English and American Literature: Articles from the 17th through Mid-20th Centuries

The Purpose of this Page

Listed and linked below are many of the key resources available to you, through Columbia Libraries, for identifying, locating, and accessing periodical and newspaper articles from the 17th, 18th, 19th, or early 20th centuries.

Full-Text Resources

  • Accessible Archives
    Contains a wide range of primary-source collections drawn mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries.  Includes African-American and abolitionist newspapers (such as Frederick Douglass’ Paper); periodicals designed for women readers (such as Godey’s Lady’s Book);  the illustrated literary and news publication Frank Leslie’s Weekly; and early American newspapers, (such as Pensylvania Gazette). Includes an extensive seven-part collection covering the Civil War from a variety of perspectives; as well as American county histories.
  • 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 Archive of Americana.
  • American Historical Periodicals from the American Antiquarian Society (Gale)
    (Series 1 through 6, 1681 through 1940)
     "...the American Antiquarian Society is both a learned society and a major independent research library. The AAS has been in existence longer than Library of Congress, and unlike Washington-based archives, it survived the British invasion of 1812. It has the single largest collection of American periodicals of this period." 
  • 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."
  • Archive of Americana (Readex)
    Comprehensive historical collections including materials printed in the United States from the 16th through 20th centuries. Includes books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, broadsides, government documents, and ephemera. Collections cross-searchable on the Archive of Americana platform include: America’s Historical Imprints; Afro-Americana Imprints; America’s Historical Newspapers; Hispanic American Newspapers; African American Periodicals; American State Papers; and U.S. Congressional Serial Set.
  • British Periodicals (Collections I, II, & III) (ProQuest)
    "Offers facsimile page images and searchable full text for nearly 500 British periodicals" published from the 17th through the mid 20th centuries.Topics covered include literature, philosophy, history, science, music, art, drama, archaeology, architecture and the social sciences. Also includes influential illustrated 20th century periodicals (such as The Tatler).
  • Eighteenth century journals : a portal to newspapers and periodicals, c1685-1815 (Adam Matthew)
    Full-text and page-image access to newspapers and periodicals printed between c1685-1815. Contains materials from: the Hope Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas; the British Newspaper Library at Colindale, London; the Cambridge University Library; Chetham's Library, Manchester; and Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.
  • Gale NewsVault  (Gale Cengage Learning)
    Search across multiple collections of British and American periodical and newspaper content, including: 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers; 19th Century British Library Newspapers; 19th Century U.S. Newspapers; and 19th Century UK Periodicals. Also includes historical archives for a number of individual periodicals or newspapers: Daily Mail; Economist; Illustrated London News; Punch; Times; Times Literary Supplement and others.
  • HarpWeek
    Page images and searchable full text of Harper's Weekly (1857-1912), the popular American illustrated newspaper.
    "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.
  • 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.
  • The Nation Archive Premium Edition (EBSCO)
    "The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and one if its premier journals of opinion since its inception in 1865. The Nation has long been regarded as one of the country's definitive journalistic voices of writing on politics, culture, books and the arts and continues to stand as the independent voice in American journalism. . . . This database contains indexing & abstracting and full text for the complete archive of The Nation beginning with its first issue in 1865 through to the present."
  • 19th Century UK Periodicals (Gale Cengage Learning)
    Provides full-text and full-page-image access to 19th-century British periodicals in two thematic collections: Series 1, New Readerships: Women and Children, Sports and Leisure, Humour and Satire; and Series 2, Empire: Travel and Anthropology, Economics, Missionary and Colonial.
    ►May be cross-searched with other databases covering similar time periods in Gale NewsVault.
  • 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.  
  • TLS historical archive, 1902-2010 (Gale Cengage Learning)
    Contains every page of every copy of the Times Literary Supplement published from 1902-2010. Wherever possible, the authors of contributions published anonymously are identified by name, using information from TLS files.
    ►May be cross-searched with other databases covering similar time periods in Gale NewsVault.


An index will enable you to identify articles published in periodicals and/or newspapers. For the most wide-ranging picture of how your topic was covered in the periodical press, you will want to make use of indexes and full-text resources in conjunction with one another.

Online Indexes
  • The Wellesley index to Victorian periodicals, 1824-1900 
    The vast majority of articles written for Victorian periodicals were published anonymously, or under pseudonyms. The Wellesley Index identifies the authors of articles within major Victorian periodicals, and provides a bibliography for each contributor. 45 important monthly and quarterly titles are included, covering the period from the beginning of the Westminster Review in 1824 to the end of the century. The exception to this is the Edinburgh Review, which is indexed from first issue, in 1802. Wellesley does not index poetry.
  • Nineteenth-Century Masterfile
    Focus: American and British, 19th Century
    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. Now includes links to full-text articles for selected periodicals.
  • Historical Newspapers
    Focus: American and British
    Contains: Palmer's Index to the London Times (1790-1905); The Official Index to the London Times (1906-1980); and Historical Index to the New York Times (1851-1922).
    Allows for searching across all of these indexes combined.
  • Readers Guide Retrospective
    Focus: American with limited coverage of British, 1890-1982.
    Provides listings of articles in popular and general-interest periodicals published in the United States. Coverage includes literary works published in those periodicals (short stories, poetry, etc.)
To Identify Additional Relevant Indexes

For a fuller listing and discussion of periodical guides and/or indexes, see:

Balay, Robert. Early periodical indexes : bibliographies and indexes of literature published in periodicals before 1900. (Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2000)
Butler Reference R016.05 B18

Bibliographies, Directories, and Histories

Bibliographies, directories, and histories can provide you with varying types and degrees of information about specific periodicals or newspapers and/or about the periodical press as a whole in a given time period. Some major examples of such works would be:

  • The Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800-1900
    A subject-inclusive, language-inclusive annotated bibliography of 50,000 periodical publications. Searchable by title, by names of persons or of issuing bodies involved with these publications, by subject, and by place of publication.
  • Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 5 vols. (New York, London, D. Appleton 1930-1968)
    BUTLER STACKS  PN4877 .M63 1930

Using CLIO to identify Additional Resources

Books and other information resources about periodicals and newspapers can be searched in CLIO under the appropriate subject headings.

  1. In the “Basic Search” screen of CLIO, select "Subject Heading" from the “In:” box menu.
  2. Enter searches using subject headings as appropriate, for example:

english periodicals
english newspapers

american periodicals
american newspapers

Once you have done your subject search in CLIO:

  • Look at the overall list of entries to see how the subject is broken down. If you are interested in finding more of the types of resources listed on this page, you should be attentive to subheadings such as those below:

english periodicals--bibliography
english periodicals--directories
english periodicals--history
english periodicals--indexes

  • Click "More Info" next to the "American Periodicals" or the "English Periodicals" subject heading to see more specialized subject headings that you may wish to search under, for example:

African American periodicals
Children’s periodicals, American
Hispanic American periodicals
Women’s periodicals, American