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History Research Guide

Newspapers as Primary Source Material

Newspapers are a rich source of historical information. A newspaper report written immediately following an event is generally considered a primary source, and can provide a perspecitve of the event within the context of the time period in which it occurred. Announcements, opinion pieces, letters, and advertisements can also provide a great deal of contextual information. For instance, the Akron Beacon Journal is a rich source of editorials expressing the abolitionist perspecive in the years prior to the Civil War. During the Civil War many soldiers wrote letters to their hometown newspapers describing the activities of their respective military units and war conditions in general. These first hand accounts are invaluable in providing insight into the daily life of a typical soldier.

Historical Newspapers

Akron Beacon Journal Subject Indexes (1841-1939) in PDF format are available through the Akron-Summit County Public Library (ASCPL). Those years of the Akron Beacon Journal and its allied publications can be found in microfilm format on the ground floor of Bierce Library, in the University Archives in the Polsky Building, and at the downtown Akron headquarters of the ASCPL.