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Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers from Hawaiʻi and the U.S.: Search Basics

Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers from Hawaii and the U.S.


Search Basics

The Chronicling America searches work well. It's super easy. Just go to a Chronicling America search page try entering something. Too many results? Too few? Check the search tips offered by the Chronicling America librarians at the Library of Congress.

A Little More Detail, Because You Really Should Know This

When you enter search terms, Chronicling America looks for your search terms within the newspaper page.

You might now be thinking to yourself, "Duh. I knew that."

Here's why this is important: You don't care about the newspaper page, but you do care about the newspaper article. On any given newspaper page, many articles appear. So if you just dump your search terms in to the system and let it search the whole page, your search terms could appear way at the top of the page and then way across the other side of the page, perhaps not having anything to do with each other. What good does that do you? Nothing. What you need to do is get they system to look for your search terms close to each other, so that they are more likely to appear in the same article.

You want to use these searches:

  • phrase search, which looks for your search terms exactly as entered
  • proximity search, which looks for your search terms within 5 or 10 or 25, etc. words of each other

Sample Searchs

Topics in Chronicling America

The Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodicals Reading Room has compiled a list of topics widely covered in the American press of the time to help users navigate the vast quantity of newspaper pages and articles available on the site. Among the many available topics are two focusing on Hawaiʻi: The Annexation of Hawai'i and From Territory to Statehood.

Each topic includes important dates, suggested search strategies, and sample articles from Chronicling America.


Chronicling America offers not just news articles and newspaper pages, but also information about the newspapers themselves, answering questions like:

  • When was the newspaper published?
  • What were the political, social or economic factors of the time?
  • Who were its editors? What were their political leanings? What were their social positions?
  • How might have the above factors influenced how the newspaper reported the news?

This information helps you place the newspaper articles in context and helps you better interpret what you're reading.

Chronicling America maintains a list of newspapers currently available online. You can scroll through or do a page search to find the newspaper you're using. You will see each paper's geographical information, dates of publication and online availability, and furthest right, a "Yes" or a blank, indicating whether "More Info" is available. The "More Info" link will show you a detailed profile of the paper, plus an historical essay describing the newspaper in greater detail.

Check these out. You might be surprised at how your understanding of the articles increases or even completely changes.

Some samples from Hawaiʻi:

What's New on Chronicling America?

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