Newspapers as Sources

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on January 25, 2023.

(Return to Home Page)


A large portion of the information here at UtahRails covering the early railroads prior to 1900, comes from the extensive newspaper research completed by George Pitchard in the 1980s, which he self-published on an extremely limited basis in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All of his notes from his newspaper research have been incorporated as part of each railroad's coverage here at

(Read George Pitchard's notes about his newspaper research)

A subscription to "Publisher Extra" and the free Utah Digital Newspapers Project can be amazingly fruitful to fill in a detail here and there. But it can also be amazingly frustrating when it comes to lack of coverage. The search engine used by is excellent and constantly returns useful results.

Salt Lake Herald

William Clark's Salt Lake Herald usually had good railroad coverage in the years he owned it from 1898 to 1909. They kept up the good railroad and mining coverage for another 20 years.

Salt Lake Tribune

The Salt Lake Tribune, with its good business coverage, is now online at the Utah Digital Newspapers Project, up to 2004. Their "Up and Down the Street" going back as far as 1951 by Robert Bernick, then by Robert Woody from 1964 to his retirement in 1990 had some very good railroad and industry coverage. Then they lost their way, confusing business news with financial "Wall Street" news.

Deseret News

A subscription to is very useful, except for the missing issues of The Deseret News, published in Salt Lake City, Utah, for 1977 to 1988. The newspaper's own online archive for that period, originally available online in the late 1990s and early 2000s, is no longer active.

The missing issues from 1989 to present day are supposedly available at the current web site. When asked, their response for the missing issues is that they are available from the Google News Archives, which supposedly holds archives of the Deseret News covering the 1850s to the 2000s.

But Google no longer supports their News Archives and it has become an orphan service. The keyword search function is becoming unusable due to the end-of-life nature of the service. While there are indeed many issues available, the coverage is extremely inconsistent with the issues before the late 1970s mostly missing. Scrolling across the years before the late 1970s finds only 79 issues of Deseret News available from Google News: 27 in 1959, 25 in 1962, and 27 in 1963. And most if not all of these are available from the Utah Digital Newspaper Project.

However, a structured search of Google News, editing the URL for a specific date, will find specific issues. Knowing the specific date is almost mandatory. A general Google search, with "" as part of the search, can be useful, and may provide useful results, from all newspapers across the nation.

The search engine at the Google Newspaper project works only on a limited basis but it displays the pages themselves if you can find the date.

Utah Digital Newspaper project -- One of the leaders in the effort to digitize newspapers. Based in Salt Lake City, at University of Utah. (

Google News, Deseret News Archive -- Change the yyyymmdd from 19840627 to your desired date. ( -- A subscription site for digital newspapers. Based in Lindon, Utah; affiliated with -- A subscription site for digital newspapers. Based in San Diego, California.