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Indiana County Pennsylvania Local History Research

This guide is designed for individuals who are interested in investigating topics related to the history of Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

How Do I Get Started with Indiana County Local History Research?

Doing local historical research involves using both secondary and primary sources. Primary sources are essential to local history research, and get most of the attention. Secondary sources however, are often better places to being research because they provide the context necessary to understand the significance of your primary sources.  The following secondary sources related to the history of Indiana County, Pa. are excellent places to begin your research.

  • Stephenson, C.  (1978).   Indiana County 175th Anniversary History, Vol. 1.  Indiana, PA:  The A.G. Halldin Publishing Company.  5 vol.   IUP Libraries. F157.I3 S783 Ask at the Reference Desk and in Special Collections. 

  • Stewart, J.T. (1913). Indiana County Pennsylvania: Her People, Past and Present.  Vol. 1.  Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co.  Internet Archive. 

  • Wood, K. & MacGregor.  (2002).  Images of America:  Indiana, Pennsylvania.  Charleston, SC:  Arcadia. IUP Libraries Call No. F159.I39 W66 2002

Is There a Way to Get Electronic Access to Indiana County Local Newspapers?

Local newspapers can offer glimpses of the past not available in more general works. Indiana county historical newspapers can be searched via the Access Newspaper database.

Are there any Particularly Good Collections of Indiana County related Materials?

The following are library and historical society collections that are particularly useful for researchers interested in the history of Indiana, Pa. 

IUP Special Collections and Archives Department

Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County

How do I Find Out What Topics were Covered in the Indiana County Heritage Journal?

Indiana County Heritage Journal was published by the Historical & Genealogical Society of Indiana County. Its articles were written by local historians, including IUP history professors and can be excellent starting points for further study. The link below provides access to the table of contents of each of its issues. 

Do You Have Advice for Searching Old Newspapers?

Advice from Helpful Tips for Researching in Chronicling America helpfultipsforresearchingchroniclingamerica/

Search newspaper pages to retrieve article level information on:

  • particular people, proper names, family names, and businesses

  • particular cities, towns, and communities

  • specific historical events and general news of the time

  • illustrations, advertisements, cartoons, and photos

  • and a vast array of topics like social issues, war, crime, technology and progress, education, labor, fashion, material culture, community history, etc.

When selecting search terms remember to:

  • use historically used terms rather than the modern terms used today, such as the Great War instead of World War One as it is called today

  • try variations on spelling

  • enter words in order they are most likely to occur

Are There Any Good Library Databases for Historical Articles Related to Indiana and Western Pennsylvania History?

The following databases are good sources of secondary research on American History.

  • America: History and Life is the most comprehensive   database of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. 

  • JSTOR is a wonderful source of scholarly articles and ebooks on many subjects, including the history of western Pennsylvania.    

  • Academic Search Ultimate is a general database that allows you to access lots of full-text of scholarly and popular articles.  

  • A complete list of databases available to IUP Library users is available from the Databases Page. 


How do I find information on mining towns in Indiana County?

The Coal Culture Project offers access to images, text, and an extensive bibliography related to the history of coal towns in the Indiana County area.  Visit this site at: