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Serial and Government Publications Division



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






Newspapers by Place and Date
see caption below

Women's edition-The Press Thanksgiving eve. Marianna Sloan, artist. November 27, 1895. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-9719 (color film copy transparency).
bibliographic record

Directories and union lists identify titles of newspapers published in a specific city or town for specific years.


One of the first steps in newspaper research is to identify newspaper titles for specific locations or time periods. Division specialists frequently consult the following five sources to identify U.S. newspapers:

  • Brigham, Clarence S. History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820. 2 vols. Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1947. Z6951.B86 N&CPR.
    Widely used to identify early newspapers, Brigham's work includes historical information about each newspaper as well as holdings information. The work is arranged first by state and then by newspaper title. It includes indexes to titles and printers. Lathem's Chronological Tables of American Newspapers, 1690-1820 (Z6951.L3 N&CPR) is a chronological arrangement of Brigham.
  • North, S. N. D. History and Present Condition of the Newspaper and Periodical Press of the United States. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office for the Census Office, Department of Interior, 1884. HA201 1880.B1 vol. 8 N&CPR.
    Completed for the tenth census (1880), this history of the newspaper and periodical press from 1639 to 1880 provides statistics, a catalog of periodical publications issued in 1880, and a chronology of the U.S. newspaper press. Although not every state's press history is included, the chronology, arranged by state and territory, contains valuable historical information not easily found elsewhere.
  • N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual. Philadelphia: N.W. Ayer and Son, 1880-1986. Z6951.A97 N&CPR full set.
    Published annually, the “Ayer's Directory,” as it is commonly known, is a list of newspapers (and many periodicals) published in the United States and Canada, arranged geographically. Ayer's includes a classed listing of newspapers and periodicals, as well as subject listings, such as culinary and housekeeping, fashion, matrimonial, millinery, woman's handiwork, and women's clubs (these categories became increasingly detailed over time). It was continued by Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media (New York: Gale, 1987-), with expanded coverage of radio and television stations.
  • Rowell's American Newspaper Directory. New York: George P. Rowell & Company, 1869, 1871-85, 1886-1909. Z6951.R88 N&CPR.
    A predecessor and later a competitor of Ayers, Rowell's lists newspapers and periodicals of the United States and the territories geographically. It has a large section on advertising rates and circulation data and includes listings related to women, such as “Woman's Rights.” It was absorbed by Ayer's American Newspaper Directory in 1910.
  • Working Press of the Nation. Volume 1, Newspaper Directory. Chicago: R.R. Bowker, 1945-. Z6951.W6 N&CPR.
    Volume 1 of the three-volume Working Press is categorized first according to type of newspaper (daily, weekly), then by subject groupings (feature syndicates, news and photo services), which are not limited to a specific newspaper. One of its strengths is its index to editorial personnel.

Union Lists:

Union lists assist in locating newspaper holdings beyond the Library of Congress, and they verify the existence of newspapers. Widely available, these lists provide valuable information that will help you prepare for a visit to the Library of Congress or to newspaper repositories around the country. Two print union lists are particularly useful:

  • American Newspapers, 1821-1936, edited by Winifred Gregory (New York: Bibliographical Society of America, 1937; Z6951.A498 N&CPR)
  • Newspapers in Microform, 1948-1983, 6th edition (Washington: Library of Congress, 1983; Z6945.U5 N43 N&CPR). 3v.

Union lists may include useful editorial information and listings of variant titles as well. Many states and countries published union lists covering the newspaper holdings of their libraries. Participants of the United States Newspaper Program (USNP), a union database managed by OCLC and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), provide holdings information of the newspaper held by libraries, historical societies, and archives in states. Each state's program coordinator also has a Web page of contact information, progress reports, and holdings information through the NEH USNP site <> (see Serial and Government Publications External Sites).

SAMPLE LCSH: Useful subject headings for locating these and other newspaper directories in the Library's catalog include:
American newspapers—Bibliography
American newspapers—Directories
Newspaper publishing—Directories
Press—United States—Directories.

SAMPLE LCSH: To find union lists for specific ethnic groups, states, or regions, search under:
African American newspapers—Bibliography—Union lists
American newspapers—Bibliography
Catalogs, Union—Southern States
[or —specific state]
Newspapers—Bibliography—Union lists.

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