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Primary Source Materials

Accessible Archives

Accessible Archives' databases contain the rich, comprehensive material found in leading historic periodicals and books. They include eyewitness accounts of historical events, vivid descriptions of daily life, editorial observations, commerce as seen through advertisements, and genealogical records.

African American Newspapers (Accessible Archives)

This collection of African-American newspapers contains a wealth of information about the cultural life and history during the 1800s.

African American Newspapers (Readex)

Provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. Dates of coverage: 1827-1998.

Alexander Street Drama

Includes nearly 6,000 works covering: Black Drama, Asian American Drama, Latino Drama, Twentieth Century North American Drama, North American Indian Drama, and North American Women´s Drama.


Aluka is an international, collaborative initiative building an online digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa. Shain Library has access to two collections: Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa, and African Cultural Heritage Sites & Landscapes.

American Broadsides & Ephemera, Series I.

Broadsides printed between 1820 and 1900 and ephemera printed between 1760 and 1900. More than 29,600 records are included.

American Civil War: Letters & Diaries

Brings together more than 1,000 sources of diaries, letters, and memoirs to provide access to thousands of views on almost every aspect of the war.

American Memory Project

American Memory provides free and open access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.

American Periodicals Series Online, 1741-1900

Includes digitized images of the pages of American magazines and journals that first began publishing between 1741 and 1900, with content spanning 200 years.

American State Papers, 1789-1838

Primary source material on many aspects of early American history from 1789 to 1838.

America´s Historical Newspapers (1690-1922)

Features cover-to-cover reproductions of hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than five million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. 1690-1820.

Archive of Americana

Contains books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, government documents and ephemera printed in America over three centuries.

Asian American Drama

Brings together more than 250 plays, along with related biographical, production, and theatrical information. The collection begins with the works of Sadakichi Hartmann in the late nineteenth century and includes contemporary playwrights.


Browsable collection of digital documents relative to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government from the Yale Law School Law Library. 

Black Drama, Second Edition

Contains the full text of 1,200 plays written from the mid-1800s to the present by more than 100 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries.

Black Thought & Culture

Includes the non-fiction published works of leading African Americans. Where possible the complete published non-fiction works are included, as well as interviews, journal articles, letters and other fugitive material.

British & Irish Women´s Letters & Diaries

Comprehensive collection of British and Irish women´s diaries and correspondence. Spanning more than 300 years, it brings the personal experiences of nearly 500 women to researchers.


A collection of primary sources from the University of California — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts from California.

Chicago Defender

Full text backfile, from 1910 to 1975, of the influential black newspaper The Chicago Defender.

Civil War: a Newspaper Perspective

Contains the full text of major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

Documenting the American South

Provides access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Includes fourteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans (1639-1800)

Based on the renowned American Bibliography by Charles Evans. The definitive resource for every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America, from agriculture and auctions through foreign affairs, diplomacy, literature, music, religion, the Revolutionary War, temperance, witchcraft, and just about any other topic imaginable. Evans Digital consists of more than 37,300 works and 2,400,000 images.

Early American Imprints, Series II. Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819)

Covering every aspect of American life during the early decades of the United States, this rich primary source collection provides full-text access to the 38,100 American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the first nineteen years of the nineteenth century.

(EEBO) Early English Books Online

From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, this collection now contains about 100,000 titles.

Godey´s Ladys Book

Published from 1830-1880, Godey´s Ladys Book was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America. The early issues included biographical sketches, articles about mineralogy, handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health & hygiene, recipes & remedies, etc.

Hispanic American Newspapers

The single largest compilation of Spanish-language newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th & 20th centuries. Dates of coverage: 1808-1980

Historical Newspapers

A digital archive of 7 of the leading newspapers in North America. Titles included are the Chicago Defender, Christian Science Monitor, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Time, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

In the First Person

An index to thousands of letters, diaries, oral histories and personal narratives with links to full-text, audio, and video

Latino Literature: Poetry, Drama & Fiction

Draws from three major sources: the world of Aztlán, the mythical homeland of the Aztecs prior to Cortez; the Spanish heritage of the national homelands of the writers; and the intersection of these two with Anglo culture. The majority of Latino Literature is in English, with selected works of particular importance (approximately 25% of the collection) presented in Spanish.


The Liberator was a weekly newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison in Boston, Massachusetts. The newspaper was a mighty force from the beginning and became the most influential newspaper in the antebellum, antislavery crusade. After the end of the Civil War in December, 1865, Garrison published his last issue of the Liberator, announcing “my vocation as an abolitionist is ended.” After thirty-five years and 1,820 issues, Garrison did not fail to publish a single issue. He spent his last 14 years campaigning for woman´s suffrage, pacifism and temperance.

Making of America

A digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history,sociology, religion, and science and technology.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 275,000 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.

North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, & Oral Histories

Provides a unique and personal view of what it meant to immigrate to America and Canada. Includes more than 100,000 pages of personal narratives including letters, diaries, pamphlets, autobiographies, and oral histories. Several thousand pages of Ellis Island Oral History interviews are included.

North American Women´s Drama

Includes the full text of 1,500 plays written from colonial times to the present by more than 100 women from the United States and Canada.

North American Women´s Letters & Diaries

Collection of women´s diaries and correspondence. The collection includes some 150,000 pages of published letters and diaries from individuals writing from Colonial times to 1950.

Oral History Online

Aims to index all the important oral histories available either on the Web or hidden away in archives, in English, all around the world, linking to full text, audio, and video whenever available.

Pennsylvania Historical Newspapers

This collection includes the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1800; the Pennsylvania Newspaper Record: Delaware County, 1819-1870; and the Pennsylvania Genealogical Catalogue: Chester County, 1809-1870.

Sanborn Maps 1867-1970 (Connecticut Only)

Provides digital access to historic Sanborn fire insurance maps. Access to Connecticut maps only.

Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online

Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online combines all of the content from Alexander Street´s seven award-winning collections of letters, diaries, and oral histories together with a growing archive of additional content in what is the single most comprehensive archive of social memory ever created.

Twentieth Century North American Drama

Twentieth Century North American Drama contains 2,000 plays from the United States and Canada. In addition to providing a comprehensive full-text resource for students in the performing arts, the collection offers a unique window into the economic, historical, social, and political psyche of two countries. More than 1,250 of the works are in copyright and licensed from the authors or their estates, and 1,700 plays appear in no other Alexander Street collection. At least 550 of the works have never been published before, in any format, and are available only in Twentieth Century North American Drama – including unpublished plays by major writers and Pulitzer Prize winners.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set Maps

The more than 50,000 maps in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set range from the great atlases to small individual maps clarifying very specific land questions, to the great triangulation surveys, to the repetitive but for the meteorologist important weekly weather maps, to the maps that made history as well as the maps of past history and of course to the purely serendipitous, or so it would seem, maps found in the Serial Set.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1993

The U.S. Congressional Serial Set currently covers the years, 1817-1993. It's contents come not only from the U.S. Congress, but also include key Executive Department publications. Beginning with Volume 1 in the first session of the 15th Congress (1817), the Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1993 contains all publications from the 15th through the 103rd Congresses. Also included: the American State Papers, 1789-1838, 1st-14th Congresses.