Using Local Newspapers

Among the best sources for local history and information, including history relating to the public schools, are the local newspapers.  The primary newspaper for Louisville for most of its history is the Louisville Courier-Journal, created in 1868 by the merger of three independent papers, the Courier, the Journal and the Daily Democrat.  The CJ, its predecessors (all 19th century papers), and the CJ’s sister publication, the Louisville Times, are available on microfilm at the major research libraries in Kentucky, such as the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, the University of Louisville’s Ekstrom Library and the University of Kentucky’s W. T. Young Library.  Check with your local library about availability and inter-library loan. 

The primary index to the Courier-Journal is a subject card index started by staff at the Louisville Free Public Library in 1917.  This index for the years 1917 to 1986 was microfilmed by the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center.  The index microfilm is also available at the major libraries.  In the late 1980s, electronic versions of the newspaper began to appear.  Check with the research libraries to access the paper itself electronically or to use the electronic information as a finder for more recent issues on the microfilm. 

Some issues of the Courier-Journal from 1900 to 1910 are to be included in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) project managed by the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Virtual Library. See the KYVL's information on Kentucky Digital Newspapers.

Researchers may also be interested in contacting the Courier-Journal for information on its fee-based service for searching its archives. 

Beyond access provided in the methods listed above, researchers use publication dates to find information.

Other local papers are available on microfilm as well, but most are not indexed.  These include the dailies, the Herald and the Post, later merged into the Herald-Post, which closed in 1936;  the African-American community papers, the Louisville Leader and the Louisville Defender; religious papers such as the Roman Catholic Record and the Baptist Western Recorder; and ethnic community newspapers such as the Louisville Anzeiger and the Kentucky Irish American.  These papers are not available at all libraries.  For instance, the Record is available at Bellarmine University’s library and the Western Recorder is available at the library at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

The JCPS Archives and Records Center clips news reports about the schools from current issues of the Courier-Journal for its history files but the archives does not have retrospective microfilm or the electronic edition of the newspaper.  Researchers interested in sports articles should locate the papers on microfilm at the larger libraries. 

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