Library of Congress
Primary Source Collections
Documents for the Study of American History — Nearly 450 historical documents, organized by chronological period. Maintained by George Laughead, Jr., of the Kansas Heritage Group.
Hypertexts — Many classic texts in U.S. history, including The
Education of Henry Adams, Letters from an American Farmer (Hector
St. Jean de Crevecoeur), Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas
Jefferson), and My Twenty Years at Hull House (Jane Addams). A project
of the University of Virginia.
- American Photography: A Century of Images — Selected historic photographs and information and tools to help students analyze photos as primary sources.
- American Rhetoric: Top 100 Speeches — Two scholars picked the top 100 speeches of the 20th century, 67 percent of which are available in audio or video.
Women's History: Digital Collections of Primary Sources — Links
to numerous collections of primary sources in women's history from
Ken Middleton, Middle Tennessee State University Library.
- The Authentic History Center — Images of artifacts, excerpts from letters and diaries, and audio clips are featured on this site. Popular culture is the primary focus.
- Avalon Project
at Yale Law School: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy — Documents in U.S. history from as early as the 1630s through the
- Bartleby — Among this huge site’s offerings are classic American essays and a small selection of primary sources in U.S. history in the non-fiction section.
- A Chronology of U.S. Historical
Documents — "Classic" political documents, some presidential
state of the union addresses, and many presidential inaugural addresses.
Maintained at the University of Oklahoma Law Center.
- Core Documents of U.S. Democracy — The Government Printing Office provides links to many source documents, including executive orders, presidential papers, and the U.S. Code.
History: Primary Source Documents — A searchable data base of
600 primary sources dealing with political, diplomatic, and social
history. From the Gilder Lehrmann Institute and University of Houston.
- Digital Past — Libraries in suburban Chicago have collaborated to produce this data base of 35,000 items, including postcards, architectural plans, photos, and personal letters.
- Documenting the American South — Primary sources on Southern history, literature, and culture from
the colonial period through 1920. From the University of North Carolina.
- EASE History — A collection of presidential campaign ads from 1952 to the present.
- eHistory Primary Sources — Ohio State University presents a variety of sources particularly strong in the Civil War era.
- From Revolution
to Reconstruction: Texts — Approximately 200 historical documents arranged by period. Maintained at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
- Historical Census Browser — This site from the University of Virginia allows users to access historical census data.
Matters: Many Pasts — More than 1000 documents, selected to reveal
the lives of “ordinary Americans,” and edited for use
- History Wired:
A Few of Our Favorite Things — Approximately 450 objects from
the Smithsonian's collections—from the significant (the patent
for Bell's first telephone) to the less significant but interesting
(a portrait of the first Breck girl). Background information is
provided with each item.
- Legal Information
Institute — Comprehensive information about the Supreme Court and its decisions dating from 1990; 600 historic decisions are also provided.
- Making of America — Collection of social history sources from the 19th century. A project of the University of Michigan.
- National Archives and Records
Administration — Searchable databases of documents from the
National Archives. Online Exhibits — present collections of documents on wide-ranging topics (e.g., Elvis meets Nixon, WPA art, gifts given to presidents, founding documents), and the Digital Classroom — provides teaching resources.
- National Park Service History and Culture: Collections — The National Park Service presents historic photographs and documentation related to architectural and engineering history.
- National Security Archive — This archive from George Washington University is a repository
for declassified documents that journalists and scholars have obtained
under the Freedom of Information Act.
- New York Public Library Digital Library Collection — Visual and text sources on such topics as the history of the performing arts and African Americans in the 19th century.
- Our Documents — The
National Archives presents 100 milestone documents in U.S. history,
along with suggestions for classroom use.
- Oyez: U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia — Information on selected past Supreme Court cases, with more than 2,000 hours of sound recordings of the Court’s proceedings. Maintained at Northwestern University.
- Picture History —
A searchable database of images in American history, plus feature
articles telling "the story behind the pictures."
Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration — History of the presidential library system, plus links to the
libraries of every president since Hoover. Many of the specific
libraries have interesting primary sources posted—from the
daily schedule of President Carter to the correspondence of President
Roosevelt and State Department press releases on the U-2 spy incident
during the Eisenhower administration.
Sources: Workshops in American History — Annenberg and WGBH
have created a series of eight workshops for teachers on the use
of primary sources. While the workshops include a video component,
the many historical sources and activities presented on the Web
site would be valuable in their own right. Topics range from the
Virginia Company to disease in history to Korea and the Cold War.
- Rare Book, Manuscript,
and Special Collections Library: Duke University — Numerous collections of primary sources are available here; particular strengths are the history of advertising, women's history, comic books, and African-American history.
Map Collection at the Hargrett Library — More than 800 historical
- Smithsonian National Museum
of American History — More than 20 online exhibits on such topics as the Brown v. Board of Education case, voting rights, Disneyland,
the American lunch, the national anthem, and clocks. A useful tool
for students is a timeline with links to objects or documents related to events shown.
- Studs Terkel: Conversations
with America — The Chicago Historical Society has made available
oral history interviews conducted by Studs Terkel for his books
(including Hard Times, The Good War, Race, and Division Street)
and radio program.
- Teaching American History: Document Library — Ashland University presents primary sources organized by time period and topic.
- University of Missouri Digital Library — Features 20 text collections and 23 image collections that include such diverse sources as sheet music, World’s Fair postcards, historic newspapers, and Fourth of July speeches.
- War Times Journal — Collections of primary sources on various military conflicts.
- Western History Gallery — Large collection of photographs on the American West from the Denver Public Library.