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This guide can help students in American History with primary and secondary sources.
Last Updated: Oct 8, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Primary Sources Print Page

Laws & Statistics

  • Historical Statistics of the United States Millennial Edition Online
    Historical Statistics of the United States is the standard source for quantitative facts of American history.
  • LexisNexis Congressional
    The world's most comprehensive source of U.S. government information.
    THOMAS puts Federal Legislative information on the internet. Databases in the THOMAS system include: Congress Now (floor actions), Bills, Congressional Record, Committee information & more. Also includes a historical section.

Primary Sources Databases

  • Library of Congress
    Congress' Library, though becoming more and more everybody's library.
  • National Archives
    Home of numerous American documents, though weak on 20th Century Presidents since they have their own libraries
  • Accessible Archives
    Full-text of 18th and 19th century American newspapers.
  • American Periodicals Series (APS)
    Collection contains digitized images of the original pages of over 1100 American magazines and journals that originated between 1740 and 1940s.
  • Black Thought & Culture
    Provides access to full-text documents of major black leaders in North America from the 19th & 20th centuries. Currently includes approximately 100,000 pages of primary source materials.
  • Gilded Age
    Searchable collection brings together primary documents and scholarly commentary for researchers studying this period in American history. The collection offers rare materials dating from 1865 to 1902.
  • Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
    Full-text of the: Atlanta Constitution 1868-1925; Boston Globe 1872-1922; Chicago Tribune 1849-1984; Christian Science Monitor 1908-1991; Los Angeles Times 1881-1984; New York Times 1851-2001; Wall Street Journal 1889-1987; Washington Post 1877-1988.
  • LexisNexis Congressional Record
    Coverage: 1873-1997
    Full-text access to the Congressional Record (1873-1997), the Annals of Congress (1789-1824), the Register of Debates (1824-1837), and the Congressional Globe (1833-1873). Access through the "Congressional Record Only" tab.
  • LexisNexis Congressional Serial Set Maps Digital Collection
    Coverage: 1789 - 1969
    Provides access to over 52,000 historical maps, and images contained in the U.S. Serial Set. Access through the "Advanced Search" tab.
  • Oral History Online
    Indexes English language oral histories housed in repositories around the world. Does not contain full-text but provides options to locate items and link to full-text transcripts or audio/video content on web-sites when available.
  • Papers of Dolley Madison
    Coverage: 1788-1837
    The Papers of Dolley Madison Digital Edition is currently complete through April 1837, with a total of 964 documents. Enter the collection to read the letters by time period; Search to locate letters by text, names, dates, topics, and places; the letters are sorted by date, author, or recipient.
  • Papers of George Washington
    Coverage: 1748-1799
    This resource encompasses five separate series and the complete diaries. You may search on full text and by date, author, or recipient across all volumes and series.
  • Papers of John Adams
    This resource comprises John Adams’s complete diaries, selected legal papers, and the ongoing series of family correspondence and state papers.
  • Papers of Thomas Jefferson
    Since 1950, Thomas Jefferson's writings have been compiled in the ongoing project The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Rotunda’s digital edition brings together all 33 volumes published through 2006 into one searchable online resource.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set
    Coverage: 1789-1979
    A collection of U.S. government publications compiled under the directive of Congress. Included are reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Access through the "Advanced Search" tab.
  • Digital Library: Primary Sources
    A collection of electronic texts and primary sources from digital libraries around the world.
  • Chronology of US Historical Documents
    A chronological list of historic documents from United States history compiled by the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Documents range from the Magna Carta of 1215 to Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address.
  • Documenting the American South
    A "digital publishing initiative that provides internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs."
  • Early Americas Digital Archives
    A digital library consisting of texts originally written in the Americas or about the Americas from the landing of Columbus in 1492 to approximately 1820.
  • Immigration to the United States
    Historical materials from the libraries, archives and museums of Harvard University ranging from 1789 to 1930. The collection focuses largely on immigration during the nineteenth century, and includes 400,000 pages from more than 2,200 books, pamphlets, and serials as well as nearly 10,000 pages from manuscripts and archival collections and nearly 8,000 photographs. "By incorporating diaries, biographies, and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants."
  • Women Working
    Produced by Harvard University, this is a virtual collection of over 650,000 pages from 3,100 books and trade catalogs, as well as 900 archival items and 1,400 photographs. "Women Working, 1800-1930 is a digital exploration of women's impact on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression. Working conditions, workplace regulations, home life, costs of living, commerce, recreation, health and hygiene, and social issues are among the issues documented in this online research collection from Harvard University."

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