Primary Sources: Digitized farm newspapers

A digitized collection of weekly farm newspapers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is available online from the University of Illinois Library. The weeklies, according to the Library, were “aimed at a local, regional, or national audience of farmers and their families, with the goal of disseminating information and dispensing advice.” Farm newspapers, they say, “were instrumental in the formation of rural public opinion and in connecting farmers to broader social and economic currents in American life. More than 75% of Midwestern farmers subscribed to one or more agricultural papers in 1913. In a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers overwhelmingly cited agricultural newspapers as the most helpful source of information in their farming–second only to experience.”
The newspapers can be browsed by date or searched by keyword across articles, advertisements and photo captions. Users can print, download, or e-mail individual articles free of charge. There is also a guide available that provides search strategies for finding articles on different themes (e.g., Indian Lands, Health & Hygiene) and links to examples of representative articles.</>