Media Resource

Muslim American Keywords for Chronicling America

Man reading newspaper aloud in foreground. Woman listening in background.
Photo caption

LC-DIG-fsa-8d33590 (digital file from original neg.) LC-USW3-038320-E (b&w film nitrate neg.), Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

This resource is part of EDSITEment’s Race and Ethnicity Keyword Thesaurus for Chronicling America. Here you will find historically accurate keywords that may help in using the Chronicling America historic newspaper database to research topics in Muslim American history.  

We also offer a comprehensive introduction to working with historic newspapers in our teacher’s guide Chronicling America: History’s First Draft

Mahometan

Related Terms: Muslim, Mussulman, Mohammedan, Moslem 

Definition: This term refers to followers of Islam but never used among Muslims. 

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": This term was derived from the Arabic name for the founder of Islam, Muhammad. While it was once a common designation for a Muslim person, it is now considered derogatory. 

Examples from Chronicling America

The Lafayette Gazette (Lafayette, La.), 26 Aug. 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Mahometan" in Newspaper

New-York Tribune (New York [N.Y.]), 18 Sept. 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Mahometan" in Newspaper

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it":

"Manometan" in The Alexandria Herald (Alexandria [Va.]), 14 May 1823. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Manometan" in Newspaper
"Manometan" in Newspaper Text

 

"Mabometan" in The Jennings Daily Record (Jennings, La.), 17 Sept. 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Mabometan" in Newspaper
"Mabometan" in Newspaper Text
Moslem

Related Terms: Muslim, Musselman, Mohammedan, Mahometan 

Definition: This term refers to a follower of Islam. 

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": Up to the middle of the twentieth century, this was the preferred spelling of “Muslim.” 

Examples from Chronicling America: 

The Key West Citizen (Key West, Fla.), 24 Dec. 1954. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Moslem" in Newspaper

Virginia Argus (Richmond, Va.), 17 Sept. 1812. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Moslem" in Newspaper

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it":

"Moslam" in The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), 06 May 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Moslam" in Newspaper
"Moslam" in Newspaper Text

"Moslom" in The Red Cloud Chief (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.), 10 July 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Moslom" in Newspaper
"Moslom" in Newspaper Text
Mussulman

Related Terms: Muslim, Mahometan, Moslem, Mohammedan

Definition: Stemming from the Persian “Musulmān,” as a modification of the Arabic “Muslim,” this term is an archaic word for a Muslim person. 

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": Until the mid-eighteenth century, the word “Muslim” was rarely used, and rather, the words “Moslem” and “Mussulman,” were more commonly used until the 1940s. During the nineteenth century, “Mussulman” was the preferred term. 

Examples from Chronicling America: 

Constitutional Whig (Richmond, Va.), 13 Oct. 1826. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Mussulman" in Newspaper

Lincoln County Leader (Toledo, Lincoln County, Or.), 02 Feb. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Mussulman" in Newspaper

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it":

"Mussalman" in St. Croix Avis (Christiansted, St. Croix [V.I.]), 06 June 1865. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Mussalman" in Newspaper
"Mussalman" in Newspaper Text

"Mussulmon" in The Marlboro Democrat (Bennettsville, S.C.), 10 June 1885. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Mussulmon" in Newspaper
"Mussulmon" in Newspaper Text