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Serial and Government Publications Division



Using the Newspaper Collection
Finding Aids
Newspapers by Place and Date
Newspaper Indexes
Full-text Historical Newspapers
arrow graphicNewspaper Histories
Newspaper Bibliographies
Women and the News Business
PATHFINDER: Women's Editions of Daily Newspapers
Finding Women in Newspapers
Women as Audience






Newspaper Histories
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The New York Times: The Model of Decent and Dignified Journalism. Easter. De Yongh. Poster, color lithograph by Lieber and Maass Lith., New York, 1896. Artist Posters. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-1429.

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Several authors have attempted comprehensive histories of U.S. newspapers, but few have succeeded in documenting the diversity and progress of newspaper publishing as well as Frank Luther Mott. His classic American Journalism: A History, 1690-1960 (New York: Macmillan, 1962; PN4855.M63 1962 N&CPR) is one of the best sources to begin a study of newspaper history. Mott provides both broad scope and insights about individual newspapers. His exhaustive footnotes and detailed accounts include minutiae absent from other newspaper histories. For instance, Mott (p. 599) links the development of the women's pages of the late nineteenth century not to the increasing presence of women in the workplace but to department store advertising.

Concentrating on an earlier period, Isaiah Thomas's History of Printing in America (New York: Burt Franklin, 1873; E172.A3 v.5-6 N&CPR) describes printing in the colonies through 1775. Thomas discusses not only the printing process itself and the newspaper press in each colony but also individual newspapers and biographies of printers. He was one of the first to point out the involvement of women in early American printing.

A slightly different approach is taken in The Press and America: An Interpretive History of the Mass Media (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996; PN4855.E6 1996 N&CPR), edited by Edwin Emery until his death in 1993. Revised irregularly, this book covers the modern era of American journalism in detail, with less emphasis on the early American and colonial press but better coverage of the increased role of women as editors, journalists, and columnists of the twentieth century. Emery also discusses the relationship of print journalism to television and radio media.

Most major newspapers have a published history of the newspaper compiled by the newspaper itself or by independent historians. These histories may be useful starting points for finding information about women journalists—as long as the researcher knows the newspaper for which these particular journalists worked. For example, Lloyd Wendt's discussion of Sigrid Schultz (1893-1980) in his history of the Chicago Tribune provides valuable information about the risks Schultz took to report on Nazi oppression. It highlights her 1938-39 articles, written under the pseudonym “John Dickson” to avoid discovery by the Nazis (pp. 574-75, 665-66), which exposed the concentration camps and helped determine the editorial stance of the paper against Nazism and Fascism. 3

Association histories and publications are also helpful in documenting the involvement of women journalists in their field. The Women's National Press Association was launched in the 1880s, and some of the most famous women journalists of the day were founders and members. The National Federation of Press Women and its state chapters have been active since 1937. Associations and clubs for journalists and for women journalists in particular may have biographical information not easily obtained elsewhere.

SAMPLE LCSH: Useful, though general, subject headings for these and other newspaper histories include:
American newspapers—History
Journalism—United States
Press—United States

name of newspaper searched as a subject (e.g., Chicago Tribune).

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