African-American Studies: Articles from the 17th through 20th Centuries

The Contents of this Page

Cross-Searchable Platforms
Selected Noteworthy Full-Text Databases
Bibliographies and Histories
Using CLIO to Identify Additional Resources

Comments on the Contents of this Page

Various online resources provide access to full text and/or full-page image of a wide range of periodicals and newspapers from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and/or 20th  century. You may find it helpful to start out your research broadly in one of the Cross-Searchable Platforms.

Selected Noteworthy Full-Text Databases provides more specificity in describing individual resources.

Indexes have been designed as guides to help you identify articles by their subject matter. Even in an environment in which many periodicals and newspapers are accessible full text, you may find that indexes will refresh your understanding of how specific subjects have been approached and understood. They might also enhance your ability to identify relevant articles.  

Bibliographies and Histories can provide you with useful context about the periodicals and newspapers you are discovering in your research.

Finally, you will find advice on Using CLIO to identify Additional Resources.



The following platforms provide access to databases that focus primarily on older materials. Although these older materials are in a variety of formats (books, newspapers, periodicals, etc.), each platform provides options that will allow you to limit your search to newspapers and/or periodicals.

Accessible Archives
Contains a wide range of primary-source collections drawn mainly from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Offers the option, in opening screen, of limiting search by “Publication Type: Newspapers and Magazines.” Collections include:  African-American Newspapers (key titles 1827-1909);  American Military Camp Newspapers (World War I); Civil War newspapers; South Carolina Newspapers; and key newspapers and periodicals advocating for Women’s Suffrage. A few of the noteworthy titles included here are: Frank Leslie’s Weekly; Frederick Douglass' Paper; Godey’s Lady’s Book, and The Pennsylvania Gazette.

Gale. Primary sources
An integrated research environment that allows users to search across all of their Gale primary source collections. To limit your search, select Product Categories, then select Newspapers and Periodicals. Databases cross searchable in that category include: American Historical Periodicals from the American Antiquarian Society; and Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers. Many resources that are British in focus are also included, such as: Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals.

Readex AllSearch 
Allows you to search across over 50 databases containing full text and page image of publications from the 17th through the late 20th century. Includes periodicals, newspapers, books, pamphlets, ephemera, and government documents. The pull down menu in the opening search screen allows you to select from among a variety of American newspaper and periodical databases: African American Periodicals; America's Historical Newspapers (which includes Ethnic American Newspapers and Hispanic American Newspapers); and American Underworld: The Flash Press.


Selected Noteworthy Full-Text Databases


Below I have listed full-text databases that are noteworthy either for A.) their extent and breadth of coverage; or B.) their relevance to current known areas of research interest in American history.

  • African American historical serials collection    (EBSCO)
    "Includes African American periodicals, annuals and reports published from 1829-1922 including materials from African American religious organizations and social service agencies." (from publisher's description)
  •  African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, Series 1  (Readex)
     African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, Series 2
     "Provides online access to more than 350 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African-American experience. This unique collection, which includes historically significant papers from more than 35 states, features many rare 19th-century titles." Based upon James P. Danky's African-American Newspapers and Periodicals.

  • African American periodicals, 1825-1995   (Readex)
    "Allows users to search more than 170 African American Periodicals published between 1825 and 1995. Created by Readex through a partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society, African American Periodicals enables researchers to explore African American culture, thought and opinion ranging over more than 150 years of African American life." (from publisher's description)
    ►May be cross-searched with other databases covering similar time periods in Readex AllSearch.
  • American Historical Periodicals from the American Antiquarian Society (Gale)
    Provides digital access to an extensive collection of American periodicals published between 1681 and 1940. Topics encompass a broad spectrum including agriculture, anthropology, art, archaeology, education, family life, fashion, industrialization, literature, medicine, music, photography, politics, religion, science, sport, and temperance. Over six million pages are presented in searchable digital facsimile. 
  • American Periodicals  (ProQuest)
    "Includes digitized images of the pages of American magazines and journals published from colonial days to the dawn of the 20th century. Titles range from Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine and America's first scientific journal, Medical Repository; popular magazines such as Vanity Fair and Ladies' Home Journal; regional and niche publications; and groundbreaking journals like The Dial, Puck, and McClure's." Also includes "labor, trade, literary, scientific, and photographic periodicals, as well as other historically significant titles."
  • American Underworld: The Flash Press (Readex)
    "Crime, scandal, and blackmail papers of the nineteenth century." Newspapers focusing on illicit activities in urban America from the 1820s to the 1870s.
  • America's historical newspapers     (Readex)  Newly added September 2022: Series 18, 1825-1879, Racial Awakening in the Northeast
    The bulk of the newspapers accessible here fall within the time span of 1690-1922. Selected collections include titles with issues going up as far as late 20th century. Includes: Early American Newspapers, 1690-1922, Series 1 through 18; African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, Series 1 & 2; Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1876; Ethnic American Newspapers, 1799-1971; and Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980
    ►May be cross-searched with other databases covering similar time periods in Readex AllSearch.
  • Chronicling America : Historic American Newspapers (Library of Congress) {Open Access}
    Search America's historic newspapers pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
  • Ethnic American newspapers from the Balch collection, 1799-1971 (Readex)
    "Enables users to search more than 130 Ethnic American newspapers published in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. Created in partnership with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. . . ." (from publisher's description)
    ►May be cross-searched with other databases covering similar time periods in Readex AllSearch.
  • Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, 1543-1945
    Full-text collection of books and periodicals relating to the history of women, women's rights, and women's suffrage. The bulk of materials fall within 1880-1920.
  • HarpWeek
    Page images and searchable full text of Harper's Weekly, the popular illustrated American magazine, for the period 1856-1912. Detailed searchable subject index.
  • Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980
    Includes hundreds of Spanish-language or Spanish/English bilingual newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries.
    ►May be cross-searched with other databases covering similar time periods in Archive of Americana.
  • Historical Black Newspapers (ProQuest)
    A subset of Proquest Historical Newspapers (see listing below). Full-text and full-image access to nine newspapers, including:  Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003); Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988); Chicago Defender (1909-1975); Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005); and New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993). As a default, all Historical Black Newspapers are included in any search of Proquest Historical Newspapers.
  • Independent Voices : An Open Access Collection of an Alternative Press (Reveal Digital / JSTOR)
    An "open access digital collection of alternative press newspapers, magazines and journals, drawn from the special collections of participating libraries. These periodicals were produced by feminists, dissident GIs, campus radicals, Native Americans, anti-war activists, Black Power advocates, Hispanics, LGBT activists, the extreme right-wing press and alternative literary magazines during the latter half of the 20th century."
    "JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations." Journals in JSTOR are covered back to their first issues. Recency of coverage varies by title. Some titles are covered up through latest issue; others only up through five years ago, etc.
  • Magazine Archives (Ebsco)
    Each archive provides indexing, abstracting, full text, and page images for the magazine listed. Coverage begins with the first issue and extends up at least as far as 2000.  Some of the key titles are:
    Architectural Digest Magazine Archive (1922 to 2011)
    Bloomberg Businessweek Archive (1929 to 2000)
    Ebony  (1945-2014)
    Esquire (1933-2014)
    Forbes Magazine Archive (1917 to 2000)
    Fortune Magazine Archive (1930 to 2000)
    Life Magazine Archive (1936 to 2000)
    The New Republic Archive  (1914-2020)
    Sports Illustrated Magazine Archive (1954 to 2000)
    Time Magazine Archive (1923 to 2000)
    NOTE: In order to search any of these magazines in combination with one or more of the others: go to EbscoHost Research Databases; select "Choose Databases"; deselect all; then choose the desired Archive titles.

  • Making of America (University of  Michigan and Cornell University) [Open Access]
    A collaborative effort between the University of  Michigan and Cornell University, Making of America (MOA) draws on the depth of primary materials at those universities' libraries. MOA is a thematically-related digital library documenting American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction, focusing on items printed from 1850 to 1877.
  • 19th Century U.S. Newspapers
    Searchable database containing digital facsimile images of newspapers, presented as full page layout as well as single articles. Advertisements and illustrations are included. This collection includes numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.; and it encompasses the entire 19th century.
    ►May be cross-searched with other databases covering similar time periods in Gale. Primary sources
  • PAIS Index (ProQuest)
    Coverage:  items published 1915 to the present
    Covers issues in the public debate through selective coverage of a wide variety of international sources including journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference papers, web content, and more.
  • Periodicals Archive Online (ProQuest)
    "A major archive that makes the backfiles of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences available electronically." Many general interest periodicals are also included. PAO "is international in scope with the inclusion of more than 150 foreign-language titles." Each periodical included is covered back to its first issues. Many periodicals are covered up through 2001.  
  • Proquest Historical Newspapers

    Full-text and full-image, dating back to their first issues, for more than thirty five newspapers. Some of the key U.S. titles are: Atlanta Constitution (1868-1945); Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003); Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988); Boston Globe (1872-1927); Chicago Tribune (1849-1987), Hartford Courant (1764-1985); Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005); Los Angeles Times (1881-1987); New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993); New York Times (1851-2006); The New York Tribune (1841-1962); The Wall Street Journal (1889-1992), and The Washington Post (1877-1993). Also includes some newspapers published in Britain--such as The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003).  
    NOTE: To limit your search to one or more of the newspapers: Click on "Select Multiple Databases" in the main search screen; click twice on "Select All" to clear selections; then scroll down to "Proquest Historical Newspapers:" and select titles as desired.



Indexes are designed to help researchers identify where articles meeting certain criteira (subject, author, title, etc.) have been published in periodicals and/or newspapers.  With so many full-text resources available (as listed in box above), why would you want to use an index? Sometimes indexes can help you find things that you were overlooking in a full-text resource. Or sometimes they might cover titles that are not included in a full-text resource. They are one more tool that an inventive researcher will want to explore. It is also the case that many databases that have traditionally been understood as indexes have increasingly been providing access to full text of articles through the e-Link feature.

Online Indexes
  • Black Studies Center
    Includes: The International Index to Black Periodicals, which covers scholarly and popular Black Studies journals, including full text for many titles; The Marshall Index, a guide to black periodicals, 1940-1946; Black Literature Index, which provides listings for fiction, poetry and literary reviews published in 110 black periodicals and newspapers between 1827-1940; Historical Black Newspapers; Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience; and other resources.
  • Nineteenth-Century Masterfile
    Integrates a number of indexes to nineteenth-century printed material into one database. Includes: Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1906), and other general periodical indexes; New York Daily Tribune Index (1875-1906), New York Times Index (1863-1905), and other indexes devoted to specific newspaper or periodical titles; as well as specialized indexes for law, religion, and government documents.
  • Historical Newspapers Online
    Electronic form of the indexes to the London Times and the New York Times. Currently covers the London Times beginning 1790 and the New York Times beginning 1851.
  • Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective : 1908-1981
    "A retrospective database that indexes over 750 legal periodicals published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Content is also drawn from 38 printed compendia, which provides access to approximately 540,000 records. Coverage also includes: annual surveys of laws by jurisdiction; annual surveys of federal court cases; yearbooks and annual institutes."
  • Readers Guide Retrospective
    Coverage: 1890-1982. Provides citations to articles in popular and general-interest periodicals.
Print Indexes
  • Kaiser Index to Black Resources 1948-1986 from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. (5 vols.)
    Coverage: 1948-1986
    Call Number: R016.3268 K123
  • Writings on American History, 1902-1989/90.
    Location: BUTLER STACKS
    Call Number: Z1236 .L331
    Lists books and articles on American history. Useful for its coverage of the years 1902 - 1954, before America: History and Life begins its coverage.

Bibliographies and Histories


Bibliographies and histories can provide you with varying degrees of information about specific periodicals or newspapers and/or about the periodical press as a whole in a given time period. The following work is of major importance:

  • African-American newspapers and periodicals : a national bibliography / James P. Danky, editor ; Maureen E. Hady, associate editor.
    Digital Humanities Center Reference, 305 Butler
    Call Number: R016.071 Af83

Using CLIO to Identify Additional Resources


Books and other information resources about periodicals and newspapers published by or for African Americans can be searched in CLIO under the appropriate subject headings.

Select "Subject" from the pull-down "Search" box menu in the Basic Searching screen of CLIO.

Below are examples of some relevant searches that you could enter in a Subject search:
African American newspapers 
African American newspapers > Bibliography.
African American newspapers > History
African American periodicals

African American periodicals > History and criticism.
African American periodicals > Indexes.

African American periodicals > Bibliography.
African American periodicals > Directories.