A dividend is money paid by a corporation to its shareholders out of corporate profits.
Public company dividends are generally announced in press releases and then reported on the business newswires. You can search back in a database of business news to find these articles.
For a better view of the big picture, public company dividends are reported in Moody's Annual Dividend Record, CCH's Capital Changes Reporter and Standard & Poor's Weekly Dividend Record.
You can also look up dividend information for a particular company on Factiva or Lexis (in the "Quotes" library).
For custom reports, you can contact the Center for Research in Securities Prices (Custom@crsp.ChicagoBooth.edu or 312-263-6400 select #5). Subscribers can search the database directly.