Scholar challenge creates accessible database of Canada’s first newspapers

In an effort to make historical newspapers more accessible, the “Canada’s Early Women Writers” (CEWW) project, in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada, launched a scholar challenge to create a searchable database of Canada’s first newspapers.

The CEWW project, led by Simon Fraser University professor Dr. Carole Gerson, focuses on the literary works of Canadian women writers before 1950. In recognition of the importance of historical newspapers in documenting women’s writing and other aspects of Canadian culture, the project sought to create a database of early Canadian newspapers that would be more easily searchable and accessible.

The Database

The result of the scholar challenge is the “Canadian Historical Newspapers Collection,” which includes over 20,000 pages of newspapers from 47 publications, spanning the years 1800 to 1849. The collection features both English and French-language newspapers, representing different regions and communities across Canada.

The collection is unique in that it includes not only major newspapers of the time, but also lesser-known publications that provide valuable insights into the social, cultural, and political contexts of the era. The database is searchable by keyword, date, publication, and region, making it a valuable resource for scholars, students, and anyone interested in Canadian history.


The creation of the Canadian Historical Newspapers Collection has had a significant impact on the study of Canadian history and culture. Scholars now have access to a wealth of primary source material that was previously difficult to access and search. In addition to its scholarly impact, the collection has also had broader cultural significance. The database has made it possible for Canadians to explore their country’s history in new and exciting ways.


The creation of the Canadian Historical Newspapers Collection is a testament to the power of collaboration and the importance of preserving and making accessible our cultural heritage. Thanks to the efforts of the CEWW project and its collaborators, scholars and the public now have a unique resource that offers valuable insights into the early history of Canada and its people.

Leave a Reply