October is American Archives Month and Family History Month.
When a History major here at Cal State Fullerton (Class of 2001), I spent endless weekends in the Pollak Library scrolling through rolls and rolls of historical newspapers on microfilm, thanks to Dr. Gordon Bakken and Dr. Wendy Elliott-Scheinberg. As a genealogist, I continued to spend much of my own free time doing the same exact thing over the past 10 years. So, while not all historical newspapers or records are available in digital format, I am always thrilled when my historical research projects converge with a source that is conveniently available online.
Access to the Collection
One such source provided by the Pollak Library is the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database collection, available for free (within the library and remotely) to current Cal State Fullerton students, faculty and staff. Members of the public may also conduct research with this database collection for free from inside the library, by setting up Guest Access credentials to use our computers and e-resources.
The Pollak Library provides access to the following ProQuest Historical Newspapers:
- Los Angeles Times – Historical 1881-1986.
- New York Times Historical – 1851-2004.
- The Wall Street Journal (1889-1989).
About the Collection
Details about the collection can best be explained by ProQuest itself.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers™ is the definitive newspaper digital archive offering full-text and full-image articles for significant newspapers dating back to the 18th Century. As part of the ProQuest Historical Newspapers™ program, every issue of each title includes the complete paper-cover-to-cover, with full-page and article images in easily downloadable PDF format. The full collection of ProQuest Historical Newspapers™ contains nearly 30 million digitized pages.
Although our interface (the higher education version) does not look like the version used in this ProQuest presentation, this video provides a good short overview of the key highlights of the database collection.
Collection Use Case
To illustrate how one might use the database collection to conduct historical or genealogical research about a person, I will use an example from my own family history research.
My father’s family immigrated to the Los Angeles area from Mexico in the second decade of the 1900s. I had always heard that my now-deceased great-uncle Frank Cueto had been a Golden Gloves boxer, so I did a quick search of his name in the Los Angeles Times – Historical 1881-1986 database, then scanned the results for boxing-related articles. And sure enough, I found a handful — including this one dated August 23, 1937 — that mention my Uncle Frank.