information is listed beneath the newspaper page. The URL provided here will always get you back to this exact page (though any search terms that helped you find the image will no longer be highlighted).
Persistent link and citation information for page 1 of the April 1, 1913 issue of the Mt Vernon Democratic Banner.
Directly above the image, a gray menu bar provides navigation, image-viewing and other options.
- Image: Use the drop-down box to the right of Image view pages of that issue in any order.
- Page: Use the directional arrows next to Page to view previous and next pages within that issue.
- All Pages: Click on this to see thumbnails of all pages from the issue you are currently viewing.
- Issue: Use the directional arrows next to Issue to view previous and next issues for that newspaper title.
- All Issues: Click on this to go to a calender view that shows all available issues for that paper.
- Text: Click here to open a new tab or window in your browser that will allow you to look at the text (OCR) interpretation of the words on the page you are viewing. This is done by computer software so it’s not always perfect, but these are the words the search engine tries to match up with your search terms in order to deliver relevant results to you.
- PDF: View, save or print the PDF version of that newspaper page. The searchable text is embedded into the PDF.
- JP2: Download the image as a JPEG 2000, which is a higher quality image file than a PDF. Not every computer comes equipped with software that opens JP2s, so see the information below in Scissors Icon (Clip Image/Print) to learn how to download the image as a JPG file.
Left-clicking the Scissors Icon
opens a new tab or window in your Internet browser so that you an easily print the image. Citation information (Newspaper Title
, Publisher Location
, Dates of Publication
, Issue Date
, Image Number
) is provided above the image, including the Persistent Link
. If you have zoomed in on any portion of the page prior to clicking on this link, only the zoomed-in portion of the image will appear on the Clip Image
screen. Any words that were highlighted in the Image-Viewing Screen
will not be highlighted in this view. You can also download the image as a JPEG from this screen by selecting the Download This Image
When on the Image-Viewing Screen
, you can zoom in on and out of portions of the image by:
- Using the scroll wheel on your mouse (if this doesn’t work, make sure you click on the screen first to activate this feature!)
- Using the + and - buttons located on the left side of the gray menu bar
- Left-clicking on whatever portion of the image you want to see close-up
Other important features of the Image-Viewing Screen include:
- Moving the Image: Left-click and hold the button down while moving your mouse.
- Reset the Image: Click on the Home icon next to the zoom out (-) button to reset the image to its original size and position.
- Toggle Full Page: If the Image-Viewing Screen is still too small, click on the button to the right of the home button to view the image on a full screen. Just as in the regular Image-Viewing Screen, the gray menu bar provides zooming, navigation, view and print options. Depending on your Internet browser, you can either exit the full-screen mode by hitting ESC on your keyboard or using the back button.
Interested in learning more about how you can use Chronicling America
? Return to the Educational Resources
page to view General Tips for Searching Digitized Historical Newspapers, view Chronicling America‘s Help page
or check out the following resources:
contains subject guides that showcase topics that were widely reported upon by the American press between 1836 and 1922, such as significant people, events and fads. For each topic, a timeline, search terms and strategies and sample articles are provided. The link to this section is on the left side of the home page, underneath the search bar:
is useful not only to explore the site if you do not have a particular search query in mind, but it can help you learn how to use the site and overcome common problems such as historical language differences by showing you which terms to use in your search queries.
Check out our collection of subject guides. These are modeled after Chronicling America‘s Recommended Topics
and were developed by the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio
to introduce you to topics that were widely reported on by the Ohio press of the time. Each guide provides a list of significant dates, search tips and strategies as well as links to sample articles. This is also a great way to browse historical newspapers if you don’t have a particular search topic in mind.
To view and save a PDF copy of the Guide to Searching Chronicling America, click the button below.
Chronicling America is made possible through the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and state projects to provide enhanced access to United States newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. National Endowment for the Humanities awards support state projects to select and digitize historically significant titles that are aggregated and permanently maintained by the Library of Congress at Chronicling America.