Indiana State Library 
Vincennes Newspapers
Database 1804-1827

The Indiana Newspaper Indexes have moved to Indiana Legacy.

Please click here to search the Indexes.

About the Index

This index covers the years 1804-1827, and includes the earliest newspapers published in the state of Indiana. The index was created as a handwritten index on slips of paper by staff within the Indiana State Library, who indexed the following Vincennes newspapers:

  • Indiana Gazette (1804-1806)
  • Western Sun (1807-1827)

The database is by no means complete or exhaustive, with just over 24,000 entries. Many of these entries provide multiple listings, especially for advertisements of estate sales, tax lists, and similar activities. Unlike the other 19th century newspaper indexes, this particular index does not have good coverage of deaths and marriages. It includes entries for many state and national events, for which these newspapers would have been the primary source of information for people in Indiana, as well as entries for articles about practical matters such as farming. The entries are very short, and often do not provide a great deal of information about the type of article you will find.

NOT ALL ENTRIES HAVE BEEN PROOFREAD. There may be errors in inputting the dates, names, and other items from the handwritten slilps. Rather than wait until the entire database has been proofread, we have chosen to make all items available, with the caveat that there are mistakes!

General Searching Instructions

Type in the name of the person you are seeking, or the broad subject heading you want. You can also search for particular towns or counties outside Indianapolis. If you are looking for the name of a person, you may enter the first and last names in any order. Do not use AND to link your search terms; accident railroad will find all entries with both accident and railroad in the entry.

Sample searches:

When you are finished typing the name, be sure to click the "Start Search" button. If you do not, you will receive an error message.

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Common questions asked

 How do I find a specific person?

Begin by searching for the first and last names of the person. Sometimes, the first names are abbreviated: William may be entered as Wm., James may be entered as Jas., and so forth. Very often, only initials were provided for first and middle names.

If you can't find the name you are looking for on the first try, try entering an abbreviated version of the name or search just on the last name. Remember, newspapers in the 1800s did not provide obituaries or death notices for everyone who passed away; a small portion of those who died were noted in the newspapers.

How do I find women's names?

The Vincennes Newspaper Index includes women vary rarely. Some are listed under their own names (i.e. Mary Smith). Others are listed only under the names of their husbands (i.e. Mrs. W. H. H. Smith). Unfortunately, in some cases the woman is listed only as Mrs. Smith!

How do I find African-Americans?

This index was originally created during the late 1800s and early 1900s, indexing papers from the early 1800s. Some phrases to use include negroes, slavery, and colonization which refers to the movement to have African-Americans returned to Africa.

Can I search by year?

Yes. You can input the year in addition to any names or phrases that you would like to find.

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Understanding Your Search Results

Your results will be retrieved in the order in which they were entered into the database. This is not always a straight alphabetical order; you will need to view all entries to make sure that you did not overlook one.

Each entry will show the name of the person or the subject heading, the abbreviated name of the newspaper in which the article was located , the date of the article, and the page and column number for the article. For example:


Article Citation:

Wabash & Miami Canal / June 5, 1824. v. 15, no. 17. p. 3, c. 1-2

In this case, the article is about the Wabash and Miami Canal, from the June 5, 1824 edition of the Western Sun, which is volume 15, number 17. The article can be found on page 3, in columns 1 and 2.

Other citations may not be as straightforward, as they have not been proofread yet. An example would be:


Article Citation:

Apprentice Printing - Elihu Stout. Sept. 17, 1825. v. 16, no. 31. p. 3, c. 3 Sept. 24, 1825. v. 16, no. 32. p. 2, c. 4 Oct. 1, 1825. v. 16, no. 33. p. 3, c. 4 Oct. 8, 1825. v. 16, no. 34. p. 4, c. 3

Here, an article or advertisement has been placed by Elihu Stout for a printing apprentice in several newspaper issues, including the Sept. 17, 1825, the Sept. 24, 1825, the Oct. 1, 1825, and the Oct. 8, 1825. Following each date is the volume and number of the edition, then the page and column numbers of the item.

Many of the people indexed have very short articles; the obituaries and death notices may not include the types of information commonly found in today's newspapers.

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Obtaining Copies of Articles

Once you have a citation, you can locate the articles in the newspaper.  The Indiana State Library's Newspaper Collection has all of the necessary issues available on microfilm, for use within the library or available via interlibrary loan through your local library.

If there is a full citation (name of paper, date of paper, page, and column number), you may also request  a photocopy of the article through our Ask a Librarian service.  You may view our current photocopy cost list to determine the charges for your photocopies.  Please allow ten working days for response requests.