Recently I found a great website that is a product of the collaboration between journalists and scholars. Stanford University’s Rural West Initiative is a goldmine of credible research information for writers of historical fiction about the American West. According to the site’s home page,
“The Rural West Initiative aims to create a unique collaboration between journalists and scholars to investigate the forces transforming the rural west. We are generating reports and stories ourselves and will commission more from reporters, scholars, researchers, and students across the West. Our work uses extensive data visualization as well as text, video, and still photography to tell our stories.”
One of the links I found useful is the interactive map of the growth and decline of U. S. newspapers. So if you are wondering what your historical American characters were reading as early as 1690, you can find out at this site.