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Historian's Craft & Uses (33-301)

Primary Sources on the Web

Civil War
  • Abraham Lincoln Papers
    The papers of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), lawyer, representative from Illinois, and sixteenth president of the United States, contain approximately 40,550 documents dating from 1774 to 1948, although most of the collection spans from the 1850s through Lincoln’s presidency (1861-1865).
  • Making of America
    "Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
  • The Papers of Jefferson Davis
    The Papers of Jefferson Davis, a documentary editing project based at Rice University in Houston, Texas, has published (1971-2015) a 14 volume edition of his letters and speeches, several of which can be found on this web site. The site also provides extensive information on Davis and his family and numerous images.
  • Valley of the Shadow
    The Valley of the Shadow enables visitors to explore a critical part of the American past for themselves. The Valley project presents the complex historical record of the people of a northern community and a southern community, one in Pennsylvania and another in Virginia, both in the Great Valley that stretches across the Mason Dixon line, throughout the era of the American Civil War.
  • American Revolution: Digital Collections
    The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of primary source materials associated with the American Revolution era (1763-1783), including manuscripts, broadsides, government documents, books, images, and maps.
  • Colonial Era Documents - Digital History
    Transcripted excerpts and annotations of primary documents from the Colonial Era.
  • Colonial Settlement, 1600-1763
    Library of Congress collection of colonial America documents.
  • Founders Online
    Correspondence and Other Writings of Seven Major Shapers of the United States: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. Over 184,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the authoritative Founding Fathers Papers projects.
  • Massachusetts Historical Society 
    "As part of its mission to communicate and share its collections, the Massachusetts Historical Society makes selected manuscripts and artifacts available for online viewing. Use this guide to begin exploring ... digital archives, online curriculum, and web exhibitions." This site includes electronic archives of the Adams and Jefferson papers.
  • Worlds of Change
     This collection includes more than 700,000 digitized pages of all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library that relate to 17th- and 18th-century North America.
General American History
  • Archives of the West
    This PBS site includes "a selection of the memoirs, journals, letters, reports and images that went into the making of THE WEST."
  • Digital Public Library: Primary Source Sets
    Filter by subject or time period.
  • The Exhibit Hall
    The Exhibit Hall, at the National Archives and Records Administration, includes links to digital copies of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Magna Carta, Emancipation Proclamation, Apollo 11 Flight Plan, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and more.
  • Guide to Law Online
    "The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the U.S. Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information."
  • Hanover Historical Texts Project
    "In 1995, the History Department and Hanover students initiated the Hanover Historical Texts Project. The Project's principal aim is to make primary texts readily available to students and faculty for use in history and humanities courses."
  • Historical & Cultural Atlas
    Interactive maps help students study cultural and historical changes.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections
    The Library of Congress National Digital Library has created this resource offering links to primary and archival materials relating to American culture and history.
  • Library of Congress Exhibitions
    This site offers online versions of exhibitions at the Library of Congress, past and present.
  • Missouri: Images from the Past--Teaching with Documents
    "Created by the legislature in 1965, the State Archives serves as the repository for state records of permanent historical value."
  • National Security Archive
    "An independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University, the Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Archive also serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States."
  • New York Public Library Digital Gallery
    "NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 600,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more."
  • Office of the Historian: United States Department of State
    "The Office of the Historian is responsible, under law, for the preparation and publication of the official historical documentary record of U.S. foreign policy in the Foreign Relations of the United States series.
  • Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture: Digital Collections 
    "The Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture in Duke University’s Special Collections Library acquires, preserves and makes available to a large population of researchers published and unpublished materials that reflect the public and private lives of women, past and present."
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    The Museum’s Collections document the fate of Holocaust victims, survivors, rescuers, liberators, and others through artifacts, documents, photos, films, books, personal stories, and more.
Military History
  • Center for American War Letters Archive
    The Center for American War Letters (CAWL) is a unique and extensive manuscript collection of war letters from every American conflict, beginning with handwritten missives composed during the Revolutionary War and continuing up to emails sent from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Commemorating the Great War
    The National Archives and Records Administration's vast collection of records and information documenting the U.S. experience in this conflict, including photographs, documents, audiovisual recordings, educational resources, articles, blog posts, lectures, and events.
  • The Korean War and it's Origins (Truman Library)
    This collection focuses on the Korean War. The collection includes 275 documents totaling 1151 pages covering the years 1945 through 1953. Supporting materials include official documents and photographs.
  • The Korean War: Collections & Resources
    A collection of primary source documents related to the Korean War. Obtained largely from Russian archives, the documents include reports on Chinese and Soviet aid to North Korea, allegations that America used biological weapons, and the armistice.
  • Korean War Records
    The National Archives and Records Administration collection of documents from and about the Korean War.
  • National Vietnam War Museum
    The National Vietnam War Museum project was formalized in 1998 to develop a national venue that would create an atmosphere of learning about the Vietnam War era, and engage people of all ages, nationalities, and political points of view.
  • National WWI Museum and Memorial Online Collection
    Explore the National WWI Museum and Memorial's online collections database, which allows you search the digital records of the global collection that began in 1920.
  • National WWII Museum Digital Collections
    The National World War II Museum is home to thousands of oral histories and hundreds of thousands of photographs. This website offers the visitor a way to browse a sample of these collections and purchase images if interested.
  • Veterans History Project
    The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand narratives of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. Since 2000, VHP has preserved thousands of individual veterans’ collections, which offer users an unparalleled archive of primary source material.
  • Vietnam War Records
    The National Archives and Records Administration collection of documents from and about the Vietnam War.
  • Virtual Vietnam Archive
    "The Virtual Vietnam Archive currently contains over 2.7 million pages of scanned materials. Types of material include documents, photographs, slides, negatives, oral histories, artifacts, moving images, sound recordings, maps, and collection finding aids."
  • Voices of the Manhattan Project
    “Voices of the Manhattan Project” is a joint project by the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society to create a public archive of our oral history collections of Manhattan Project veterans and their families.
  • World War II Records
    The National Archives and Records Administration collection of documents from and about World War II.
Photo/Digital Image Collections
  • Presidential Libraries
    The Presidential Library system is composed of fifteen Presidential Libraries. These facilities are overseen by the Office of Presidential Libraries. Presidential Libraries are archives and museums, bringing together the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations.
  • Thomas Jefferson
    This Library of Congress Web site includes information chronicling Thomas Jefferson's life including digitized copies of some primary sources.
  • Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
    "The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is published every Monday and is the official publication of presidential statements, messages, remarks, and other materials released by the White House Press Secretary."

General European History
  • EuroDocs Online Sources for European History
    EuroDocs connects to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated.
  • World Digital Library
    This collection contains cultural heritage materials gathered during the World Digital Library (WDL) project, including thousands of items contributed by partner organizations worldwide as well as content from Library of Congress collections.
  • The European Library
    The European Library is designed to meet the needs of the research community worldwide, our online portal offers quick and easy access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.
  • Wilson Center Digital Archive International History Declassified
    The Wilson Center Digital Archive is a resource where students, researchers and specialists can access once-secret documents from governments and organizations all over the world.
  • Avalon Project: 20th Century Documents
    The Avalon Project is a digital library of documents relating to law, history and diplomacy.
  • International Institute of Social History
    the IISH is one of the largest archives of labor and social history in the world. Located in Amsterdam, its one million volumes and 2,300 archival collections include the papers of major figures and institutions in radical leftist thought.
  • Archives Nationales (French)
    National Archives of France
  • Archives de Paris (French)
    19th and 20th century photographs, maps, building plans, and more from Paris
  • French Revolution Digital Archive
    Stanford University project to create a record of parliamentary deliberations, and letters, reports, speeches, etc.
  • French Revolution Pamphlets
    The French Revolution Pamphlets digital collection consists of pamphlets produced from 1779 to 1815. Although the French Revolution happened in the decade ranging from 1789 to 1799, this collection of pamphlets documents the time leading up to the revolution through the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). Often privately printed due to newspaper censure by the monarchy, the pamphlets were used to disseminate information and ideals concerning nationalism, citizenship, personal freedoms, and social injustice.
  • Gallica (French)
    Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and its partners. Online since 1997, it is updated frequently with thousands of novelties and now offers access to several million documents.
  • Napoleonica
    Digitized collection of primary source documents pertaining to Napoleon, his empire, and subjects
  • Paris: Capital of the 19th C
    Digitization project initiated by the French Studies and Comparative Literature Departments of Brown University, to provide a window into the cultural, political and social context of 19th century Parisian culture.
  • 1848 Flugschriften im Netz (German)
    Revolutionary pamphlets and literature from 1848/1849
  • bavarikon
    bavarikon is the digital portal of the Free State of Bavaria for the presentation of art, culture and knowledge from Bavarian institutions. Archives, libraries and museums are involved, as well as institutions of state administration, and  those engaged in the preservation of historical monuments and promotion of scholarship.
  • Bundesarchiv
    German Federal Archive that includes digitized records from the Weimar Republic and Cabinet minutes beginning in 1949
  • Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek
    The Deutsche Digital Bibliothek provides comprehensive access to Germany's cultural and scientific heritage. Browse books, art, manuscripts and more
  • German History in Documents and Images
    Digital, comprehensive collection of primary source materials documenting Germany's political, social, and cultural history from 1500-2000.
  • German Propaganda Archive
    The German Propaganda Archive includes both propaganda itself and material produced for the guidance of propagandists.
Great Britain
  • British Documents on the End of Empire Project (BDEEP)
    Digitization project to make available a series of volumes containing an annotated selection of official documents from the UK National Archives, charting British withdrawal from its colonial territories. Each volume has been edited by a leading scholar in the field of decolonisation and each contains a substantial introduction contextualising the collection
  • British History Online
    Digitized collection of nearly 1300 volumes of primary and secondary content relating to British and Irish history, and histories of empire and the British world. BHO also provides access to 40,000 images and 10,000 tiles of historic maps of the British Isles.
  • Digital Bodleian
    The collection contains millions of items from Bodleian's special collections, some Oxford College libraries, and other Oxford institutions. The digitized items include manuscripts and printed books from many regions and periods, as well as maps, ephemera, archives, photography, portraits, and juvenilia.
  • The National Archives
    National archives collection for the United Kingdom
  • University of Washington - Britain & Ireland Primary Source guide
    Created by University of Washington librarians, this guide includes an extensive list of a variety of primary sources on British history
Russia/Soviet Union
World Wars
  • Imperial War Museum (Britain)
    IWM’s collection covers all aspects of conflict involving Britain, its former Empire and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present day. Items in the collection include range of media, (art, film, photographs, documents, print materials).
  • International Committee of the Red Cross - WWI Prisoners of the First World War
    Digitized collection of all individual ICRC records relating to the First World War (prisoner's index files and their associated lists).
  • League of Nations: Statistical and Disarmament Documents
    Northwestern University Library's digital collection "League of Nations Statistical and Disarmament Documents" contains the full text of 260 League of Nations documents.
  • Nazi Biogram Collection
    Collection includes more than 3,700 pages of autobiographical information written by members of the Nazi Party.
  • University of Minnesota World War Poster Collection
    Collection includes posters from World Wars I and II and the German election of 1932, from U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, and Scandinavia. The collection comprises over 6,000 items, consisting largely of posters but containing a few related materials that are not of poster size.
  • Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
    The uniqueness of the collections lies in the vast documentation of the lives and fates of the Jewish Holocaust victims. The material spans a wide period of time: it focuses on time period between the early 1930s through 1945, and also includes material about Jewish life in the years before the war as well as the fate of the survivors after the war.

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