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HIST 405: Gilded Age and Progressive Era: Searching Tips

Strategies for Using Historical Newspapers

  • Use the Advanced Search options - particularly the Publication Date setting
  • Try searching for words that would have been used during different time periods:
    • "Color line" instead of segregation
    • Indians instead Native Americans
    • Negro or colored instead of African American
    • "Lunatic asylum" instead of "mental hospital"
  • Use the asterisk (*) to search for variant endings:
    • immigra* searches for immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigrate, etc.
    • suffrag* searches for suffrage, suffragist, suffragette, etc.
  • Use quotations to search for exact phrases:
    • "National Park"‚Äč
    • "League of Nations"
  • Use AND between search terms to look for all the words:
    • marriage AND morality
    • electricity AND invention
  • Use OR between similar words to search for either term, but not necessarily both.
    • law OR act OR legislation
    • "lunatic asylum" OR "insane asylum"
  • Use NEAR/n to search for two words or phrases within close proximity (ProQuest newspapers only):
    • war NEAR/6 veterans
    • natural NEAR/4 environment
  • Combine search tools to create advanced search strategies:
    • Eugenics AND (population OR "birth rate")
    • Religio* NEAR/5 "public schools"

Be creative in trying different terminology and combinations! Searching is a process of trial and error. Not everything you try will be effective and that's okay. There isn't one "right" search strategy to find everything that you want.

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Kathy Snediker
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