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History: Primary Sources by Region

International Primary Sources

World Digital Library - The WDL makes available significant primary materials from 192 countries and cultures. Bibliographic information and content descriptions are provided in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Resources include books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, journals, prints and photographs, sound recordings, and films.

Hathi Trust - Partnership of research institutions and libraries that makes available in a digital format public domain books and pamphlets within their collections.

Internet Archive - Digital multimedia collection of public domain works.  Includes copies of print works, video, and audio resources.  Also allows limited exploration of archived websites from around the Internet.

Collections of the Smithsonian Institution - Over 1 million images and records highlighting the collections of world's largest museum, education, and research complex. Search photographs, archival materials, and recordings.

Art and Artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) - 275,000 freely available images

Global and imperial maps from Cornell University - 800 political maps that should be on the radar of anyone working on imperial and global history.  Includes US only maps, too.

Perseus Digital Library Project  Offers an extensive collection of ancient history sources including ancient texts and images of art objects, sites, and buildings.

The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls The Israel Museum welcomes you to the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project, allowing users to examine and explore these most ancient manuscripts from Second Temple times at a level of detail never before possible.

Ancient History Sourcebook- a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.

Collection of early Christian texts - Making classic Christian literature widely available online

Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies - Resources for Late Antiquity, A.D. 284-632

Late Antiquity Bibliography and Resources

Early Church Fathers - 38 volume collection of Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts - additional pagan and Christian texts

Go to the Library Catalog and use a few word combinations

(for precision, chose the "Subject begins with..." search index)

  • History Ancient Sources
  • Manuscripts Greek
  • Rome History Empire (then browse for specific time period)
  • Greece history
  • Inscriptions
  • Egypt antiquities
  • Slavery Rome
  • Weapons ancient
  • Latin literature
  • Classical literature
  • Hebrew language

Digital Library of the Caribbean

Europeana - A digital repository focused on European cultural heritage. Searches and links to digital items, including images, texts, sounds, and videos.

EuroDocs - Created by Richard Hacken, European Studies Bibliographer, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
 
Medieval Murders in London - GIS mapping of murder locations and primary source descriptions of the events that transpired.

 

North American by Type

Go to the Library Catalog 

Use the following search terms, along with your topic terms, to locate primary sources:

  • charters
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works
  • interviews
  • manuscripts
  • oratory
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • sources
  • speeches
  • letters
  • documents

 

Example LC Subject headings (linked to catalog):

Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence.
Presidents--United States--Correspondence.
Presidents' spouses--United States--Correspondence.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.

Google Newspaper Archive

New York Newspapers (Western Area)

TIME Magazine  COVERAGE: 1923-2000

Chronicling America -Search America's historic newspapers pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Accessible Archives - Diverse primary source materials reflecting broad views across American history and culture. Includes the following collections: African American Newspapers, Civil War Newspapers, Colonial Newspapers, County Histories, and more.

Early American Imprints, Series I. (1639-1800)* - The definitive resource for every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America, from agriculture and auctions through foreign affairs, diplomacy, literature, music, religion, the Revolutionary War, temperance, witchcraft, and just about any other topic imaginable. Includes books, pamphlets, poems, broadsides, and many other formats.

Early American Imprints, Series II. (1801-1819)* - 36,000 American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the first nineteen years of the nineteenth century.

*Archive of Americana - Search these designated databases through one search box.

Hathi Trust - Partnership of research institutions and libraries that makes available in a digital format public domain books and pamphlets within their collections.

Internet Archive - Digital multimedia collection of public domain works.  Includes copies of print works, video, and audio resources.  Also allows limited exploration of archived websites from around the Internet.

American Sanborn Maps - hypothesize about the economic, social, or strategic importance of a particular place at a particular time using maps of cities of the past

American Doctoral Theses - 1902 to the present

Nineteenth Century in Print - from the Library of Congress

Ancestry Library Edition - Millions of names from sources such as federal and U.S. censuses as far back as 1790; birth, death, and marriage records including the Social Security Death Index; and U.S. border crossing and trans-ocean ship records.

Colonial North American Project at Harvard University - When complete, the project will make available to the world digitized images of all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library that relate to 17th and 18th century North America.

Digital Collections from Library of Congress – Thousands of items and collections of our nation’s treasures, including maps, manuscripts, photographs, and songs.

Founders Online - This database contains correspondence of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

Naval Documents of the American Revolution - A growing collection of correspondence and other documents related to the naval aspect of the American Revolution.

The Avalon Project, from the Yale Law School - Includes documents selected for their importance in American legal history. Sources can also be searched by themed “Document Collections”.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute

Martin Luther King Papers Project

Civil Rights Digital Library

Civil War Women

Slave Narratives

Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States

Trail of Tears (Indian Removal Act) -Treaty of New Echota, which implemented the Indian Removal Act for the Cherokees, can be found in the U.S. Statutes at Large, volume 7, pages 478-488.
click here

European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750 -the database contains more than 32,000 entries and is a comprehensive guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750. It covers the history of European exploration as well as portrayals of Native American peoples.

Documenting the American South

Excerpts from Slave Narratives

Historical Statistics of the United States - A compendium of statistics about United States using United States Census information. Download tables in Excel or CSV. Includes statistical data and history of U.S. social, economic, political, and geographic development during periods from 1610 through the 1990s.

100 Milestone Documents - 100 milestone documents has been compiled by the National Archives and chronicles the history of the U.S. from 1776 to 1965. Both original and transcribed copies are available.

American Archives, Documents of the American Revolutionary Period - Northern Illinois University Library collection of digitized documents covering a wide range of aspects concerning the American Revolution from military operations to ideological arguments and minority experiences.

Docs Teach, from the National Archives - Over 3,000 primary documents is organized by historical era, from the nation’s founding to the present. Documents, including maps, charts, graphs, audio, and video are included.

Supreme Court Oral Arguments (1955-) - 5,000 hours of audio. Digitized from the originals from the National Archives. Click on "Cases" on the homepage to search by title, citation, subject, or date.

Presidential Recordings Program (Miller Center for Public Affairs) - Selected transcripts and MP3 audio clips of recorded meetings or telephone conversations of six US Presidents: Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon. Transcripts are regularly added to the site.

Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States

US National Archives (NARA) - Federal documents of all three branches of government.

Pennsylvania Digitized Newspapers Directory -Searchable newspapers available in the PA State Library.

Pennsylvania Newspaper Archive - From Penn State

Lancaster County Newspapers (Searchable)

The Patriot (Harrisburg PA) 1854-1922

Harrisburg Republican 1816-1818

Access Pennsylvania Digital Repository - HSLC/Access PA manages a statewide digitization service on behalf of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries using the CONTENTdm software product licensed through OCLC.

Digitized collections from Pennsylvania institutions – Collections scanned from Penn State, UPenn, and many other notable PA intuitions.

Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia - From abolition and the American Revolution to yellow fever and zoos, the digital Encyclopedia offers a comprehensive, authoritative reference source for the Philadelphia region.

Explore PA History - "Stories from PA History" includes histories built around state historical markers.  "Teach PA History" includes elementary, middle, and high school lesson plans for teachers of Pennsylvania and American history.  "Visit PA Regions" provides useful information for those who are interested in visiting historic sites.

Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh - From the pre-revolutionary drama of the French & Indian War to the legendary match-ups of the Super Steelers, discover 250 years of Pittsburgh history at the Senator John Heinz History Center. 

Pennsylvania Sanborn Maps - Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the state of Pennsylvania offer historically significant details of a town or city dating from the mid 1800s.

Valley of the Shadow - The Valley of the Shadow is a digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil War.  Here you may explore thousands of original documents that allow you to see what life was like during the Civil War for the men and women of Augusta and Franklin.

PA Digital - digital collections of the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage institutions

PA Photos and Docs - Explore thousands of digitized documents and photographs from unique collections in libraries across Pennsylvania.

American Archive of Public Broadcasting - historic and educational programing from publicly funded radio and television from across the United States. Over 60 years of content.

Collections of the Smithsonian Institution - Over 1 million images and records highlighting the collections of world's largest museum, education, and research complex. Search photographs, archival materials, and recordings.

National Jukebox - Listen to some of the earliest American sound recordings including band music, novelty tunes, humorous monologues, hits from the season's new musical theater productions, the latest dance rhythms, and opera arias.

Digital Collections from Library of Congress – Thousands of items and collections of our nation’s treasures, including maps, manuscripts, photographs, and songs

Digital Public Library of America- 16 million digital items from over 120 contributing institutions

Regional Recordings- From Dictionary of American Regional English. Various recordings from around the country capture unique dialects and patterns of speech.

Library of Congress Videos

The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials, 1952-2008 - More than 300 commercials, from every presidential election since 1952.