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A Guide to Primary Sources: Web Resources

The materials listed are a sampling of resources that may prove helpful in historical research. Look, too, for collections of documents published as anthologies or for important historical texts from the many sources listed below.

Web Resources

  • American Historical Review - Digital Primary Sources

  • Since 2016, each issue of the American Historical Review has included a short list of websites that contain freely available digital primary sources. This website reproduces that list (with minor edits), including the site's geographic category as it appeared in the AHR and brief blurb associated with each site.
  • American Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank
    Database of over 5,000 speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, and interviews.
  • Broer Map Library: Online Historic Maps
    A growing collection of thousands of online historic maps from around the world. Several native language atlases (e.g. German maps of Germany) as well as historic road maps, topographical maps and military maps are available. Many are viewable in Google Earth so the viewer can compare the historic map with modern conditions. Search, or browse by region. Users may also search the Historic Map Index, which includes information about 60,000 historic maps in over 100 other online collections.
  • C-SPAN Video Library
    This online archive contains the contents of three C-SPAN cable channels focusing on public affairs, including Congressional affairs. Programs, from 1987 to present are indexed by speaker names, committees, categories, topics, policy groups, and more. Of particular interest are congressional sessions and committee hearings, indexed by full text words and by personal name. Videos also have an "embed" button that can be used to include a video in a website or blog. Originally created by Purdue University, the archive is now hosted and indexed by C-SPAN.
  • Documenting the American South
    Primary sources from the library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill including a collection of books, pamphlets, and personal narratives.
  • Early English Books Online
    Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of nearly 100,000 books in English printed between 1473 and 1700 - virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America, plus works in English printed elsewhere. Texts range from the first book printed in English by William Caxton through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War. Included are works by Malory, Bacon, More, Erasmus, Boyle, Newton, Galileo; musical exercises by Henry Purcell; novels by Aphra Behn; prayer books, pamphlets, and proclamations; almanacs, calendars, and many other primary sources.
  • Eurodocs
    Primary sources from Western Europe, organized by geography.
  • Harvard University Open Collections Program
    A project to provide digital access to a variety of resources with a particular focus. The most developed collection thus far is the Women Working, 1800-1930 collection that features relevant manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, and books.
  • Historical Maps
    From the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda library Map Collection, maps organized by region.
  • In the First Person
    Indexes over 3,000 collections of personal narratives from around the world, sometimes linking to free full texts available on the Internet. Search by subject, historical event, locations, or words used in the text.
  • Making of America
    A digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. Includes the text of over 8.000 books and 50,000 journals.
  • NYPL Digital Library
    NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 550,000 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.
  • NYPL Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection
    Picture Collection Online presents more than 30,000 digitized images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, mostly created before 1923.
  • Vietnam Project
    A major collection of materials, much of it available through the Web, from Texas Tech University.


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Jeff Jenson
You can find me in the College and Lutheran Church Archives, the offices above the library's main entrance.
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