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Primary Source Resources  

Last Updated: Aug 26, 2013 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts
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Primary Source Resources

  • 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers
    Gathered by Reverend Charles Burney, 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers is a collection of the newspapers and news pamphlets primarily published in London, with some English provincial, Irish and Scottish papers, and examples from the American colonies. The original Burney volumes are now in a poor physical state and only available through restricted use.
  • 19th Century British Pamphlets (within JSTOR)
    Pamphlets were an important means of public debate in the 19th century, covering key political, social, technological, and environmental issues. This collection of significant British 19th-century pamphlets held in seven UK research libraries includes the Knowsley Pamphlet Collection; the Cowen Tracts (personal collection of Joseph Cowen, Member of Parliament and social reformer); the Hume Tracts (personal collection of Joseph Hume, Radical Member of Parliament); Earl Grey Pamphlets; Natio
  • 19th Century Masterfile
    Featuring an integrated and enhanced version of Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1906) as its centerpiece, 19th Century Masterfile is rounded out by a number of other general and publication-specific indexes to the contents of nineteenth-century journals, newspapers, and books. The improved electronic version of Poole's brings together essential title and date information not included in the print edition and links it with the over 400,000 citations, providing more comprehen
  • 19th Century UK Periodicals
    This database contains 1.2 million pages of periodicals published in Great Britain from 1800-1900. It includes publications on women, children, leisure and sport, and humor.
  • African-American Newspapers, 1827-1998
    African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. This unique collection features papers from more than 35 states—including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles.
  • Alt-Press Watch
    Full-text database of 200 selected newspapers, magazines, and journals of the alternative and independent press.
  • America's Historical Imprints
    Searchable monographs, pamphlets, broadsides, government documents and ephemera enable researchers to explore America's distant and not so distant past. Available here: Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800; Early American Imprints, Series I: Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1670-1800; Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819; Early American Imprints, Series II: Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1801-1819.
  • American Memory
    Multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library of Congress's Americana collections.
  • American Periodicals Series Online (1740 to 1940)
    Digital images of historically significant American periodicals from 1740 to 1900, including literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines, and popular magazines. All typography, drawings, graphic elements, and article layouts appear exactly as originally published. Allows searching by article type (e.g., letter, obituary, poetry, recipe, ad, editorial cartoon, review).
  • American Presidency Project
    A broad collection of the most significant documents of the presidency. Search here for public papers, State of the Union addresses, inaugural addresses, press conferences, executive orders, proclamations, signing statements, debates, convention speeches, and much more.
  • Archive Finder  
    Archive Finder consists of ArchivesUSA and NIDS UK/Ireland. It describes over 206,200 collections of primary source material housed in thousands of repositories across the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  • Archives Unbound
    Archives Unbound presents topically-focused digital collections of historical documents that support the research and study needs of scholars and students at the college and university level. Collections in Archives Unbound cover a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to World War II to twentieth-century political history.
  • Army Heritage Collection Online
    The Digital Documents portion accesses materials in the collections of the U.S. Army Military History Institute, including 6,000 Civil War photographs, transcripts from the Senior Officer Oral History Program, audio and motion picture footage to include material from the Army Pictorial Service, Signal Corps, U.S. Army training and doctrine films, and much more.
  • ARTstor
    Comprehensive digital library containing images of artworks, photographs, architecture, decorative arts, rare books, and items from popular culture. Images may be viewed live in ARTstor or offline in ARTstor's downloadable image viewer.
  • Avalon Project
    Full-text key historic documents including treaties and serials on topics such as U.S. Foreign Relations.
  • British History Online
    A "digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles."
  • British Periodicals
    Facsimile page images and searchable full text for nearly 500 British periodicals published from the 17th through the early 20th centuries. Topics covered include literature, philosophy, history, science, the fine arts, archaeology, architecture, and the social sciences.
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
    Includes a newspaper title directory (1690 - present) and searchable digitized images of selected local and regional newspapers (1880- 1922).
  • Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective
    Fulltext collection of selected, Civil War era articles from the Charleston Mercury, the New York Herald, and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.
  • Colonial State Papers
    This collection represents thousands of papers that were presented to the Privy Council and the Board of Trade between 1574-1757, and that relate to the governance of, and activities in, the American, Canadian and West Indian colonies of England. Also includes the Calendar of State Papers Colonial.
  • Declassified Documents
    Provides access to post- World War II papers from the CIA, the FBI and many other agencies, which have been gathered from presidential libraries. Major domestic and international events of the post-World War II world are covered, including the Cold War, Vietnam, foreign policy shifts, and the civil rights movement. Documents display in a digital facsimile format or ASCII text.
  • Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts
    Full-text collection of theological writings, biblical commentaries, confessional documents and polemical treatises written by more than 300 Protestant authors.
  • Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation
    Full-text collection of 16th- and 17th-century Catholic papal and synodal decrees, catechisms and inquisitorial manuals, biblical commentaries, theological treatises and systems, liturgical writings, saints' lives and devotional works.
  • Digital National Security Archive
    A full-text database of 35 core collections of primary documents acquired by the George Washington University based National Security Archive. The collection has been acquired through extensive use of FOIA. Each core collection is focused on one topic, e.g. Iran-Contra, Terrorism and U.S. Policy. Each topical collection includes diverse policy documents supplemented by contextual and reference material on chronology, glossary and bibliography.
  • Digital Public Library of America
    An open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources from American libraries, universities, archives, and museums.
  • Discovering American Women's History
    This database provides access to digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States. These diverse collections range from Ancestral Pueblo pottery to Katrina Thomas's photographs of ethnic weddings from the late 20th century.
  • Early American Imprints (Series I): Evans, 1639-1800  
    Based on the Evans American Bibliography, this collection contains the full text of all known existing books, pamphlets and broadsides printed in the United States or in the British American colonies from 1639 through 1800. It provides a foundation for research in early American history, literature, philosophy, religion, politics and nearly every aspect of life in early America.
  • Early American Imprints (Series II): Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819
    Provides full-text access to the 36,000 American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the first nineteen years of the 19th century. In addition to books, pamphlets and broadsides, this collection features many state papers and government materials, including published reports; presidential letters and messages; congressional, state aand government materials, including published reports; presidential letters and messages; congressional, state and territorial resolutions.
  • Early American Newspapers
    Offers more than 700 historical American newspapers from 23 states and the District of Columbia printed between 1690 and 1876. Focusing largely on the 18th century, Series 1 is based on Clarence S. Brigham's "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820" and other authoritative bibliographies.
  • Early Americas Digital Archive
    The Early Americas Digital Archive is a collection of electronic texts and links to texts originally written in or about the Americas from 1492 to approximately 1820.
  • Early English Books Online (EEBO)  
    Reproduces books, pamphlets, and broadsides on a variety of topics, created from 1475 to 1700.
  • Early republic: critical editions on the founding of the United States
    Searchable database of primary material documenting the actions, debates, and thoughts of the First Federal Congress and its members; includes the full text of the Documentary history of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America.
  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)  
    Digital reproductions of every page of significant English- and foreign-language titles printed in Great Britain during the 18th century, along with thousands of important works from the Americas and elsewhere. Searches the full text of books, pamphlets, essays, and other non-periodical materials including the complete works of major 18th-century writers.
  • Ethnic News Watch. 1990-
    Full-text collection of the newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press.
  • Europeana
    Online access to paintings, music, films and books from Europe's galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
  • Financial Times Historical Archive
    The Financial Times Historical Archive is the complete searchable facsimile run of the world's most authoritative daily business newspaper. An essential tool for researching public affairs, and economic and financial history of the last 120 years.
  • Financial Times Historical Archive
    The Financial Times Historical Archive is the complete searchable facsimile run of the world's most authoritative daily business newspaper. Every article and advertisement ever printed in the paper, since it was first published in 1888, can be searched and browsed individually and page by page. This is an essential, comprehensive and unbiased research tool for everyone studying public affairs, and economic and financial history of the last 120 years.
  • Flickr Commons
    Photos from libraries, museums, and archives around the world. Many do not have use restrictions.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1974 - 1996
    Includes full-text translations of foreign radio and television broadcasts as well as selected foreign news, periodical articles and government statements. Search by geographic region, article type or publication title. Browse "Events" to see chronological coverage of topics of interest. Coverage is continued by the World News Connection database.
  • Gale NewsVault
    Provides cross-searching capabilities for several Gale digital collections, including 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers, 19th Century British Library Newspapers, 19th Century UK Periodicals, Illustrated London News Historical Archive 1842-2003, Times Digital Archive 1785-1985, Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive 1902-2006, Picture Post Historical Archive 1938-1957.
  • Gallica
    Digital library of French and francophone culture maintained by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Contains electronic texts, images, maps, animation, and sound files of French and other publications in history, literature, science, philosophy, law, economics, and political science. Almost all "classic" works of French literature are represented.
  • Google Books
    Portal to Google's massive library digitization project. Depending on copyright restrictions, you may either see full text or limited parts of books (tables of contents, book covers, sample chapters, etc.).
  • HarpWeek: The Civil War Era, Reconstruction I & II and Gilded Age I (1857-1912)
    Provides electronic access to all issues of Harper's Weekly (including all illustrations and advertisements) published between 1857 (first issue) and 1912, with the capacity to browse or search by date, by literary genre, and by a person's occupation. Provides four topical indexes: subject, illustrations, literature & publishing, and advertising.
  • Hathi Trust
    Digitized books from several university libraries. About 1 million items are in the public domain.
  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
    This collection includes over 200,000 House of Commons sessional papers from 1715 to the present, with supplementary material back to 1688. HCPP delivers page images and searchable full text for each paper, along with detailed indexing. Access is available for the 19th century (1801-1900) collection.
  • Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive offers permanent access for researchers, historians and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. It includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages. Includes Project Gutenberg.
  • Latin American Newspapers, 1805-1922 (Series 1)
    Latin American Newspapers offers unprecedented coverage of the people, issues and events that shaped this vital region between 1805 and 1922. Through eyewitness reporting, editorials, legislative information, letters, poetry, advertisements, matrimony notices and obituaries, this unique collection chronicles the evolution of Latin American culture and daily life over two centuries.
  • Making of America
    Primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction, including 1,600 books and 50,000 journal articles with images. Strengths are education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
  • Making of Modern Law
    This database includes over 21,000 legal treatises from the 19th and early 20th centuries on American and British law.
  • Making of the Modern World
    Collection of digital facsimile images of 61,000 works of literature on economics and business published from 1450 through 1914. Covers commerce, finance, social conditions, politics, trade and transport.
  • Manuscript Collections Relating to Slavery
    The library of the New-York Historical Society holds among its many resources a substantial collection of manuscript materials documenting American slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world. The fourteen collections on this web site are among the most important of these manuscript collections. They consist of diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers, and records of institutions.
  • Medieval Family Life
    Medieval Family Life contains full-color images of the original medieval manuscripts that comprise the Paston, Cely, Plumpton, Stonor, and Armburgh family letter collections, along with full-text searchable transcripts from printed editions. Also includes family trees, chronology, a map, and a glossary.
  • Medieval Travel Writing
    Provides an extensive collection of manuscript materials for the study of medieval travel writing in fact and in fantasy. The main focus is accounts of journeys to the Holy Land, India and China. The core of the material is a magnificent collection of medieval manuscripts from libraries across Europe and dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
  • National Archives Digital Vaults
    Includes approximately 1,200 digitized documents, photographs, drawings, maps, and film clips, as well as links to additional research resources within the National Archives.
  • Nineteenth Century British Library Newspapers
    Contains full runs of 48 newspapers specially selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth century Britain. Includes national and regional newspapers, representing a variety of political and social movements and classes.
  • Nineteenth Century British Library Newspapers
    The 19th Century British Newspapers collection contains full runs of 48 newspapers specially selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth century Britain. This new collection includes national and regional newspapers, as well as those from both established country or university towns and the new industrial powerhouses of the manufacturing Midlands, as well as Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Special attention was paid to include newspapers that helped lead particular political or social movements such as Reform, Chartism, and Home Rule. The penny papers aimed at the working and clerical classes are also present in the collection.
  • Nineteenth Century Collections Online
    A multi-year global digitization and publishing program focusing on primary source collections of the nineteenth century, NCCO will be comprised of numerous collections to be released over many years, including a variety of material types--monographs, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, ephemera, maps, statistics, and more--in one cross-searchable location. Collections now available are Asia and the West; British Politics and Society; British Theatre, Music and Literature: High & Popular Culture; and European Literature, 1790-1840.
  • OAIster
    Search for digitized archival resources, such as books, articles, text, multimedia, datasets, and theses. Part of WorldCat.
  • Opinion Archives
    Searches opinion pieces and editorials from across the political spectrum. Full text available from The Nation, Commentary, NACLA, and The New Republic. Also indexes American Spectator, Commonweal, Harper's Magazine, The National Review, and The New York Review of Books.
  • Parker Library
    Digitized manuscripts spanning from the sixth-century Gospels of St. Augustine to sixteenth-century records relating to the English Reformation.
  • Past Masters
    Provides scholarly complete editions of classics (or selections from classics) in philosophy, literature, political science and economics. Examples of authors include Aristotle, Machiavelli, Shelley, Mill, Hume, Nietzsche, Bronte and Adam Smith. In English translation and/or the original language.
  • Picture Post Historical Archive
    The Picture Post Historical Archive, 1938-1957 consists of the complete, fully searchable facsimile archive of The Picture Post, the iconic newspaper published in Britain from 1938-1957 that defined the style of photojournalism in the 20th century. The Picture Post Historical Archive provides humorous and light-hearted snapshots of daily life to the serious and history defining moments of domestic and international affairs.
  • ProQuest Civil War Era
    Contains nearly 2,000 slavery, anti-slavery, and Civil War pamphlets and the complete runs of eight regional newspapers covering 1840-1865. Cross-searchable with other historical newspapers and the American Periodicals Series.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers  
    Complete historical coverage of The Atlanta Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Defender, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Click the info button for direct links.
  • Sabin Americana, 1500-1926
    Based on Joseph Sabin's landmark bibliography, this collection contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900s. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more.
  • Sabin Americana, 1500-1926
    Based on Joseph Sabin's landmark bibliography, this collection contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more. With over 6 million pages from 29,000 works, this collection is a cornerstone in the study of the western hemisphere.
  • Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive
    Slavery and Anti-Slavery includes documents from the United States and Europe, as well as other parts of the world. In addition to newspaper collections and books published in the antebellum era, Slavery and Anti-Slavery contains documents from several archives originally available only on microfilm.
  • Stalin Digital Archive
    A web-based archive of archival materials and secondary research, this database presents documents that have previously only been available at the RGASPI archive in Russia. Digital versions of Yale’s Annals of Communism series supplement the RGASPI collection with additional scholarly commentary on selected documents concerning the history of Soviet and international communism from Russian state archives spanning the 75-year history of the USSR.
  • Times Digital Archive
    Searchable, electronic version of The Times, Britain's newspaper of record, essential for primary source research in British history, politics, and culture. Provides a complete full-text and full-image archive of The Times from 1785 to 1985.
  • TLS Historical Archive  
    First appearing in 1902 as a supplement to The Times, the venerable Times Literary Supplement (TLS) is a weekly literary review published in London. See TLS for literary culture and book reviews. TLS Historical Archive contains every page of every issue of the Times Literary Supplement published 1902-5 years ago.

  • Vanderbilt Television News Archive  
    Includes evening news broadcasts from ABC, CBS and NBC (since 1968), an hour per day of CNN (since 1995) and Fox News (since 2004). There are over a million records and of those, there are 405,259 items available to stream via NBC and CNN, consisting of 9,328 hours of evening news and 7,652 hours of special broadcasts.
  • Voyages: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
    Information on almost 35,000 slaving voyages between the 16th and 19th centuries. Also includes, essays, maps, and images.
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
    Brings together primary documents, books, images, scholarly essays, book reviews, website reviews and teaching tools, all documenting the multiplicity of women's activism in public life.
  • World Digital Library  
    UNESCO's World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

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