Newspapers and other review sources

The resources listed below are a selection of options for where you might be able to find theatrical reviews. Reviews can also often be found in book collections and journal articles and you will need to be creative in your searching.  

Important things to keep in mind when searching newspapers:

  • Look carefully at their descriptions to help you identify coverage date ranges.  
  • When searching in the databases it helps to specify date ranges, especially if you are searching a historical newspaper. So for example if you are looking for a review of a specific play in the Historical New York Times, you should limit the date range to the year in which the play opened to ensure you get useful articles rather than every article related to that play that has been published in the over 200 years of records they have available. 
  •  When searching historical newspapers be aware of the language you are using. The algorithms search for words in the newspaper, rather than concepts, so using modern terminology for something from the 1800s may not work. 

 Newspapers & Reviews

  ABI/INFORM Complete (ProQuest)
Provides access to scholarly journals, dissertations, working papers, key business and economics periodicals, and country-and industry-focused reports.

  African American Newspapers: The 19th Century (Accessible Archives)
Provides access to the major 19th century African American newspapers including The Christian Recorder (1861-1902), Freedom's Journal (1827-1829), The North Star (1847-1851), and Frederick Douglass' Paper (1851-1863).

  America’s Historical Newspapers (Readex)
Includes full-text of selected early American newspapers published between 1690 and 1922. Villanova University has access to series 1 through 5 and 7.

  British Periodicals (ProQuest)
Provides access to British periodicals ranging from the 17th through the early 20th centuries with the majority of content from the 19th century. Covers a broad range of topics.

  Burney Collection Newspapers: Seventeenth-Eighteenth Century (Gale)
Explore the early history of the English newspaper. Learn about the English Civil War, the Restoration and 18th century political and cultural developments.“The newspapers, pamphlets, and books gathered by the Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817) represent the largest and most comprehensive collection of early English news media. The present digital collection, that helps chart the development of the concept of ‘news’ and ‘newspapers’ and the “free press,” totals almost 1 million pages and contains approximately 1,270 titles. Many of the Burney newspapers are well known, but many pamphlets and broadsides also included have remained largely hidden. Newly digitized, all Burney treasures are now fully text-searchable.

  Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective (Accessible Archives)
Provides access to Northern and Southern newspapers published during the American Civil War. Includes news coverage, eye-witness accounts, official reports of battles, editorials, advertisements, biographies, battlefield maps, and illustrations.

  Ethnic NewsWatch (ProQuest)
Offers access to full-text articles from newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press. While most of the content is in English, significant Spanish and other language content is included. Coverage for most newspapers and magazines goes back to the early 1990s, but earlier content is also available.

  Gale Primary Sources
Provides a cross-searching platform for locally available Gale primary source collections: Times Digital Archive 1785-1985; 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers; 19th Century UK Periodicals; Eighteenth Century Collections Online; The Making of the Modern World; Sabin Americana; U.S. Declassified Documents Online.

  Hathi Trust Digital Library
Provides full-text access to digital copies of books, pamphlets, and journals available in the public domain. Most of the freely available texts are pre-1923 imprints and government documents. Full-text access to all other publications is limited to identified member institutions. The collection largely mirrors the contents of Google Books, which makes pdf files of works from the public domain freely available.

  New York Times: 1851- (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Provides full-text access to the complete New York Times archive except for the most current three years. Use Nexis-Uni or ABI/INFORM for access to current content.

  Lexis Nexis Academic
Now Nexis Uni. Provides full-text access to national and international newspaper and magazine articles and news transcripts, business, company, and industry information in the U.S. and abroad, and legal documents, including U.S. Federal and State court cases, and law reviews. Coverage varies.
LexisNexis online services and the materials contained therein are under copyright by LexisNexis. All rights reserved. No part of these Services may be used except for research purposes, and the Services may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the LexisNexis Academic Library Solutions. Materials retrieved from the Services may not be duplicated in hard copy or machine-readable form without the prior written authorization of LexisNexis Academic & Library Solutions, except that limited reproduction of output is permitted solely for individual use by the Authorized User or internal distribution within the Subscribing Institution in accordance with the terms of this Agreement unless further limited or prohibited by the Copyright Act of 1976. Under no circumstances may the Materials or any portion thereof be used to create derivative products or services.

  Literature Criticism from 1400-1800 (Gale)
Turn to this authoritative international resource for complete critical coverage of the careers and works of the greatest writers and thinkers of the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Restoration eras. Detailed entries offer students and other researchers access to a variety of important interpretations of historical periods, literary trends and topics, and the achievements of noteworthy individuals. Provides full-text or excerpted criticism reproduced from books, magazines, literary reviews, newspapers and scholarly journals.

  Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism (Gale)
Coverage includes profiles of literary figures who died between 1800 and 1899 by providing full-text or excerpted criticism taken from books, magazines, literary reviews, newspapers and scholarly journals. Reprints also available from Literature Resource Center.

  Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals (Gale)
Features digital access to a selection of 19th century British magazines on women, children, leisure and sport, humor, anthropology, travel, missionaries, and colonies.

  North American Theatre Online (Alexander Street Press)
Presents a comprehensive reference work on North American theater, covering authors, plays, theaters, production companies, and major productions from Colonial times to the present. Includes the full text of major reference works; also contains images of playbills, posters, photographs, and other ephemera.

  Pennsylvania Newspaper Record: Delaware County (Accessible Archives)
Offers access to a small collection of 19th century Delaware County newspapers.

  Philadelphia Inquirer, 1981- (NewsBank)
Provides full-text access to articles published since 1981. Does not include ads, calendar listings, horoscopes, sports statistics, stock tables, weather forecasts, and puzzles.

  ProQuest U.S. Newsstream
Provides access to national, regional, and local newspapers as well as newswires, blogs, and news sites. Includes current access to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.

  Project Muse
Provides full-text access to books and journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Includes all materials published by Johns Hopkins University Press; all other content comes from university presses and scholarly societies.

  Readers' Guide Retrospective: 1890-1982 (EBSCO)
Provides indexing for articles from general interest and popular magazines. Covers 1890 through 1982. Subject coverage includes arts, business, education, entertainment, film & television, health & medicine, home & garden, literature, current events, popular & classical music, politics, popular culture, religion, science, sports & fitness, and transportation & travel.

  The Times Digital Archive 1785-2012 (Gale)
Provides a full-text, full-image, fully searchable facsimile of every page of the Times of London from its inception through about five years ago. The Times is the world's oldest daily newspaper in continuous publication.

  Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism
Selected volumes now available online in Literature Resource Center (Gale)

  World Shakespeare Bibliography Online (Johns Hopkins)
Provides annotated entries for all important books, articles, book reviews, as well as theatrical productions, reviews of productions and other material related to Shakespeare published or produced from 1960 to the present, with coverage continuing to extend forward and backward in time.