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Primary Sources on the Web

This is a selected list of websites containing primary source materials.

Primary Source Gateway Sites

  • American Memory
    From the Library of Congress, the American Memory project is a collection of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures and text from the Library of Congress Americana collections. There are over 70 collections included in the project. Go the the American Memory website and search a particular topic or browse through the collections.
  • American Studies Web: Historical and Archival Resources
    An extensive list of links to historical studies, archival resources and general history resources in the field of American history.
  • Edsitement
    The National Endowment for the Humanities maintains this site with links to best history, language arts and social sciences sites. In addition to primary sources, there are online lesson plans and other digital learning materials.
  • The Bancroft Library
    The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library at the University of California, Berkeley. Many of its collections have been digitized for online access, including
  • Days of Cal (Virtual tour through UC Berkeley's history), and the Free Speech Movement website.
  • SunSITE Digital Library Collections

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Primary Source Collections

  • Ad*Access
    A collection of images from over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines from 1911 through 1955. Subject areas include: radio, television, transportation, beauty and hygiene and World War II.
  • The American Civil War Homepage
    A general site on the American Civil War that includes links to images and photographs from the Civil War as well as links to important Civil War documents.
  • American Memory
    From the Library of Congress. The American Memory project consists of more than 70 collections including photographs and prints of the Woman Suffrage Movement, American Life Histories from the Federal Writers' Project (1936-1940) and Jackie Robinson and other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s.
  • American Radicalism
    An online collection of digital texts and images from the American Radicalism collection at Michigan State University. Among the many subject areas included are the Hollywood Ten, Black Panthers, Birth Control, I.W.W., Wounded Knee and Students for a Democratic Society.
  • California Heritage Collection
    From the Bancroft Library. An online archive of over 28,000 images illustrating California's history and culture.
  • CIS History Universe
    A collection of selected primary and secondary sources in US History, specifically African American Studies and Women's Studies. Included are full text of laws and court cases, autobiographies, and manuscript materials.
  • Documenting the American South
    Sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this is an electronic collecion that provides access to digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. Five different projects make up the site: Southern literature; first-person narratives; slave narratives; the Southern Homefront, 1861-1865; the church in the Southern Black Community.
  • The Emma Goldman Papers
    Digitized collections from the Emma Goldman Papers Project at UC Berkeley. This collection includes letters, images and a newsreel clip from 1934.
  • History Matters
    More than 144 first person narratives of average Americans in extraordinary times. Strong in the WWI period. A project of the Center for Social History and the New Media, and George Mason University. Also includes lesson plans and teacher resources in US History.
  • Making of America or
    A collection of approximately 1,600 full-text books and 50,000 journal articles from the antebellum period through reconstruction.
  • National Archives and Records Administrtation (NARA)
    Do a "NAIL digital copies search" to find online images of many NARA documents. Very strong in 20th century pictures and documents on US themes.
  • The New York Public Library Digital Library Collection
    In addition to finding aids (guides to archival and manuscript collections), the NYPL Digital Library Collections contains texts and images from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
  • US Historical Documents Online
    Primary source documents from American history starting with Columbus and going through to the Civil Rights Act of 1991. While this is a private webpage, the quality is high.
  • The Valley of the Shadow: Living the Civil War in Pennsylvania and Virginia
    A project that interweaves the histories of two communities on either side of the Mason-Dixon line during the era of the American Civil War. It incorporates a narrative and electronic archive of the sources on which the narrative is based.
  • World War II Resources
    Primary source materials on all aspects of the war.

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Collections of Online Journals and Newspapers

  • HarpWeek
    Full text with illustrations of Harper's Weekly from 1857-1865, searchable by keywords, by literary genre, by occupations and role in society, and browseable by date.
  • Historical Newspapers Online
    In addition to indexing the Times of London (1790-1980) and The New York Times (1851-1922), this resource enables you to find the full text of every article in every issue of The Times (of London) from 1785-1870.
  • Internet Library of Early Journals
    A joint project of the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford to digitize substantial runs of 18th and 19th century journals.
    Digitized backfiles of some 117 core scholarly journals many of which go back to the 1800s.
  • Making of America
    A collection of approximately 1,600 full-text books and 50,000 journal articles from the antebellum period through reconstruction.

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