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Searching The Gateway to Oklahoma History

The Gateway to Oklahoma History (the above link), an Oklahoma Historical Society project, is the largest repository of Oklahoma newspapers online. The database covers hundreds of thousands of newspaper pages dating from the 1840s to the 1920s.

Basic Search

The below image shows the Basic Search screen. Basic search options are limited to searching the full text, metadata, title, subject or creator of a page:

Basic Search Screen for the Gateway to Oklahoma History









Advanced Search

To access the advanced searching feature, scroll down from the Basic Search page and click on the down caret of the "search" box and select the "Advanced Search" feature (you could also select "Guided Search" or "Proximity Search").

Advanced Search Screen











Below is an Advanced Search example looking for articles on Oklahoma in the Pauls Valley Democrat:  Search for "Oklahoma" as the "Subject," then scroll down to the "Use Smart Filters" and select the Pauls Valley Democrat" from the "Collection" filter. 

Advanced Search Screen Filtering for Oklahoma as a SubjectExample of "Smart Filters" by the Collection (Pauls Valley Democrat)















Below are the first two newspaper issues of the search results. Notice that the search results are for the Pauls Valley Sentinel, even though the search was for articles in the Pauls Valley Democrat. As can happen in the history of a newspaper, the Pauls Valley Sentinel, which ran from 1904-1906, was replaced by the Pauls Valley Democrat in September 1906:

Sample Results











Below is the initial display of the first page of the top article from Pauls Valley Sentinel, June 21, 1906:


Initial Display of Pauls Valley Sentinel (June 21,1906)









Once you have "opened" a document, the "Magnify First Page" feature can be used to enlarge the newspaper page. This feature is on the left-hand side of the page halfway down. 

Magnify the Page feature










General Tips for Using The Gateway to Oklahoma

  1. A link to the page containing a Glossary of terms and descriptions of the Navigational icons can be found by clicking on the Help link in the upper right corner of the page, or by clicking on the following link: Glossary.
  2. Upper case letters are ignored. For example: Oklahoma versus oklahoma are treated the same.
  3. Searched terms may not necessarily appear in yellow highlight on the first search results page. You may need to scroll through several pages of the newspaper issue before seeing a highlighted search term.
  4. Use historically pertinent terms and phrases rather than modern words used today. For example, consider using Great War instead of World War I or World War One for articles dealing with the First World War prior to 1939, or you might want to use the word suffrage instead of voting rights for articles dealing with voting rights in the early 20th century. Familiarizing yourself with the terminology of the period that you are researching can be very helpful. The John Vaughan Library reference collection contains a number of useful publications for this purpose. Below are some examples of dictionaries that can help identify period and regional terminology.
    • Dictionary of American Regional English / 6 vols. (Ref. PE 2843 .D52)
    • Dictionary of the American West (Ref. PE 2970 .W4B5)
    • Happy Trails: A Dictionary of Western Expressions (Ref. PE 2970 .W4H46)
    • The Language of the Mormon Pioneers (Ref. PE 2970 .W4G58)
    • Western Words: A Dictionary of the American West ((Ref. PE 2970 .W4A3)
    • Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions (Ref. PE 2926 .H46)

Video Tutorial

The following video tutorial (below) provides detailed information on how to use the advanced search features, including searching by location and tips on viewing the search results: The Gateway to Oklahoma History video tutorial.