Unlocking New Potential for Learning and Research

The range of themes covered throughout the publication of the Telegraph make the digital archive an extremely versatile research resource. Its significance is especially high in the following subject areas:

• History

The Telegraph’s coverage of all of the news of the day, including major global events and more low-key stories of everyday life, makes it an unrivalled source for social, cultural and political history.

The Telegraph reports the first human landing on the moon in July 1969 – a story which made front page news. By contrast, the Times made reference to its ‘moon picture’ on Page 7, while the Daily Mail’s coverage included a short article.

• Military History & War Studies

Renowned for its special correspondents, the paper boasts contributions from Winston Churchill (who sent a series of war reports while serving with the British Forces in India in 1897), Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett (writing from Gallipoli in 1915) and Clare Hollingworth (one of the first women war correspondents during the Second World War). These detailed accounts offer users a first-hand insight into events; an important contrast to the factual accounts of the other major dailies such as the Times.

One of Churchill’s war reports from India; 6 November 1897.

• Women’s Studies

The newspaper produced a dedicated women’s page from the 1890s, entitled ‘Page for Women’. Designed to cater to all of the important aspects of life for the ‘New Woman’ of the late-nineteenth century, the page featured clean-lined drawings showing the latest fashions, often influenced from the continent. In 1897, the Telegraph recruited Mary Frances Billington, co-founder of the Society for Women Journalists, to oversee the page, covering themes such as the women’s work, seasonal flowers and other ‘Topics of the Hour’.

A typical ‘Page for Women’; 20 January 1906

• Politics and International Relations

In addition to its daily domestic political coverage, the Telegraph was particularly keen to give a full account of the international picture. The ‘Eastern Question’, the build up to the First and Second World Wars, and the Cold War are just a few examples of the international affairs which featured prominently in the publication. Originally liberal-leaning in its political outlook, the newspaper became more sympathetic to the imperialistic policies of the Conservative government following the appointment of Edwin Arnold as editor in 1873. The Times was not as committed to the policies of the Empire for at least another decade, while the Daily Mail was more overtly ‘imperialistic’, as the ‘Voice of Empire’ in London journalism. 

A report on the ‘Crisis in the East’, collating a series of reports from across Europe during a tumultuous time; 26 April 1886.

• Business Studies

Featuring a dedicated business section, originally known as the ‘City’ pages, the Telegraph reported all the significant business stories of the day. Boardroom battles and takeover bids were considered such significant news that they were originally positioned towards the front of the newspaper, a trend which continued into the publication of the Sunday Telegraph from 1961.

The ‘Currencies’ section of the Business pages; a fundamental part of the newspaper’s coverage of the money markets.

• Media Studies

Originally a four-page newspaper filled with densely-populated columns of tiny newsprint, the Telegraph has undergone considerable design alterations during its lifetime. Illustrations slowly permeated into the text-heavy copy, beginning with its pioneering use of the artistic impression in 1881 to help identify a murderer. From 1939, news stories replaced advertisements on the front page, often accompanied by striking imagery. Inside the newspaper, sections such as Business and Sport have become more distinct over the years, as the Telegraph has become the publication we recognise today. The Telegraph is therefore a rich resource for studying the evolution of the press.

The changing face of the Telegraph: front covers from (left to right) 1888, 1982 and 1998


• Literature

The newspaper had a dedicated literature page, which reviewed current books and looked ahead to forthcoming releases. Following the success of Rudyard Kipling’s despatches during the First World War, the Telegraph serialised several books on the conflict. This ensured that the newspaper maintained a strong association with literature, which continued well into the twentieth century; the reviews of renowned author John Betjeman can be found from 1951. From 1994, an ‘Arts & Books’ supplement accompanied the main newspaper. The reviews within can be cross-searched with the Times Literary Supplement using Gale Artemis: Primary Sources, giving users a balanced view on the key publications of the day.

The Telegraph’s ‘Current Literature’ section from 1907, which reviewed contributions to the field from 1906.2 January 1907.

• Family History

As with many of the national dailies, the Telegraph featured a Births, Deaths and Marriages column. Fully searchable in The Telegraph Historical Archive, these columns potentially provide researchers of family history with a key window into their past.

The ‘Announcements’ page listed all of the day’s births, deaths and marriages.

• Science & Technology

The Telegraph has always taken a keen interest in the latest developments in the field of science and technology. Its embracing of new technology was such that it was able to receive exclusive reports from the Atlantic by wireless telegraph from Captain Henry Kendall, who reported the arrest of wife-murderer Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen in 1910. In addition to this one-off content, the newspaper often included a detailed ‘Science Notes’ column, reporting recent innovations. In 1994, the Telegraph became the first newspaper to publish online.

‘London speaks to Geneva’: the Telegraph reports a long-distance telephone call from the League of Nations Conference in Geneva to the UK; 12 December 1920.

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