Finding historical newspapers and their locations

Once in a while we need to get off our butts and get to the archives.  I was in the University of Toronto's Robarts Library yesterday and had the blissful feeling of going through actual real documents, coming out covered with the detritus of over 100 years of deteriorating paper, glue and leather bindings. But… Continue reading Finding historical newspapers and their locations

The dangers of relying upon scanned text searches

With all of the on-line documents out there, it is tempting to avoid the sitting-in-a-library-and-reading-miles-of-microfilms approach to newspaper research, and replace it with using text searches on digital newspapers, texts and other scanned material. There is some merit to that: saves time, microfilms readers can be annoying to use, and you can do your research… Continue reading The dangers of relying upon scanned text searches


Okay, so the corrections on the newspaper post have begun already.  Apparently the "New Brunswick"newspaper links I received (and reproduced) are for the city in New Jersey, not the province in Canada.I'll fix them soon.

Digital newspaper databases–first try

I have been attempting to compile a list of online searchable digital newspaper databases. It is more difficult than you may think. What follows is the first draft, I suppose, of the results.  Most of this is English language material (except the general clearing house databases, many of which contain links to other language papers).… Continue reading Digital newspaper databases–first try

Booze is a drug, for my intents and purposes.

I'm not going to get into this topic of alcohol versus drugs as far as classification.  At least not yet. I just wanted to do a little self promotion.  My book, Try to Control Yourself: The Regulation of Drinking in Post-Prohibition Ontario, 1927-1944  has just been released. The best place to order it is directly… Continue reading Booze is a drug, for my intents and purposes.

Why do pharmacists control access to certain drugs?

I had a student who is diabetic come to speak to me today, and in the meandering way conversations I get into with students go (usually my fault), she ended up asking the rhetorical question "why do I have to get my insulin from a pharmacist?" It is a good question.  As I noted in… Continue reading Why do pharmacists control access to certain drugs?

Where did the dangers of drugs come from?

In the next little while I'll be musing on the origins of the idea that drugs, and especially drug addiction, is a problem.  there has been a lot of work on this, so I am going over very charted territory. My concern is that the work on the idea of the "discovery of addiction" as… Continue reading Where did the dangers of drugs come from?

Why the harsh new criminalization is dumb

I was recently asked why the federal Conservatives are so hell bent on pushing criminal legislation that includes 1980s era penalties for selling drugs.  More specifically, the new legislation will make mandatory minimum sentences for possession of moderate amounts of drugs like marijuana.  I guess having six plants makes you a trafficker, and there is… Continue reading Why the harsh new criminalization is dumb