Research Guide - Finding Sources

This research guide is intended to help Cal Poly Pomona history students locate primary and secondary resources for their research, particularly for Theory and Practice of History (HST 3300) and Senior Thesis (HST 4620). It will also be helpful for any class that requires outside research.


Please e-mail Dr. Rob Lewis (rwlewis@cpp.edu) with suggestions for databases or particular collections that merit inclusion!


Click the link immediately below for the research guide in Word document form, or scroll down to view it on this page by clicking on the expandable buttons for each section. Note that some sections have multiple sub-sections; these are not active links, but are intended to help orient you to the contents of the section

Research Guide to Primary and Secondary Sources (Word document)

Research Guide Quick Links

Sub-sections: Monographs and edited collections | Articles | Open-access secondary sources

Searching for monographs and edited collections (books)


The Cal Poly Pomona Library and our amazing subject librarian (Shonn Haren) have put together a terrific overall research guide for History students – access it here!



Use the Cal Poly Pomona Library Catalog (http://www.cpp.edu/~library/index.shtml) as a jumping-off point for finding secondary sources. You can also filter your search results to only see materials that you can access digitally, too.


As you search, pay attention to the Library of Congress subject headings, and use these to find other sources. You can also use these same subject headings to search in the article databases (below), or in WorldCat (http://libguides.library.cpp.edu/az.php?a=w), the database that links to the holdings of almost every major academic library in North America and many others elsewhere. You can also use Google Scholar -- https://scholar.google.com – to locate secondary materials.


If a particular book is not in the CPP Library, you can easily request it via CPP+ (the consortium of libraries across the CPP system). You can also request articles or book chapters not accessible in our library via Document Delivery.


Searching for Articles


There are a number of article databases accessible through the Cal Poly Pomona Library. The Library Research Guide (https://libguides.library.cpp.edu/c.php?g=327165&p=2192550) has a terrific list of databases for secondary sources (and primary sources, too). Of these, JSTOR, Historical Abstracts, America: History & Life (EBSCO), Proquest (articles, dissertations), Project Muse and Academic Search Elite are particularly helpful in locating secondary sources.  In all of these databases, be sure to use the “advanced search” function, which allows you to search for multiple terms at once and permits you to limit your search chronologically. Many of these databases allow you direct access to your article in PDF form; if the article was published in a journal for which we don’t have immediate access, you can (as noted above) use Document Delivery to request it.


As you find articles and books, do not hesitate to raid the bibliographies of your sources for more potential secondary – and primary – sources!


Open-Access Resources for secondary sources


The Internet Archive


A non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more – this is a somewhat unwieldly website, but contains both secondary and primary sources.




Affilated with the Internet Archive, OpenLibrary allows you to “borrow” books for a reasonable time period (sign up for a free account).




This wide-ranging digitization project is a terrific resource for primary sources, but also contains older secondary materials. It was particularly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Digital Public Library of America


This website is another initiative that makes materials from “libraries, archives and museums and other cultural institutions” available. Its collections of digitized primary sources are mostly oriented toward K-12 teachers, but you can also search its collections for secondary sources.


Project Gutenberg


This digitization project is a library of over 60,000 books, with a focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.


Forgotten Books


This website offers PDF versions of many older (predominately 19th-century) texts that themselves are often translations of other older texts.


Secondary sources may also be found in some of the open-access databases listed below (under primary sources).

Sub-sections: Print sources | Digitized primary sources and databases accessible with CPP login | Newspapers


Print Primary Sources


You can search for primary sources in the CPP Library catalog. Some (e.g. memoirs) may even be available in e-book form. As a research tip, use those Library of Congress subject terms and tweak them for primary sources – often, you only need to tack “Sources” onto the end of the search string to find potential primary sources (e.g. “Annexation of Hawai’i – sources”).


As you research in your secondary sources, you may run across potential primary sources (like newspapers or magazines) that you can search for in the CPP catalog. If it’s not at CPP, you can also search WorldCat (which often will indicate which libraries have a historical newspaper on microfilm). You can also find some pamphlets and other short tracts in WorldCat, too. If you find these sorts of sources at another institution, you can attempt to request them (physically) through Document Delivery.


Digitized Primary Sources (Databases Available Through CPP’s Library)


*Note: to access these databases, you will need to be logged in to your library account if you are not physically on campus.


Use this library page as a jumping-off point for the specific databases listed below.



American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection

Content includes American history, history of science, medicine technology, history of banking, finance, and commerce, women's history, material culture, children's life, internal improvements, slavery and abolition, the Civil War and Reconstruction, social movements, popular culture, and popular literature.



For images and other artifacts that can be reproduced for academic works, Artstor has some great images.


County and Regional Histories and Atlases: California

These original histories represent difficult-to-find materials. Included in this collection of 97 titles are tables and lists of vital statistics, military service records, municipal and county officers, chronologies, portraits of individuals and views of urban and rural life not found anywhere else. The atlases provide additional information on land use and settlement patterns and scarce early town and city plans.

*Note: The library also subscribes to the County and Regional Histories databases for Illinois and New York.


Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980

Hispanic American Newspapers features hundreds of newspapers published by Hispanics, including many from the 19th century that have long since ceased publication as well as papers published bilingually in Spanish and English. Users can compare and contrast Hispanic views on most major themes in American life, beginning in 1808 when the first Spanish-language newspaper in the United States was printed in New Orleans.


19th Century Newspapers

Provides access to primary source newspaper content from 1800-1899, featuring full-text content and images from about 500 newspapers from a range of territories and urban and rural regions throughout the U.S. The collection includes topics such as the American Civil War, the Confederacy, African-American culture and history, Western migration, immigration, elections and Antebellum-era life.


Sabin Americana, 1500-1926

An online collection of books, pamphlets, serials and other works about the Americas, from the time of their discovery to the early 1900s. Covering a span of 400 years in North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, this fully searchable digital archive is an essential tool for the study of the western hemisphere. It provides primary source material critical to the understanding of the society, politics, religious beliefs, literature, customs and momentous events of the times.


Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
Includes every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom during the 18th century, along with thousands of important works from the Americas. Materials are diverse, including not only books and broadsides but also Bibles, tract books, sermons, and printed ephemera by many well-known and lesser-known authors. Captures the essence of the Enlightenment in Great Britain.



This is a comprehensive database of American court cases (state and federal level) and treatises dating back to the late 18th century.


Daily Newspaper databases through the CPP Library


These are accessible through the CPP Library Databases page (indicated above).


Los Angeles Times Historical (1881-1989)


New York Times Historical (1851-2009)


Times (London) Digital Archive, 1785-2008


Proquest Databases – Global Newsstream (1980-current)

This database is particularly useful for newspapers published in the United States and internationally in the past 40 years. You can select and un-select the particular “newsstreams” (which include a Canadian newsstream, an International newsstream, and a U.S. newsstream). CPP students have accessed papers published in India, Hong Kong, Canada and other locations through this database.

It is definitely a good idea to browse the online resources available at any of our local University of California libraries (e.g. UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside, UCLA). Their subject librarians have compiled primary-source guides for history students that list many excellent online databases.

Here, for example, are the links to UC-Irvine’s excellent history subject guide, and the specific page for history primary sources:





While you will not have online access to those databases as a CPP student, you will get a good sense of what other databases exist for your topic. Going forward from Fall 2021, you may even be able to get guest access to those databases by visiting those libraries in person.


Example 1: the Foreign Broadcast Information Systems (FBIS) database is a searchable database of newspaper articles and radio broadcast transcripts from all over the world from 1945 to 1991. These articles and transcripts were preserved and translated by American intelligence services.


Example 2: the East India Company database is a searchable database of India Office records from the British Library, including royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings, etc.

These databases and collections are open-access, meaning that you do not need a university ID to login to consult them. Note that some databases are listed in several places on the Guide.


The Internet Archive


A non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more. Among other highlights, holds scanned copies of one of the first and longest running black newspapers (California Eagle) in Southern California -- a must for anyone interested in African American California.




This digitization project is wide in scope and was VERY useful during the COVID-19 pandemic. It contains all sorts of fabulous material, and is an essential repository for primary sources (especially from the 18th through early 20th centuries).


Internet History Sourcebooks Project


This long-running endeavor provides a collection of public-domain and copy-permitted historical texts for educational use; while primarily aimed at secondary and post-secondary teachers and professors, it has many valuable sets of short sources ranging from the ancient to the modern periods. Note the particular collections on travelers, law, etc.


Forgotten Books


This website offers PDF versions of many older (predominately 19th-century) texts that themselves are often translations of other older texts.


Wikipedia listing of digitized newspaper collections


This is an updated listing of all newspapers (that Wikipedia knows about, anyway) with digitized historical collections.


General/national/state archives | Foreign policy and other official documents | American presidents | Colonial/Early America| Slavery | Antebellum America/Civil War/Late 19th and early-20th century | Race, ethnicity, identity and civil rights | Social reform movements | Business and agriculture | Music and popular culture | Military | Cinema and Television | Canada


General national and state resources


The Library of Congress Digital Collections


The Library of Congress has made digitized versions of collection materials available online since 1994, concentrating on its most rare collections and those unavailable anywhere else. The LOC’s collections range widely, from materials on Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Graham Bell to the American Life Histories from the New-Deal era Folklore Project to Japanese-American Internment Camp newspapers, material on the First World War, etc. (Some particular collections are highlighted later in this Guide).


Chronicling America


Part of the National Digital Newspaper Program at the Library of Congress, this site has digitized 15 million pages of American newspapers from 1789 to 1963.


Smithsonian Online Visual Archives


This archive is the gateway to papers, manuscripts, photographs, oral histories, films, works of art and organizational records held by the Smithsonian Institution. These included (but are not limited to) materials about space, music, gardens and art.


Supreme Court Database


This is a comprehensive compendium of Supreme Court cases.


National Archives


While the vast majority of these holdings are only accessible in person at the National Archives in College Park, Md., there are some digitized collections available.


Digital Libraries and Archives – State-by-State Listing


This website contains links to 250 different digital libraries and archives in almost every state in the United States.


71 Digital Portals to State History


This is a similar list of digital resources at the state level across the United States.


Foreign Policy and Other Official Government sources


Office of the Historian Foreign Relations of the United States


The State Department’s online resource include the History of the Foreign Relations of the United States series, or FRUS, with full text covering the presidencies of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford.  For the period from 1860 to 1960, you can also consult the FRUS Project at the University of Wisconsin:



The National Security Archives


This project, founded by journalists and scholars in 1985, functions as an expansive library and archive of declassified U.S. documents.


The Wilson Center Digital Archive


The Digital Archive contains once-secret documents from governments all across the globe, uncovering new sources and providing fresh insights into the history of international relations and diplomacy. It focuses on the interrelated histories of the Cold War, Korea, and Nuclear Proliferation


The FBI Vault


This collection is comprised of FBI files that have been released to the public on a variety of figures (e.g. Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, etc.).


U.S. Government Accountability Office


At this website, you can search for US GAO reports and testimonies going back to at least 1922.


American presidents


The American Presidency Project


This online resource, hosted at the University of California-Santa Barbara, has consolidated, coded and organized the papers of American presidents from Washington to Trump.


LOC American Presidential Papers


The Library of Congress has now digitized the papers of Presidents Washington through Coolidge (scroll to the bottom of the page for the collections – if this page proves ephemeral, you can always find them through the main LOC digital collections page, https://www.loc.gov/collections/).


Presidential Libraries

There are 15 official libraries administered by the Office of Presidential Libraries, for Presidents Herbert Hoover onward (listed below, along with the Wilson Presidential Library and Museum).





For a list of other presidential libraries, see the following link: http://lincolnlibraryandmuseum.com/presidential-libraries.htm


Presidential Oral History Program at the Miller Center (University of Virginia)


This collection contains extensive interviews with all presidents from Jimmy Carter through George W. Bush, as well as conversations with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.


Colonial/Early America


Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution


This massive project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison traces the process of the ratification of the Constitution by the states.


Colonial North America at Harvard Library


An ever-expanding digitization project of Harvard’s holdings about colonial America, it currently contains nearly 300,000 digitized pages.


Congregational Library and Archives: New England’s Hidden Histories


This archive contains digitized Congregational church records from 17th- and 18th-century New England.


New York Public Library Digital Collections


This expansive set of collections includes the Early American Manuscripts project (with facsimiles of correspondence by key figures from the era of the American Revolution like Jefferson and Hamilton), as well as collections of papers by other important historical figures and more obscure items (e.g. the B’nai B’rith Messenger, a Jewish-American newspaper published in southern California in the 1930s and 1940s).


Thomas Addis Emmet Collection (NY Public Library)


The portion of the Emmet Collection housed in the Manuscripts and Archives Division consists of approximately 10,800 historical manuscripts relating chiefly to the period prior to, during, and following the American Revolution. The collection contains letters and documents by the signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as nearly every prominent historical figure of the period.


Probing the Past


A searchable collection of Virginia and Maryland probate inventories, from 1740-1810.


The Virginia Gazette


The Virginia Gazette was the official newspaper of Virginia, printed in Williamsburg from 1736 until 1780. When the capital of Virginia moved to Richmond in 1780, printers transferred their businesses to the new seat of government.




Slave Voyages


From the website: “The Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade databases are the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world. The new Voyages website itself is the product of three years of development by a multi-disciplinary team of historians, librarians, curriculum specialists, cartographers, computer programmers, and web designers, in consultation with scholars of the slave trade from universities in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.” 


Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade


This massive digital project seeks to identify and visualize the millions of individuals involved in the historical slave trade.


O Say Can You See: Early Washington, D.C. Law & Family


This site contains the digitized records of hundreds of freedom suits filed by enslaved people in Washington, D.C. between 1800 and 1862.


New York Historical Society: Manuscript Collections related to Slavery


From the website: “The library of the New-York Historical Society holds among its many resources a substantial collection of manuscript materials documenting American slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world. The fourteen collections on this web site are among the most important of these manuscript collections. They consist of diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers, and records of institutions. Some of the highlights of these collections include the records of the New York Manumission Society and the African Free School, the diaries and correspondence of English abolitionists Granville Sharp and John Clarkson, the papers of the Boston anti-slavery activist Lysander Spooner, the records of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, the draft of Charles Sumner’s famous speech The Anti-Slavery Enterprise, and an account book kept by the slave trading firm Bolton, Dickens & Co.”


Digital Library on American Slavery


The Digital Library on American Slavery is an expanding resource compiling various independent online collections focused upon race and slavery in the American South, made searchable through a single, simple interface. Although the current focus of DLAS is sources associated with North Carolina, there is considerable data contained herein relating to all 15 slave states and Washington, D.C., including detailed personal information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color.


Frederick Douglass Papers, LOC


The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The online collection, containing approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images), spans the years 1841-1964, with the bulk of the material dating from 1862 to 1865.  


Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1938


One of the individual collections at the Library of Congress, this contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Works Projects Administration (WPA).


Opinions Regarding Slavery: Slave Narratives


This is an original manuscript collection, hosted by Southern University, that was compiled by John Brother Cade, Sr., by 1935. It consists of digitized reports from ex-slaves from 17 states.


The Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection


Via Cornell University, this is an extensive collection of pamphlets (from the mid-19th century) devoted to the anti-slavery struggle.

Antebellum America/Civil War/Late 19th and early-20th century


Making of America


Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.


19th-Century Newspapers


The personal website of scholar Michael Gagnon, this contains links to PDFs of digitized early American newspapers.


Civil War Diaries


This database (put together by Western Michigan University) includes a diverse selection of Civil War era diaries.


Harper’s Civil War


This is a digitized collection of Harper’s Weekly newspapers from 1861 to 1865.


Perseus Collection: 19th-Century American


This collection has a great deal of material from the Civil War era, including memoirs of soldiers, nurses, etc.


Fielding Lewis Papers, 1783-1900


This collection at the University of Chicago contains the business records, legal documents and tax receipts and other records of slaveowner Fielding Lewis that document the management of an antebellum plantation on the James River.


Murdock and Bristol Family Papers


Also at the University of Chicago, this is a digitized collection of papers (largely letters between Fanny Murdock and her mother Sarah Bristol) from a Mississippi family in the period between 1836 and 1866.


Thomas Winston Papers, 1854-1927


Another University of Chicago collection, this includes the papers of a physician who worked with a regiment of Illinois troops during the Civil War.


The Aldo Leopold Archives


This extensive collection (at UW-Madison) chronicles the life of Aldo Leopold, the pioneer wildlife ecologist credited as the father of the United States’ wilderness system. It is an essential collection for anyone interested in environmental history in the United States.


The United States and its Territories: 1870-1925: The Age of Imperialism


Drawn from the University of Michigan’s collections, this includes the full texts of monographs and government documents published in the United States, Spain and the Philippines between 1870 and 1925, with a primary focus on the Spanish-American War and the subsequent period of American governance.


Criminal Trial Transcripts of New York County Collection (1883-1927)


This collection (housed at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice) contains the verbatim typewritten proceedings of 3,326 court cases, held in various courts of New York County.


Race, ethnicity, identity and civil rights


New England Indian Papers Series


This is a massive collection (at Yale University) of New England Native American primary source materials in one virtual collection.


Native American Documents Project


This collection (hosted by CSU-San Marcos) contains the narrative reports of the commissioner for Indian affairs from the 1870s, along with maps and allotment information.


Documents Relating to Indian Affairs


This collection (at UW-Madison) contains a huge range of treaties and other documented interactions between European-Americans and native peoples, from the early 19th century through the early 20th century.


Native American Primary Source Collections online


This guide (courtesy of Sam Houston State University) provides an extensive list of digitized resources (at other institutions) relating to Native American history.


Duke Collection of American Indian Oral History


This collection (through the University of Oklahoma) provides access to transcripts of interviews conducted between 1967 and 1972 with hundreds of Native Americans in Oklahoma.


Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930


This is a digital collection of materials from Harvard University’s libraries and archives documenting voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution until the onset of the Great Depression. It contains more than 2,200 books, pamphlets and serials.

Black Digital Humanities Projects and Resources


This Google Doc is an amazing list of digital humanities projects and resources (some of which feature digitized primary sources) devoted to Black history.


Ida B. Wells Papers, 1884-1976


Also at the University of Chicago, this archive contains original correspondence, newspaper and journal articles written by the pioneering African-American journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett.


The Crisis (NAACP Official Publication, 1910-present)


The Crisis, founded by W.E.B. Du Bois as the official publication of the NAACP, was (and still is) a journal of civil rights, history, politics, and culture and seeks to educate and challenge its readers about issues that continue to plague African Americans and other communities of color. This collection (via Google Books) dates back to 1910.


W.E.B. DuBois Papers, 1803-1999 (bulk: 1877-1963)


This marvelous collection, hosted by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, contains more than 100,000 digitized items (correspondence, speeches, articles, newspaper columns, etc.) connected to DuBois.


Documenting the American South


This is a digital publishing initiative at the University of North Carolina designed to provide access to texts, images and audio files related to southern culture.


Civil Rights Digital Library


This collection at the University of Georgia is particularly useful for the historic television clips (including interviews) relating to the history of the Civil Rights movement.


Mapping Inequality: Redlining in America


This fabulous digital historical project allows students to access the maps and descriptions used by agents of the federal government’s Home Owners Loan Corporation between 1935 and 1940, to carry out redlining, making it difficult or impossible for people (usually African-Americans and immigrant families) to become homeowners.


Bronx African American History Project


This project at Fordham University is dedicated to “uncovering the cultural, political, economic and religious histories of the more than 500,000 people of African descent in the Bronx.” It contains hundreds of transcripts and oral audio files of interviews with New York City’s African Americans, who have “transformed the [Bronx’s] character since the 1930s.”


African Activist Archive Project


The African Activist Archive (maintained by Michigan State University) is preserving and making available online the records of activism in the United States to support the struggles of African peoples against colonialism, apartheid, and social injustice from the 1950s through the 1990s. 


Freedom Summer Digital Archive


This collection, from the Wisconsin Historical Society, contains over 40,000 pages of official records of organizations, personal papers, letters, racist propaganda, diaries, images and newsletters connected to the 1964 Freedom Summer project.


Television News of the Civil Rights Era 1950-1979


This collection (through the University of Virginia) contains television footage from the period particularly from two Roanoke (Virginia) television stations, as well as other relevant documents.


Historic Mexican and Mexican American Press


This collection, hosted by the University of Arizona, “documents and showcases historical Mexican and Mexican American publications” from Tucson, El Paso, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sonora, Mexico from the mid-19th century to the 1970s.


Bracero Archive (UTEP)


This archive (hosted by the University of Texas at El Paso) provides transcripts and audio from hundreds of interviews with former braceros, Mexican guest workers who labored in the United States from the 1940s through the mid-1960s.


Bracero History Archive


This is another collection that contains oral histories pertaining to the Bracero program.


South Asian American Digital Archive


This digital archive contains oral histories, newspaper clippings and other materials that document the experience of South Asian Americans.


Densho Digital Repository


This collection includes oral histories, images and other documents of the Japanese American incarceration experience during the Second World War.


Japanese-American Relocation Archives


The Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives (JARDA) contains thousands of primary sources documenting Japanese American internment.


Occidental College Online Archive of Japanese American Relocation During WWII


From 1941 to 1946, Occidental College President Remsen DuBois Bird and College Librarian Elizabeth McCloy made it their mission to preserve articles, newspapers, pamphlets, and other items related to the forced internment of persons of Japanese ancestry along the West Coast.


Freedom Archives Digital Search Engine


This collection contains documents and thousands of hours of audio and video records from the late-1960s to the mid-1990s pertaining to the history of radical left-wing movements in the Bay Area, the United States, and the word. There are separate collections on Black Liberation, the Chicana/Latina experience, Puerto Rican independence, and more.


Radical America


This is a digital collection of the publication Radical America, initially a product of campus culture, the New Left and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the late 1960s. The collection here runs from 1967 to 1992.


Social reform movements


Alcohol, Temperance & Prohibition


This collection from the Brown University Library Center for Digital Scholarship brings together over 1,600 pieces of ephemera, such as broadsides and pamphlets, that document the quest to make prohibition a reality during the early 20th century.


American Social Hygiene Association Collection


The digitized materials in this collection (maintained by the University of Minnesota) include documents and reports from various American groups oriented towards public health (e.g. eradicating venereal disease and prostitution), child welfare and social services in the 20th century. (Click on “digital objects” to browse the digitized materials, many of which were produced by the American Social Hygiene Association).




California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO: Proceedings and Publications


Proceedings, legislative voting records, selected publications of the CIO, and California AFL-CIO News from the collections of UC Berkeley.


Eugene V. Debs Collection


A guide to the holdings at Indiana State University related to Debs (1855-1926), union leader and founding member of the International Labor Union and IWW, and five-time U.S. presidential candidate on the Socialist Party ticket; some (but not all) of the material has been digitized.


Emma Goldman Papers


The Emma Goldman Papers Project at UC-Berkeley has collected, organized, and edited tens of thousands of documents from around the world by and about Emma Goldman (1869-1940), a leading figure in American anarchism, feminism, and radicalism.


Samuel Gompers Papers


Gompers was president of the American Federation of Labor for almost forty years between 1886 and 1924, and the nation's leading trade unionist and labor spokesman. This is the home of the Papers Project and includes selected documents, a bibliography, an index, microfilm reel guides, and assorted subject guides.


Pennsylvania Labor Legacy


The site from the University of Pittsburgh strives to “map” the historical terrain of the labor movement in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and includes documents sets and an overview of the labor movement.


The 1911 Triangle Factory Fire


This digital collection (through Cornell University) contains materials about the notorious 1911 Triangle Waist Factory fire in New York City which killed 146 people.


Labor Archives of Washington

This fabulous site (hosted by the University of Washington) site includes hundreds of photos, articles and printed ephemera relating to the history of labor in Washington state, arranged in five sections: the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) in the Pacific Northwest; the Seattle General Strike and its aftermath; Anti-Labor Reactions and Labor Espionage; Labor and the New Deal; and Labor in the Modern Era.


The Negro Worker (1928-1932)


This contains digitized issues of the communist-affiliated Negro Worker (1928-1932), published by the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers.


Women Working


This collection at Harvard University is a digital exploration of women’s impact on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression.


The International Teamster


This collection (through George Washington University Libraries and the Internet Archive) contains the digitized editions of the International Teamster magazine (the publication of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) from 1940 to 1969.


Business and Agriculture


Hagley Digital Archives


This website provides online access to items from the Hagley Library collections about the history of business, technology and society. This include photos, annual reports, company films, and oral histories related to the steel industry, the history of brewing, mining, the US Chamber of Commerce, DuPont Company, and more.


Industry Documents and Public Health Library


This is a digital archive of documents created by industries which influence public health, hosted by the University of California-San Francisco Library. It contains extensive collections of primary sources (documents, videos, images) about the tobacco industry, as well as the chemical, food and fossil fuel industries.


Northwest Historical Annual Reports


This archive is a growing digital collection of annual financial reports of companies currently or historically based in the Pacific Northwest, dating from the 1930s through the 1990s. Companies range from regional firms to industry giants (e.g. Weyerhauser and Boeing).




This project, supported by Duke University Libraries, presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. It concentrates on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II.


Farm, Field and Fireside Collection


This collection contains thousands of digitized issues of 25 historically significant U.S. farm weekly newspapers published in the late 19th and twentieth centuries (from 1841 to 1950).


Music and Popular Culture


Lester S Levy Sheet Music Collection


This collection, part of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library of Johns Hopkins University contains over 29,000 pieces of music (particularly American popular music) from 1780 to 1960, with the materials before 1923 being fully digitized.


Circus and Allied Arts Collection


This collection (at Illinois State University) contains photos and textual primary sources (including route books, magazines and programs) devoted to the history of the American circus.




Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library


The collections within this archive (maintained by the US Army) focus on military history, including materials about the American army in the First World War and Russo-Japanese war, operational documents from the Second World War, and materials from Fort Leavenworth.


Polar Bear Expedition Digital Materials


This digital collection (at the University of Michigan) chronicles the experience of American soldiers who found themselves in Russia in 1918, fighting Bolshevik revolutionaries for months after the Armistice ended hostilities in France.


Naval History and Heritage Command


This archive contains material relating to the history of the U.S. Navy (action reports from the Second World War, letters and papers, material on Apollo 11, etc.).


Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project


This collection documents the female experience in the Armed Forces through letters, papers, photographs, published materials, uniforms, artifacts, and oral histories. It contains more than one hundred manuscripts and more than two hundred oral history interviews.


Rutgers Oral History Archives


The highlights from this oral history archive (at Rutgers University) include the materials on women in the Second World War (and the war itself more generally).


World War Poster Collection (First and Second World Wars)


This collection, housed by the University of North Texas, contains all sorts of dramatic posters from the world wars, most (but not all) American in provenance.


World War I Pamphlets


Originally in the collection at Columbia University, now hosted by the Internet Archive, this contains fantastic pamphlets and tracts from the First World War. Most of the material here is from the United States.


Daniel Ellsberg Archive Project


While not exclusively related to military history, this ever-growing digital collection (at UMass-Amherst) contains the papers of Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971, revealing invaluable details about the US government’s policy in Vietnam. (Scroll down to the section for “The papers” and follow the links for access to digitized materials).  


Cinema and Television


Media History Library


This website is the result of an initiative (led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison) to digitize historic books and magazines about film, broadcasting and recorded sound for broad public access. These include trade publications (e.g. Moving Picture World from 1907 to 1927), fan magazines (e.g. Photoplay from 1914 to 1963), early global texts about cinema, government and law documents, and a collection related to the Hollywood studio system.


American Archive of Public Broadcasting


This archive preserves “the most significant public television and radio programs of the past 60 years." As of January 2021, more than 7,000 historic public radio and television programs are now available for streaming, as well as data records for other items.




Peel’s Prairie Provinces


This is an incredible compendium of digitized newspapers from Alberta and the Canadian prairies, dating back to the early 20thcentury.


Doukhobor Collection of Simon Fraser University


This website is a “collection of digitized images, print material and ephemera relating to the settlement of the Doukhobors” (a Ukrainian/Russian pacifist community) in western Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century.


Archives of the First World War


This is an incredible database that allows researchers to access the complete personnel files for nearly 150,000 Canadian soldiers who served in the First World War. It is administered by the Library and Archives of Canada. 


Archives of the Second World War


This is another expanding digital compendium of the experiences of Canadian soldiers in the Second World War, also administered by the Library and Archives of Canada.

The Online Archive of California (OAC)


The OAC brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives. Over 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters, and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to collections are available.  Most of the repositories about California history listed below can be searched using the OAC.


Southern California Library


The Library holds collections that span the breadth of social and political movements--from labor, civil rights, education, and housing, to immigration, war and peace, and civil liberties. These collections include over 400 manuscript collections, as well as books, periodicals, subject files, pamphlets, posters, photographs, films, audiotapes, and more. 


USC Digital Library


Great online version of USC’s vast holdings; particularly strong in Los Angeles and West Coast history covering the last 200 years. The main library at USC (Doheny) also maintains strong California-related collections.


California Digital Newspaper Collection


This is a great compendium of historical California newspapers (particularly local newspapers).




This is a terrific resource for the history of the modern Olympic movement and sport in the United States. Of particular interest are the official reports from every IOC-sanctioned Olympic Games since 1896.




Free public gateway to over 150,000 digitized primary source materials held by the University of California campuses. Especially organized for use by K-12 classrooms. Includes information and lesson plans for teachers.


LA as Subject Database


L.A. as Subject is an alliance of research archives, libraries, and collections dedicated to preserving the rich history of the Los Angeles region. L.A. as Subject is working to increase the visibility of local archives and improve access to them for students, researchers, K-12 educators, and everyone else with a stake in Southern California history.  Smaller archives and repositories, many of them topic or community specific, can be found here.

ETANA (Electronic Tools and Ancient Near East Archives)


This collection, although cumbersome to navigate, has many core texts in translation and other materials from the Ancient Near East.


The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago


This site offers access to the artifacts and other visual items from the Ancient Near East in the museum’s collection.


Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean World


This collection at the University of Chicago focuses on materials published between 1850 and 1950 (including translations of primary sources).


CDLI (Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative)


This massive project is an effort to create a digital space for images of thousands of cuneiform tablets, physically held in museums around the world. It is cumbersome to navigate, but do note the CDLI Wiki (which explains what you might look for) and the other related links.


ORACC (Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus)


While a bit tricky to use, this list of digital projects includes cuneiform texts from many eras available in translation. See, for instance, the Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Period (http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/rinap/), among others.


Lacus Curtius


This is a helpful collection of complete English translations of Greek and Latin primary texts from the ancient Roman world.



This is a great collection of primary texts from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds in English translation, including a number of inscriptions.

Forum Romanum


This is a very complete database of Latin authors from antiquity and the Middle Ages, many in English translation.


This is a free database for finding publications about archaeology and material culture for the ancient Mediterranean and, to a lesser extent, medieval Europe. (Useful for secondary sources!)


Christian Classics Ethereal Library


This is a database for translations of important sources from ancient-Mediterranean and medieval-European Christian authors.


A database for English translations of texts from Jewish authors from throughout Jewish history.


Perseus Digital Library – Greek and Roman Materials


This is a fabulous and extensive collection of classic Latin and Greek texts.


The British Museum Collection Online


This collection has over a million images (particularly good for artifacts, sculptures, coins, etc.)


The Metropolitan Museum of Art


This is another digital portal into the collections of the MMA, where you can access images of public-domain works from the collection.


Indus Valley Civilization


This site contains material on the civilizations of the Indus Valley, including articles by scholars and links to the digital collections of museums with artifacts (look under “Resources” at this website.


General | Great Britain and Ireland | Western Europe | Eastern Europe/The Balkans/Russia




Digital Libraries of Europe


This list (produced by New York University) notes the various national libraries in Europe and their online presence.


European History Primary Sources


This is a (slightly confusing) gateway to other databases about European history.




This is really useful as a compendium of visual materials from Europe (great for images and also some texts). It’s a collection of art, artifacts, books, films and music from European museums, libraries and archives.


Great Britain and Ireland


Court Rolls of Ramsey, Hepmangrove and Bury, 1268-1600


This database at the University of Michigan explores the lives of ordinary people and the institutions of a rural community in the East Midlands of medieval England from the end of the 13th century until the beginning of the 17th century.


Early English Books Online


This database at the University of Michigan contains a huge range of texts written between 1450 and 1700.


Perseus Collection: Renaissance Materials


This collection focuses on early 16th and 17th century works by a variety of authors (including several commentaries on Ireland).




This site contains over 200 years of parliamentary debates from the Parliament of the United Kingdom.


UK Legislation 1267 to the present


The original (as enacted) and revised versions of legislation in the United Kingdom.



Digital Microfilm at the British National Archives


This is a list of the various historic records of the British government (from the Admiralty through the Cabinet to the War Office) that are accessible (with a free account) online. Included here are the minutes and memoranda from the Washington Conference on Disarmament (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C3837) between November 1921 and February 1922.


BAILII Databases


This is an extensive comprehensive and useful set of databases offering access to case law, legislation and court decisions for England and Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Jersey, St-Helena, and the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The Privy Council Decisions (https://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/) database, for instance, is a fantastic set of court records pertaining to the British empire in the 19th and 20th centuries (including India and Canada).


Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection


These digital images (drawn from the collections of Yale University) mostly concern 18th-century British prints, drawings, ephemera and other materials related to the world of the Whig politician and writer Horace Walpole.


Palmerston Correspondence and the Anglo-Jewish Association


This digitized manuscript collection at the University of Southampton contains the semi-official correspondence of the third Viscount Palmerston (prime minister of Great Britain in the mid-19th century) and the records of the Anglo-Jewish Association, a group that supported Jewish philanthropic interests from the late 19th century onward around the world.


The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913


A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.


Crime Broadsides

Collected by the Harvard University Law School Library, this is a fantastic digital compendium of broadsides sold to audiences at public executions in 18th and 19th century Britain.


Legacies of British Slave-ownership


This searchable database at University College London documents the identity of all slave-owners in the British colonies and all the estates in the British Caribbean colonies at the time slavery ended.


Georgian Papers Online


This catalogue contains descriptions and digitized images of material dating from the reigns of George I to William IV in Great Britain, including personal letters, diaries, account books and records of the Royal Household.

Victorian Lives and Letters Consortium


This ever-expanding digital history project includes the digitized papers and letters of Thomas Carlyle, W.E. Gladstone, John Ruskin and Michael Field.


London’s Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972


The reports were produced each year by the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) of a district and set out the work done by his public health and sanitary officers. The reports provided vital data on birth and death rates, infant mortality, incidence of infectious and other diseases, and a general statement on the health of the population. 


Welsh Newspapers


This is a searchable database (through the National Library of Wales) for newspapers and publications in Wales from the early 19th century through 1919.


First World War (UK)


This is a searchable archive about British soldiers in World War I; you can search for places, units, people, etc., and consult digitized diaries, etc. Administered by the National Archives.


World War I Online


This collection at the University of Wisconsin contains a wide range of materials about the history of the First World War, including American commentary on conditions in Belgium and Serbia, French descriptions of the war, etc.


Sources on British Healthcare, 1900-1948


This collection (through Warwick University) contains a selection of primary sources related to British healthcare before the foundation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, focusing particularly on the debate over national health and the campaign for a state-run health service.


British Diplomatic Oral History Program


This collection includes oral interviews with British diplomats, and is particularly useful for understanding Great Britain’s role in the world after the Second World War.


British Pathé/Reuters


This website contains links to the British Pathé and Reuters historical collection of news films that aired from 1910 to the late 1970s. There are particular collections about wars (e.g. the First World War, the Irish revolutionary period, the Russian Revolution), politics and political figures, British royalty, sport, and more.


Gay Left (United Kingdom)


This is an archive of ten issues of a socialist journal published in London, U.K., between 1975 and 1980, examining the links between socialism and gay liberation.


Margaret Thatcher Archive


This document archive contains declassified files, engagement diaries and other materials pertaining to Margaret Thatcher’s career, and materials on other issues (like the Reagan-Gorbachev summits) that did not directly involve Thatcher.


1641 Depositions


Fully searchable digital edition of the 1641 Depositions at Trinity College Dublin Library, comprising transcripts and images of all 8,000 depositions, examinations and associated materials in which Protestant men and women of all classes told of their experiences following the outbreak of the rebellion by the Catholic Irish in October, 1641. You need to set up a (free) login to access them.


Ireland in the 19th Century


These sources at the University of Wisconsin focus mostly on 19th century accounts of Ireland, with a few random other exceptions.


DIPPAM: Documenting Ireland: Parliament, People and Migration

There are three databases included here (listed below)


EPPI: Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland


Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland (EPPI ) - which comprises scans of over 15,000 official publications relating to all aspects of Irish affairs during the period of the Act of Union, 1800-1922, including bills, reports, royal commissions of inquiry and the published census returns. It is a rich source for the social history of Ireland, as well as for statistics and evidence relating to population, emigration, famine, crime and political movements.


IED: Irish Emigration Database


The IED is a virtual library of emigration-related primary sources, principally letters to and from emigrants, compiled by the Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh. This extensive collection of more than 33,000 records is drawn from a number of collections, including the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and many private donors, and is capable of expansion as new records become available. IIt covers a wide time period, but with a concentration on the period between c.1780 and c.1920.


VMR – Voices of Migration and Return


VMR comprises over 90 life-narrative interviews conducted with returned and non-returned migrants from Ulster (9-counties) gathered during the course of two studies on contemporary migration (2004-2008). The study participants represent a range of geographic origins within Ulster, class backgrounds and religious denominations.


CAIN: Conflict Archive on the Internet


Maintained by the University of Ulster, this site contains an extensive on-line digital archive of source materials and information on the topics of victims, survivors and commemoration in Northern Ireland.

Irish Left Archive


This is an online archive of materials related to Irish left politics, dating back to the debates over Home Rule at the beginning of the 20th century.


Western Europe


Biblioteca Italiana


This resource, run by the "Università di Roma, La Sapienza" contains a vast amount of Italian primary sources with xml markup, ranging from the 13th-18th centuries. One of its most useful features is the ability to perform full-text searches.


The Garibaldi Panorama and the Risorgimento


The Garibaldi & the Risorgimento digital archive seeks to provide a comprehensive resource for the interdisciplinary study and teaching of the life and deeds of one of the protagonists of the Italian unification process, Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). At the heart of this archive is a dynamic visualization of the Garibaldi panorama, a unique survival of a popular form of 19th-century public art.


Germany under Reconstruction


This is a fabulous collection at the University of Wisconsin about the occupation and reconstruction of Germany after World War II; it contains sources in German and English concerning a range of historical actors.


Nuremberg Trials Project


This collection at the Harvard University Law School Library contains trial transcripts, briefs, documents books, evidence files, and other papers from the trials of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany.


Rote Armee Fraktion


This is a collection of more than 1,200 digitized documents by and about the Rote Armee Fraktion, a militant left-wing terrorist group that operated in West Germany in the 1970s. Most of the documents are in German, but some materials are in different languages.


Gallica – Bibliothèque Nationale de France


This is the digital branch of the French national library. There is a tremendous cache of digitized material here (almost all of it in French, obviously), ranging from medieval manuscripts to more contemporary texts.


French Revolution Digital Archive


This collaboration between Stanford University and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France contains digitized images from the period of the Revolution and the archives of Parliamentary proceedings (in French) during the Revolution.

Esternay Project


This is an incredible collection of thousands of digitized letters from one family in western France that span the 19th century. Many (but not all) of the letters have been translated into English; they represent a window into provincial 19th-century Europe.


French Foreign Official Gazettes


This is a digitized collection hosted by Harvard University Law School of official publications (often legal in nature) from French-speaking colonies in Africa and Southeast Asia, mostly from the early 20th century.


BelgicaPress at the KBR/BRB (Belgium)


This site, produced by the Belgian national library, is a fully searchable database of digitized Belgian newspapers, from 1830 to 1950. The newspapers are in Dutch, French and German, but the website can be viewed in English.


Eastern Europe/The Balkans/Russia


Travels in Southeastern Europe


This marvelous database (hosted by the University of Michigan) provides access to over 100 texts and travel narratives from the 19th and early 20th centuries about the Balkans.


Eastern European and Slavic Studies Collection


Another collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this focuses on Russia and Central Asia in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. While some of the sources are in Russian, there are quite a few travel narratives written in English that date from the late 19th century.


Chronicles of Terror (Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and Valor)


This Polish collection provides access to the Second World War accounts of Polish citizens (translated into English!) and their fate under German and Soviet occupation.


Soviet Posters Collection


This collection at the University of Chicago contains 19 Soviet political posters produced in the early 1930s.


Albania Today


This is a digitized compendium of materials published in English by the ruling Communist party in Albania (particularly during the 1970s).


Audio Archive of Russian History


The archive consists of recordings dating back to the earliest years of the Soviet state. Included are the voices and speeches of key political figures, including Lenin, Kerensky, Kirov, Beria, Stalin, Gorbachev, and others. Among the recorded interviews are Anna Larina (Bukharin's widow); Valentin Berezhkov, Stalin's wartime interpreter; Yelena Bonner, Sakharov's widow; and Lev Pevsner, a survivor of the Leningrad Blockade. There is also on-the-scene recorded sound of many events in Soviet history, including: the Russian and American armies meeting at the Elbe; Stalin's funeral; the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev, etc.


Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online


The Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online provides access to English-language digitized materials selected from the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System (HPSSS). The digital collection consists chiefly of summary transcripts of 705 interviews conducted with refugees from the USSR during the early years of the Cold War. A unique source for the study of Soviet society between 1917 and the mid-1940s, the HPSSS includes vast amounts of one-of-a-kind data on political, economic, social and cultural conditions.

Sub-sections: The MIddle East | Africa


Middle East


Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA)


The Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA), maintained by Rice University, is a digital archive that focuses on Western interactions with the Middle East, particularly travels to Egypt during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. TIMEA offers electronic texts such as travel guides, museum catalogs, and travel narratives, photographic and hand-drawn images of Egypt, and historical maps of Egypt and Cyprus.


Svoboda Diaries Project


This digitization project explores the diaries of two European merchants based in Baghdad for much of the second half of the 19th century, and chronicles their travels and daily activities.


Ottoman Diplomats: Letters from the Imperial Legation in Brussels, 1849-1914


This website (in English) offers access to the diplomatic reports (in French) of Ottoman envoys in Belgium (1849–1914). The site contains photographic reproductions of the originals, along with transcriptions.


Palestine Poster Project


This ongoing project has collected over 5,000 posters about Palestine, ranging from the late 19th century to the present.


British Pathé – Israel and the Palestinian Territories


This collection (a subset of the British Pathé/Reuters collections in general) focuses on Israel and the Palestinian territories, and contains many historic newsreels and features.


The Israeli Left Archives


These archives (which include lots of online content) are devoted to the radical left and the women’s peace movement in Israel in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (as well as their connections to other international groups).


UNRWA Film and Photo Archive


This archive of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency contains historic films and photos concerning the plight of Palestinian refugees after 1948. 


Qatar Digital Library


This digital archive covers the modern history and culture of the Arabian Gulf, including archival filers, letters, maps and photographs from the early 20th century onward. There is great material here about the British oil industry and its presence in what is now Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.




This website is a wonderful jumping-off point for visual resources and images related to Islamic, Middle Eastern and North African studies.




African Digital Online Library


This website contains links to a wide range of African oral histories, from different parts of the continent.


16th to 20th century maps of Africa


This is a digitized collection of 113 maps from the 16th through early 20th centuries of Africa.


Rwandan Genocide Archive


This archive contains over 8,000 photographs, videos and documents (from newspapers to declassified files to materials from the International Tribunal Court for Rwanda) related to the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi.


South African Historical Papers Online


This is an extensive set of digitized collections (from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg)  of documents about South African history, ranging from the 18th century to the 20th century.


Winterton Collection of East African Photographs, 1860-1960


This collection (through Northwestern University) Includes over 1,700 photographs showing life in East Africa from 1860-1960.


South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Committee


This site offers full-text access to records of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee (and is a joint effort between the Historical Papers Archive of Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg and the South African History Archives Project). It contains great primary material about human rights abuses and apartheid in South Africa from 1960 to 1994.


Digital Innovation South Africa


This is a digital archive of materials related to South African history, particularly the struggle against apartheid.


African Studies Collection


This collection (UW-Madison) is mostly useful for the digitized versions of 16th and 17th-century Portuguese travelers to Africa.


Livingstone Online


This digital archive (partially maintained by UCLA) contains PDFs and other images of the famous 19th-century Scottish missionary David Livingstone’s letters and other writings.


African Times


The African Times was a newspaper published by English-speaking elites in Cape Coast (now Ghana) in the 1860s and 1870, during the period when that region became more closely integrated into the British Empire. This collection is hosted by San Francisco State University.


Basel Mission Archives


This is the digital portal for the archives of the Basel Mission, an inter-denominational Protestant missionary society (originally founded in 1815) that trained missionaries and established centers of its own in Africa and Asia. The digitized collections mostly included images and maps.


Liberian Letters collection


 This small collection includes letters from formers slaves who settled in Liberia in the mid-nineteenth century.


Onitsha Market Literature


This site consists of stories, plays, advice and moral discourses published primarily in the 1960s by local presses in the lively market town of Onitsha, an important commercial site in the Igbo-speaking region of southeastern Nigeria.


Emory University Slave Voyages


The Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade databases are the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world.


African Activist Archive Project


The African Activist Archive (also listed above under American history), maintained by Michigan State University) is preserving and making available online the records of activism in the United States to support the struggles of African peoples against colonialism, apartheid, and social injustice from the 1950s through the 1990s.


South Asia | East Asia | Southeast Asia | Oceania 

South Asia


Indus Valley Civilization


This site contains material on the civilizations of the Indus Valley, including articles by scholars and links to the digital collections of museums with artifacts (look under “Resources” at this website).


Centre of South Asian Studies


This is a searchable database at Cambridge University of oral histories involving many key figures in 20 th-century Indian history.


Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi


This database, maintained by the GandhiServe charitable foundation, includes Gandhi’s published works, organized chronologically.


Digital Colonial Documents – India


This collection includes census reports from the late 19 th  century, 19 th-century travel guides for India and other handbooks.


Digital South Asia Library


The highlights here (in a collection hosted by the University of Chicago) include an 1898 archaeological survey of India, and several different versions of the   Imperial Gazetteer of India  (compiled in the early 20 th  century)


Medical History of British India


A production of the National Library of Scotland, this collection consists of official publications varying from short reports to multi-volume histories related to disease, public health and medical research circa 1850 to 1920.


Privy Council Decisions


This is a fantastic set of court records pertaining to the British empire in the 19 th  and 20 th  century India.


Mutiny at the Margins: The Indian Uprising of 1857


This collection includes primary materials (some useful, some too short) about the Uprising.


South Asian American Digital Archive


This digital archive contains oral histories, newspaper clippings and other materials that document the experience of South Asian Americans.

National Archives of India Digital Collections


There are (as of January 2021) 15 curated digital collections here pertaining to Indian history (both from the colonial period and post-independence), including cartographic records, government documents, about defense, education and health, politics, and education, etc.


Kabul Times


This archive (through the University of Nebraska-Omaha) contains the digitized issues of   The Kabul Times, an English-language newspaper published in Afghanistan by the Afghan government, from 1962 to 1983.


East Asia


East Asia Collection (Wason) – Korea


This website, maintained by Cornell University, lists a wide range of free online databases (largely in Korean) with primary sources from the Chosun Dynastry, digitized old books and documents from the Royal Jangseogak Archives.


Korean Independence Outbreak Movement


This archive from Columbia University’s holdings documents the early 1919 demonstrations against Japanese rule in Korea and includes English-language pamphlets.


Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia Visions


This amazing digitization project includes at least 350 travel accounts and guidebooks written by French and English-speaking travelers to Southeast Asia in the late 19 th  and early 20 th  centuries.


SouthEast Asian Images and Texts


Part of a larger digital project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this collection of texts is focused on the American involvement in Laos from the 1950s through 1970s.


Newspaper SG (Archive of Singapore’s newspapers)


This is a fabulous digitized archive of newspapers from Singapore (maintained by the Singapore national government) including some titles (e.g. The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser) that are digitized back to the 1830s.




Australian Newspaper Archive (National Library of Australia)


This is an open database of Australian newspapers going back to the early 1800s.


Australia Left Review


This is an archive (hosted by the University of Wollongong Australia) of   Australia Left Review, a monthly journal published between 1966 and 1993 by the Communist Party of Australia, and is particularly useful as a history of left-wing politics, industrial relations, human rights and the environment in Australia during that period.


Koori History Website


This contains resources (including documents, newspaper articles, video and audio clips) on the struggles of Black Indigenous Australians, dating back to the early 20 th  century.

SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials) Listing of digital primary sources


This site hosts a database of listings that provide links to open access digitized collections of primary sources that relate to Latin America and the Caribbean. (In other words, it’s a very useful guide to other databases).


Early Caribbean Digital Archive


The Early Caribbean Digital Archive (ECDA) is a publicly available archive platform for accessing, researching, and contributing pre-twentieth-century Caribbean archival materials.


The Danish West Indies


This archive draws off the databases of the Danish National Archives, and contains images, and digitized records pertaining to the Danish West Indies (now the U.S. Virgin Islands) from 1672 to 1917. (Earlier records are in Danish, but some later ones, including census forms, are in English).


Digital Library of the Caribbean


The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative of partners within the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean that provides users with access to Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials held in archives, libraries, and private collections.


Ibero-American Electronic Text Series


This project, developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is devoted to Latin American and Iberian works in the humanities. The series holds over 40 titles in Spanish and Portuguese that span from the medieval to the contemporary period.


Biblioteca Digital del Patrimonio Iberoamericano





This project is a growing repository of digital resources – written documents, photographs, videos, audio recordings, books, oral histories and more --- about historical and cultural memory in Mexico.


Alfredo Montalvo Bolivian Digital Pamphlets


This is a tremendous collection of 19th-century materials from Bolivia.


Latin American Pamphlet Digital Collection


This collection hosted by Harvard University contains pamphlets produced in Latin America (particularly Chile, Cuba, Bolivia and Mexico) in the 19th and early 2th centuries.


Opening the Archives: Documenting US-Brazil Relations, 1960s-1980s


Opening the Archives is a joint effort by Brown University and the Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Paraná, Brazil to digitize and index 100,000 U.S. State Department documents on Brazil from 1963-73 and make them available to the public on a open-access website.


Latin American Posters Collection


Hosted by Princeton University, this collection includes nearly 2,000 posters produced by a wide range of social activists, NGOs, governmental agencies and political parties across Latin American.


Taller de Gráfica Popular Prints and Posters


This collection at Princeton University contains works by the Taller de Gráfica Popular, founded in 1937 by Mexican artists Leopoldo Méndez, Luis Arenal and Pablo O’Higgins, as the first self-supporting art workshop in Mexico to publish their own work. Their work gives a window onto Mexican art and culture from the 1930s through the 1970s.

The databases listed below (some of which have been already noted above) deal with transnational and thematic topics.



Global | Diplomatic history | The international Left | Missionaries and Church history |   Medicine and public health | Science and technology | Gender | Jewish studies | Sport | First World War




Endangered Archives


The Endangered Archives Programme facilitates the “digitization of archives around the world that are in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration.” There is an amazing array of sources here (new projects announced in October 2020 include palace archives from the Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim, government and church records from the Turks and Caicos Islands, 19 th  Century Bulgarian Manuscripts and the Ghana Railway Corporation Archive). You can search by language and geographic area.


Diplomatic history


League of Nations archive


This project aims to ensure free online access to the entirety of the archives of the League of Nations (1920-1946); it already contains thousands of political documents and images.


The Wilson Center Digital Archive


The Digital Archive contains once-secret documents from governments all across the globe, uncovering new sources and providing fresh insights into the history of international relations and diplomacy. It focuses on the interrelated histories of the Cold War, Korea, and Nuclear Proliferation.


The international Left


The International Institute of Social History


The IISH was founded in the 1930s in the Netherlands, and contains all sorts of archival material (not all of which has been digitized) about international socialist, anarchist, communist and other left-wing movements around the globe, from the 1920s to more recent times. Scroll to the bottom of the page to browse through their online collections, or to consult finding aids.


League Against Imperialism Archives


This archive contains documents from the League Against Imperialism (established by the Comintern in 1927 to fight against imperialism on behalf of international communism).


Missionaries and Church history


Day Missions Collection


These collections (at Yale University) include a wide range of digitized materials on the history of Christian missionaries (of many denominations), ranging from annual reports and periodicals of mission agencies and church bodies, to selected materials from the archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education. Much of the material here concerns missionaries in Asia.


American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM)


This project contains records and reports from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which operated mission stations in the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans from 1820 into the 20 th  century.


Basel Mission Archives


This is the digital portal for the archives of the Basel Mission, an inter-denominational Protestant missionary society (originally founded in 1815) that trained missionaries and established centers of its own in Africa and Asia. The digitized collections mostly included images and maps.


Medicine and public health


Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics


This is a digital library collection at Harvard University that includes digitized copies of books, serials, pamphlets and manuscripts about the history of disease, ranging from cholera epidemics in the 19 th  century to the London plague of 1665 to tropical diseases and the construction of the Panama Canal.


Wellcome Library Digital Collections


This digital archive contains fantastic collections of material related to the history of medicine. Particular collections include: the Medical Officer of Health Reports for London (from 1848 to 1972), the records of the Royal Army Medical Corps (which includes over 130,000 digitized pages of correspondence, reports, personal field diaries, memoirs, photographs and memorabilia by former officers and men of the Corps, from 17 th-century conflicts through the First and Second World Wars); and collections of recipe books and manuscripts from the 16 th  century to the 19 th  century.


Archives of the History of American Psychology


This is apparently the largest repository of manuscripts, monographs, media, and artifacts relevant to the history of psychology and related human sciences. The collections document the history of psychology in all of its forms, tracing it from the laboratory rooms of the late nineteenth century to hospitals, schools, and businesses throughout the twentieth century


Global Health Chronicles


This is a collection of materials on public health efforts to prevent, control and eradicate global disease. It contains oral histories, photographs, and documents pertaining to smallpox, malaria, and guinea worm.


Medicine and Madison Ave


Through Duke University, this presents images and historical material for approximately 600 health-related advertisements printed in newspapers and magazines from the 1910s through the 1950s. Includes a wide range of products such as cough and cold remedies, laxatives and indigestion aids, and vitamins and tonics, among others. In addition to the advertisements themselves, the MMA website includes historical material that puts health-related advertising into a broader perspective.


National Library of Medicine Digital Projects


This collection allows you to browse digitized American medical books from 1610-1920, historical anatomical atlases, digitized books on the cholera pandemics of the 1800s, an exhibition on Native Peoples’ concepts of health and illness, materials from the First World War, and more.


American Medical Association Archives


A number of AMA publications, dating back to the mid-19 th  century, are archived at this site.


Yale History of Medicine Collections


This website (through Yale University) contains a series of wonderful digital collections on the history of medicine, including historic tobacco advertising and historical medical posters.


Aids History Project Collections


A collection of AIDS-related materials from UCSF and San Francisco area community organizations.


Industry Documents and Public Health Library


This is a digital archive of documents created by industries which influence public health, hosted by the University of California-San Francisco Library. It contains extensive collections of primary sources (documents, videos, images) about the tobacco industry, as well as the chemical, food and fossil fuel industries.


Science and Technology


Darwin Online


This is a digitized collection of the papers and manuscripts of Charles Darwin.


American Institute of Physics/Niels Bohr Library and Archives


The Niels Bohr Library & Archives is a repository and clearinghouse for information in the history of physics, astronomy, geophysics and allied fields. See also the extensive oral interviews with prominent physicists.

https://www.aip.org/history-prograch rms/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories


Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists


The web archives (hosted by Google) for this journal go back to 1945.


Joint Committee on Atomic Energy


This collection (through Stanford University) contains published committee hearings and other materials from the (Congressional) Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, which existed between 1946 and 1977.


California Institute of Technology Archives


This includes, among other materials, oral histories with prominent Caltech faculty, and the Paul McCready papers (documenting the work of the Caltech graduate who developed the first human-powered aircraft – the Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross).


The Einstein Papers Project


Also at Caltech, this is an ongoing project to digitize the work of Albert Einstein.


Engineering and Technology History Oral History Collections


This website contains links to the transcripts of a wide range of interviews with figures in the history of engineering and technology.


NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Oral Histories


This collection contains 40 oral histories of former employees at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.


The Woman Engineer Journal


This is the complete digitized set of   The Woman Engineer, the journal of the Women’s Engineering Society (in Great Britain) that traces the history of women in engineering from 1919 until 2014.




Women Writers Project


Women Writers Online is a full-text collection of early women’s writing in English, published by the Women Writers Project at Northeastern University. It includes full transcriptions of texts published between 1526 and 1850, focusing on materials that are rare or inaccessible. It provides an unparalleled view of women’s literate culture in the early modern period.


Women in World History


This collection of primary sources on women in world history (poems, newspaper articles, etc.) includes material spanning the globe from Africa to Southeast Asia. It is probably aimed more at world history teachers than at researchers.


Women Working


This collection at Harvard University is a digital exploration of women’s impact on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression.


In her Own Right


This is an ongoing project that includes digitized materials about the history of women’s activism from 1820 to 1920.


Women in Journalism Oral History Project


This website offers a few online transcripts from a much broader set of oral interviews with notable women in journalism.


Jewish Studies



This database offers English translations of texts from Jewish authors from throughout Jewish history.


Blavatnik Archive Collections


This archive contains primary source materials about 20 th-century Jewish and world history with a special emphasis on anti-semitism, World War I, World War II and Soviet Russia (including periodicals, posters, drawings and postcards).


Historical Jewish Press


The digitized newspapers at the National Library of Israel are mostly in Yiddish, Hebrew or other languages, but there are several English-language Jewish newspapers (including one from Los Angeles and one from Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s).


American Jewish Archives/Isaac Meyer Wise Digital Archive


This digital archive is a freely accessible, comprehensive electronic edition of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900), the leading voice behind the rise of American Reform Judaism in the late 19 th  century.


American Jewish Committee Archives


This archive contains material from over 100 years of the New York-based American Jewish Committee, including more than a million documents and hundreds of movies and radio shows.


Guide to Holocaust Oral Histories, Memoirs


This site (from New York University) offers a good overview of the online repositories for oral histories and memoirs of the Holocaust.


Wiener Holocaust Library


This archive, based in London, is “one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust, the Nazi era and genocide.” It contains published and unpublished accounts of the Holocaust (many recently translated into English), press cuttings, and photographs.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


This important collection contains digitized interviews with Holocaust survivors, as well as artifacts, other documents, photos, and films.


Chronicles of Terror (Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and Valor)


This Polish collection provides access to the Second World War accounts of Polish citizens (translated into English!) and their fate under German and Soviet occupation. While it doesn’t appear to contain testimonies from Polish Jews, it does have eyewitness accounts about the fate of Polish Jews and the extermination camp at Treblinka.






This is a terrific resource for the history of the modern Olympic movement and sport in the United States. Of particular interest are the official reports from every IOC-sanctioned Olympic Games since 1896.


Sports Illustrated (1954-present)

The archives of the main weekly American sports magazine are actually available online through the CPP library – simply search for “Sports Illustrated” in the main catalog, and one of the ensuing links will give you the option of online access back to 1954. (The other three links only give you access to the magazine from the early 1990s onward).


Stark Center E-Archives


This is an online archive (hosted by the University of Texas) focused on the history of physical culture (weightlifting, bodybuilding, etc.) in the United States.


First World War


The World War I Document Archive


This is a marvelous site maintained by Brigham Young University. The main page provides links to official treaties and papers; documents by year; diaries, memoirs, etc.; other books; a biographical dictionary; images etc.


The site also contains an invaluable link to other World War I sites (some of which are listed below)


Another version of the site (with mostly, but not entirely, similar links is here):



University of Wisconsin World War I Collection


This collection includes all sorts of materials (from American and European observers) that cover war and its immediate aftermath. This collection also includes primary source accounts of the Armenian genocide.


World War Poster Collection (First and Second World Wars)


This collection, housed by the University of North Texas, contains all sorts of dramatic posters from the world wars, most (but not all) American in provenance.


World War I Pamphlets


Originally in the collection at Columbia University, now hosted by the Internet Archive, this contains fantastic pamphlets and tracts from the First World War. Most of the material here is from the United States.


National Archives (United States) Resource Page


This lists many other accessible sites (some of which you might have already encountered) with WWI primary and secondary materials.


Library of Congress (US) Collections


The LOC’s digital holdings include material about the First World War, although concentrating on American sources.


Polar Bear Expedition Digital Materials


This digital collection (at the University of Michigan) chronicles the experience of American soldiers who found themselves in Russia in 1918, fighting Bolshevik revolutionaries for months after the Armistice ended hostilities in France.


National Archives (UK)


This site (although frustrating to navigate) contains a lot of digitized material, including selected unit war diaries (not personal diaries).


Imperial War Museum (UK)


This site has an incredible variety of materials in its collections; you need to apply filters (e.g. First World War).


British Library World War One Collection


This includes digitized texts, images, maps, and artifacts.


Australian War Memorial


This website includes a wide variety of digitized collections, including unit war diaries (many of which were typed!)


Australian Newspaper Archive (National Library of Australia)


This is an open database of Australian newspapers going back to the early 1800s.


Archives New Zealand


This site offers digitized records, personnel files and unit diaries.    


Library and Archives Canada – First World War Collection


This site has terrific material, including the personnel records of the members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.


Mémoire des Hommes (French Army)


This is an astounding digitization project of the daily unit dairies, orders of the day, etc. for the French armed forces during World War I. It also includes the individual services records of some notable French soldiers (e.g. General Franchet d’Esperey)(In French)


1914-18: Prisoners of the First World War (International Committee of the Red Cross) Historical Archives


This digitization project allows you to search for all five million individual prisoners detained during the First World War. It also includes (in French and German) the official Red Cross reports on prisoner of war camps.

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection


This collection at the University of Texas includes historical maps of the world.


Maps at the University of Chicago


This link to the main page of University of Chicago Special Collections contains multiple collections of maps: 19th century maps of the Middle East, North Africa and Asia; Asian Cities; 18th century Central Europe; Digital South Asia; Ethnographic Maps of the 19th century; European Transportation Maps of the 19th century; Late 19th-Century European City planning maps; Late 19th-and early-20th-century Latin American Cities; Chicago; 19th-century Paris; Urban Rail Transit maps.


David Rumsey Map Collection


This is an astonishing collection of digitized historic maps, some already geo-referenced for use with GIS.


Maps at McMaster University (Canada)


This is a wonderful collection of maps. While the trench maps from World War I are awesome, there are other great collections here (e.g. of the Boer War, the Cuban War of Independence, etc.)


Cartesius (maps at the KBR (Royal Library of Belgium)


This is a really nifty collection of maps and atlases, particularly for anyone interested in the history of Belgium’s African colonies. (You can set the search interface to English).


Gallica – Bibliothèque Nationale de France


This is the digital branch of the French national library (mentioned previously) with a fabulous repository of maps. (You can search in English, although the results will likely be documents in French).


Persuasive Cartography: the PJ Ward Collection


This collection (through Cornell University Library) contains “persuasive” cartography – more than 800 maps intended to influence opinions and beliefs, from the Middle Ages to the present.


16th to 20th century maps of Africa


This is a digitized collection of 113 maps from the 16th through early 20th centuries of Africa.