Skip to main content Skip to navigation


For this week, we will focus on newspapers (and periodicals) and their value as sources for studying a range of political, cultural and social topics in early modern history.

Select a topic (some suggestions below but you may chose any which fit your interests); research the topic in online newspapers; choose two accounts and write up a short analysis of the contrasts in the reporting and what you have learned from this.

Consider the following:

  • What are the challenges of using newspapers as a source to study your topic? You will find the secondary sources listed below helpful to guide you.
  • How easy was it to find articles on your topic? What did you learn about searching newspapers online?
  • How similar and how different was the reporting on your topic in the two newspapers you chose to study?

Using Newspapers for Historical Research

  • Bates, Denise, Historical Research Using British Newspapers (Pen and Sword, 2016)
  • Beals, M.H and Lavender, Lisa, Newspapers (History Subject Centre, 2011)
  • Halsey, K. and Owens, W. R., The History of Reading, vol 2 (Palgrave, 2011); especially part III
  • Heyd, Uriel, Reading Newspapers: Press and Public in Eighteenth-Century Britain and America (Oxford, 2012)
  • Williams, Kevin, Read All About It!: A History of the British Newspaper (Routledge, 2010)

Online Newspapers

17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers

Eighteenth Century Journals : a portal to newspapers and periodicals, c1685-1815

America's Historical Newspapers

Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876

Sample Topics

  • runaway slaves
  • slave rebellions
  • commerce/trade
  • wars eg the French and Indian War (aka the Seven years war)
  • The Glorious Revolution
  • religion
  • Native peoples
  • diplomacy