Advanced Search Help

To make the most of searching, take advantage of the search options provided on the Advanced Search page.

Search for a Phrase

Search for Words Near Each Other

Too Many Results - If a search generates too many results, try using more specific terms and/or limiting to a specific State of publication or a particular newspaper title. Use the search box options in combination to narrow your results. For example, use "President Roosevelt" as phrase and "Roosevelt conservation" within 10 words to narrow results to text about only President Roosevelt's conservation policies.

Too Few Results - If a search generates too few results, try alternate terms or broader subjects and relax any limiting criteria (date ranges, state limitations, etc.).

Because language changes, be sure to use search terms used at the time the materials were created, even if those terms are now obsolete. For example, the following historic terms will produce more results than their modern-day counterparts:

Modern Usage vs. Historic Usage comparison table
Modern UsageHistoric Usage
gas, service stationfilling station
African AmericanAfro American, Negro
voting rightssuffrage

Use the names of towns, landmarks, bridges, buildings, and other geographic features that were current when the materials you are searching were created. For instance, the state of Oklahoma was referred to as both "Indian Territory" and "Oklahoma Territory" prior to its admission as a state, so searching for "Indian Territory" may produce more search results if searching on topics related to Oklahoma.

Matching a phrase can be useful for searching place names or when common words have a particular sense used in combination.

For example, the term "normal school" was used in the early twentieth century to describe schools for training teachers. Searching for the phrase may eliminate results containing the words "normal" and "school" in unrelated ways.

Note: Some very common words, such as and, of, the, a, and to, are ignored even when matching exact phrases.