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ProQuest is now offering four new historical ethnic newspaper titles through their Historical Newspapers database platform: The American Hebrew & Jewish Messenger (1857–1922), The American Israelite (1854–1922), The Jewish Exponent (1887–1990), and The Jewish Advocate (1905–90). These titles are available as a group or separately.

This review is in progress. CRL is working to gather more information and critical assessment. We encourage our community to submit comments on their experiences with the database.

This resource is currently offered to CRL libraries at favorable terms. Representatives at each library have been sent login access to view purchase or subscription offers.


Sources for this review include information publicly posted or obtained directly from the publisher, data collected by CRL staff and members, and examination of the digital collection when possible. Other sources are noted where cited.


Center for Research Libraries

  • Carolyn Ciesla, Research Assistant


Collection Content

Title Histories

The database includes the following content:

The American Hebrew & Jewish Messenger (1857–1922)

The American Hebrew was a weekly English language Jewish newspaper published in New York City that merged with The Jewish Messenger in 1903, after previously absorbing other regional religious papers and periodicals from Baltimore and Rochester, N.Y. The paper covered many topics of broad international interest, including the persecution of Jews in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Europe and subsequent waves of immigration to the United States. An entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906) stated that, "Editorially, The American Hebrew stands for conservatism in Judaism. Nevertheless, the columns of this journal are ever open to the discussion of views with which it can in no way accord, but which may be of interest to its readers. Nearly all the prominent Jewish writers and communal workers in the United States have been contributors to its pages.”

The American Israelite (1854–1922)

The American Israelite was the first Jewish newspaper published in Cincinnati, and is the longest-running English-language Jewish newspaper still published in the United States. It was founded by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, who became known as the Father of Reform Judaism in America. The paper, projecting Reform Judaism principles, had a significant influence on small Jewish communities dispersed throughout the American midwestern and southern regions.

The Jewish Exponent (1887–1990)

The Jewish Exponent is a weekly community paper based in Philadelphia. It has been published continuously since 1887, when it was founded by a group of 43 prominent Philadelphians who pledged that it would be “devoted to the interests of the Jewish people.” The paper’s perspectives have always extended beyond the region to international issues, especially the cause of Zionism. A column was devoted to “The House of Israel”. The paper has received many awards from the American Jewish Press Association.

The Jewish Advocate (1905–90)

The Jewish Advocate represents the New England Jewish community, as well as providing a forum on issues in a broader sphere. It was founded as The Boston Advocate by Jacob deHaas, executive secretary to the Austrian journalist and founder of modern political Zionism, Theodor Herzl. Prior to World War II, The Jewish Advocate warned of the coming of Hitler and the great danger which that would pose for the Jewish people. After the war, the paper was a key communication channel for movements leading up to the establishment of the new State of Israel. It continues to be an important source of information and discussion in the Jewish community.


All four titles have been scanned from microfilm. ProQuest has provided the following information on the filming sources and holding libraries:

Boston Advocate/Jewish Advocate: Variously filmed by Recordak/Graphic Microfilm of New England/Spaulding. Film held in ProQuest vaults. Covers 5/26/1905-12/27/1990.

Jewish Exponent: Mostly filmed by the American Jewish Periodical Center and Atlas. Film provided by Hebrew Union College. Covers 4/15/1887-12/31/1990. This film source has a fifteen year gap from 1955-1970, in addition to a few other years. ProQuest is currently attempting to source the gap.

The Israelite/American Israelite: Mostly filmed by the American Jewish Periodical Center. Film provided by Hebrew Union College. Covers 7/15/1854-12/30/1922.

The American Hebrew/Jewish Messenger: Filmed by the New York Public Library. Film provided by ProQuest (from the Norman Ross Collection). ProQuest film covers from 1/2/1857 through 4/30/1915. From 5/1/1915 through 12/31/1922 the film was supplied by Hebrew Union College.

Timetable for release of the database

Content from the four titles is expected to be complete by the end of 2011. As of September, 2011, content is available for The American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger and The Jewish Advocate.



The article titles and first eight lines of each article are hand edited, and the eight lines are considered an “abstract” which can be searched separately.

Technical platform & interface

These titles are available on ProQuest’s new platform, which offers several features conducive to researching newspaper content. All articles are zoned, and the default view presents each separate article. A “page view clickable” view allows the reader to navigate to other adjacent articles on the page. Various types of articles have been tagged, including multiple types of advertisements. The new faceted options for massaging results include a concise but informative summary of publication title histories. A very powerful feature is the word occurrence graph which can be adjusted to show frequency of search terms over varying periods of time – this presents the average user with an out-of-the-box text mining tool.

Cross-collection searching is possible within this group of titles and with other titles available through the ProQuest Historical Newspapers platform.

Strengths and weaknesses

The collection will provide a rich resource for researchers of regional American history, the dynamics of ethnic communities in the U.S., and the role of Jewish communities in international affairs and the founding of Israel. It could become even more valuable if more of the later content could be secured, and if non-English language publications might be considered for inclusion in the future.


The titles may be purchased separately or as a group, with discounts offered for purchasing multiple titles.


Direct from Publisher


Sources for details about this digital collection include information publicly posted by the digital publisher. Other information obtained directly from the publisher at the time of writing is highlighted in blue. Any other source is specifically noted where cited.

Collection Content

Subjects coveredNews, politics, and cultural issues for the Jewish community in the U.S. and abroad
Geographic coverageUnited States (East Coast, New England, Ohio/Midwest); Israel; Europe
Chronological coverage1854–1990
Major languagesEnglish
Content types Newspapers
PSource formats microfilm
Total titles4
PTotal pages431,748
PDigital collection launch dateSummer-November 2011 (titles released sequentially)
PUpdate frequency NA
PCollection ongoingN
PCompletion datewinter 2011-2012
PAvailable supplements NA
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Technical Platform

Browser compatibilityNetscape version 4.7x or higher; Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5 or higher; Firefox 3.5 or higher; Chrome
PAuthentication optionsSecure access via the following authentication methods: IP recognition, Password Barcode, Referring URL,Embedded URL
PArchiving solution – master filesArchived by ProQuest
PArchiving solution – derivative filesArchived by ProQuest
PAvailability in web discovery toolsY (Summon)
POpen URL targetY
PFederated searching, z39.50Y
PLocal host optionY (with Perpetual Access License)
PUsage statisticsY
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Interface Tools

PFull text displayedN
PPage imagesY
PColor imagesN
PSearch full textY
PAdvanced searchY
PSearch within resultsY
PLimit results by dates and/or document typesY
PDisplay highlighted search termsY
PDisplay snippet -- search term in contextN
PRelevance sortingN
PSave searchesY
PDownload PDFY
PDownload HTMLN
PPrint pageY
PPrint full documentY
PExport citationsY
PAnnotation toolsN
PCross-product searchingY
PRestrictions on useY (terms in license agreements)
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Publisher / DistributorProQuest LLC
Address789 E. Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
Related product(s) ProQuest Historical Newspapers
CRL Profile of Publisher
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PSubscription optionY
PPurchase optionY
PMultiple year payments optionN
PHosting chargesY
PList of purchasers availableN
PSample license availableY
PMARC records purchase feeN
PPrice tier basisY (FTE based)
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