Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About Our Newspapers

Full Newspapers, Name Index, Local History and Biographical Clippings

About the Wisconsin Historical Society Newspaper Collections | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society has the second largest collection of newspapers in the United States, surpassed only by the Library of Congress. This stunning national collection spans from the 17th century to the present and serves the needs of researchers not only in Wisconsin, but also throughout the world.

  • Full Newspapers Collection includes titles published in each of the 50 states, U.S. possessions, and the 13 Canadian provinces, plus an assortment of military newspapers published overseas. More than 4,000 titles are included in the collection, with Wisconsin newspapers accounting for approximately 1,600 of these. Out-of-state newspaper holdings are for mostly metropolitan areas.
  • Wisconsin Name Index (WNI) Collection is an index of three basic categories of information: obituaries, newspaper clippings and biographical book excerpts. The categories draw from a database of 150 county and local histories, dozens of professional directories and biographical encyclopedias, more than 60 scrapbooks containing 30,000 obituaries, and selected articles in Wisconsin magazines and newspapers. Most items were published 1870-1970.
  • Wisconsin Local History and Biographical Articles (WLHBA) Collection contains 16,000 historical newspaper articles on notable Wisconsin people and communities. The entire collection is available digitally, displays the actual clipping and is downloadable. Most articles were published 1860-1940.

How Newspaper Collections are Organized


There are a number of ways to access the Society's Newspaper Collections online.

Full Newspapers
The Society's Library has subscriptions to several newspaper databases available on the Library's public computers. You must be in the Library to use these products. Major digital collections include:

Wisconsin Name Index (WNI)
This database is indexed by name or topic. WNI results display index information for items related to the topic you entered. Use the information to help you locate and view the item at the Library.

Book icon for WNI records.WNI items
use this
book icon
Wisconsin Local History and Biographical Articles (WLHBA)
This database is searchable by name or topic. WHLBA search results display clippings of entire articles that you can download.
Newspaper icon for WHLBA records.WLHBA items
use this
newspaper icon
Other Online Resources

The Society's Library has thousands of complete newspapers on microfilm arranged by call number, not by date. Find the newspaper's call number in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library Catalog.

Microfilm of items noted as part of the Wisconsin Name Index (WNI) are available in the Library.

Checking Out Materials

Microfilm must be viewed at the Library. If you can't visit the Society, you can order the microfilm through interlibrary loan. Then view it at your local library.

Purchasing Copies

Photocopies of published and unpublished materials can be made by the Library Archives staff for a fee. If the material is still under copyright, only portions may be photocopied. The staff is unable to print entire publications or collections.

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model.

Newspaper Collections Citation
Newspaper title, place of publication, issue date, page number, Wisconsin Historical Society.

Learn More

See more articles about researching your family history.

Have Questions?

Contact our Library and Archives staff by email.