Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History 200E: Race and the City

Course guide, emphasizes Chicago, 1880-present.

1. Finding newspapers in the Library

The UIUC Library has an extensive collection of newspapers, both current and retrospective, in a variety of formats, including hard copy, microfilm, and digital reproductions. Not all of them are included in the online catalog, but if you are looking for a particular newspaper title, try searching it first in the online catalog. Look for more than one record for each newspaper, as our holdings may consist of a combination of hard copy and microfilm, for example, and there may be a separate catalog record for each format. Most of these will be located in the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library, but in some cases, the material will be found in another part of the UIUC Library

Some newspapers that are not represented in the online catalog may be included in the Library's separate UIUC Newspaper Database. This database is searchable by place of publication and by keywords from the title, so you can search for all newspapers published in Cincinnati held in our library. 

Many newspapers are embedded in larger collections of online resources, such as Ethnic NewsWatch (1960-present ). They may also be embedded in microfilm collections, such as the Underground Press Collection (1963-1985). Fortunately, the individual newspaper titles included in the major microfilm collections are listed in the UIUC Newspaper Database.

The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library owns several important collections of alternative and underground newspapers and journals on microfilm. The Underground Press Collection, for example, contains 550 titles published between 1963 and 1985. The individual titles of the newspapers are listed in the UIUC Newspaper Database, but the actual articles in the newspapers and journals are not indexed, so you must scan the newspapers for material relevant to your topic. For more information, see the Alternative Press section in our Find Newspapers Guide.

2. Historical Newspapers

For the most complete and up-to-date information on finding historical newspapers, please visit our Historical Newspapers page. For general information on finding newspapers, regardless of age, format, or place of publication, please visit our Find Newspapers Guide.

There are relatively few U.S. newspapers from the 1930s that have been digitized, aside from the ProQuest Historical Newspapers.  For newspapers other than these few big city dailies, you will need to use our newspapers on microfilm.  In order to find out if we have a particular newspaper, or to find out if we have a newspaper for a particular city or town, you can search our database of newspapers held at the University of Illinois Library.

Some of the important Chicago newspapers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries include the Chicago Daily News, a "penny" newspaper established in 1875 and absorbed by the Chicago Sun-Times in 1978; William Randolph Hearst's evening paper, the Chicago American (1900-1956), and his morning paper, the Chicago Examiner (1902-1936).  The Chicago Daily Calumet was a south Chicago newspaper established in 1903, which was followed by the Southtown Economist, a community paper founded in 1906.  The Chicago Tribune was founded in 1847 and competed head-to-head with the Chicago Daily News in the late 19th century.  Under the leadership of Robert McCormick, the grandson of the Tribune's founder, by 1925 the Chicago Tribune had achieved the highest circulation of all Chicago papers.  By no means the first African-American newspaper in Chicago, the Chicago Defender was founded in 1905 and quickly became the nation's most widely read and influential African American newspaper, launching the campaign in 1916 for what became known as the Great Migration.

The University of Illinois Library owns many of these newspapers in hard copy or on microfilm.  Only a handful have been digitized:

3. Finding articles in newspapers

For newspapers that have not been digitized, article-level indexing is limited, particularly before the 1970s. The digital versions of the following newspapers are fully searchable, so you don't need a separate index to use them:
There is an index for several African American newspapers  covering 1977 through 2007: Index to Black Newspapers, continued by Black Newspapers Index.
For more recent newspapers, online abstracting and indexing for some major and regional papers is available through Lexis-NexisNewsbank, and EBSCO Host.

There is a print index of feature articles from the Daily Illini for the period 1961-1978, the Daily Illini Spectrum Index. This is a rudimentary subject index and a chronological listing. There are copies in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library.