James H. Thomason Library

History 2201 Course Guide: American History
Reference Sources

  Encyclopedias & Companions
  eReference Collections
  Style Guides
Locating Books
Locating Articles
  Articles, Essays, Book Chapters
  Journal Finder
Primary Sources
  Historic Newspapers & Periodicals
  Historic U.S. Documents
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Reference Sources:    
Print Companions & Encyclopedias   back to top

For background information and definitions refer to the following library reference works and online reference collections:

American Eras, Thomson Gale, 1998.

Main Level, Reference: R 973.8 Am35A [10 vols]
Covers events, publications, lifestyles, and individuals important to US history from early 1600s through the development of the industrialized US in 1899. Includes essays, chronologies, statistics, images for each major US era.





American Decades, Thomson Gale, 2001.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A
[10 vols]
Covers events, publications, lifestyles, and individuals important to US history during the 20th century. Each volume covers one decade.



American Decades: Primary Sources, Thomson Gale, 2002.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A suppl [10 vols]
Supplemental volumes containing primary sources for each decade of the 20th century. Includes photographs, political cartoons, advertisements, and excerpts from diaries, essays, speeches, poetry, and other literary works written back in earlier time periods covered.

The American Historical Association’s Guide to Historical Literature, Oxford, 1995.
Main Level, Reference: R 016.9 Am35G 1995 [2 vols]
A bibliography of annotated citations of scholarship in all fields of history up to 1995. Helpful for research on unfamiliar topics, comparative studies of areas or periods, or for a perspective on recent developments in the profession. 

  Dictionary of American History, Thomson Learning, 2003.
Main Level, Reference:  R 973.03 D561D [10 vols]
Coverage includes political, military, and economic development, as well as the social, cultural, personal, and demographic considerations which contribute to the ever-expanding knowledge of the American experience. Entries include cross-references and bibliographies.

Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002.
Main Level, Reference: R 327.73 En19E [3 vols]
Covers concepts and doctrines, policymaking, commerce and science, human rights and arms control, with specific articles on topics ranging from anti-imperialism to environmental diplomacy, from refugee policies to terrorism and countermeasures. (For a list of the table of contents, click here.)

Encyclopedia of American Political History, CQ Press, 2001.
Main Level, Reference: R 320.973 En19E3
Presents brief articles intended as “a starting place for ready answers to immediate questions about political history.”  Includes a chronology, brief bibliographies, an appendix defining acronyms and abbreviations used in the field of American history, and an extensive index.

Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, ABC-CLIO, 2000.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.703 En19E [5 vols]
Entries that chart the war's strategic aims, analyze diplomatic and political maneuvering, describe key military actions, sketch important participants, assess developments in military science, and discuss the social and financial impact of the conflict, providing comprehensive treatment of subjects usually covered only in specialized monographs. Includes chronology, illustrations, maps, primary documents, bibliographies, and index.

Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, Macmillan, 1986.
Main Level, Reference: R 342.7302303 En19E  [4 vols + 1992 supplement]
Includes approximately 2500 entries on legal concepts and doctrine, cases, people, historical periods, and statutes, treaties, or administrative laws.

Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, Simon & Schuster, 1994.
Main Level, Reference: R 353.0313 En19E [4 vols]
Presents more than 1000 entries each president's life in office, the powers and prerogatives of the office, and the multiple roles of the President. Includes bibliographies and an extensive index.

Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience: Studies of Traditions and Movements, Scribner, 1988.
Main Level, Reference: R 291.0973 En19E [3 vols]
Substantial essays on the traditions, movements, and cultural influences underlying religious belief and practice in North America” organized in nine parts. Includes bibliographies and an index.


Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, Macmillan, 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.916 En19E [2 vols]

Encyclopedia of the United States Congress, Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Main Level, Reference: R 328.73003 En19E  [4 vols]
Comprehensive essays cover major themes related to Congress including its history. Brief articles address more specific topics.

Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.003 En19E [5 vols]
Presents lengthy essays on political, economic, social, cultural, and technological developments that have marked the century. Includes cross-references, bibliographical essays, a chronology, and an index volume. 

Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations, Oxford, 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 327.73 En19E2 [4 vols]
Essays on major aspects of U.S. foreign relations, such as the American Revolution, the world wars, the environment, and international trade and commerce including a chronology of U.S. foreign relations, a table of national data, and a bibliography.

Encyclopedia of World War I: A Political, Social, and Military History , ABC-CLIO, 2005.
Main Level, Reference:
R 940.3 W893W [5 vols]
Covers major personalities, events, treaties, and sociopolitical issues of the time with maps, documents, cross-references, references and index.

Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History, ABC-CLIO, 2005
Main Level, Reference: R 940.5303 En19E [5 vols]
Covers major theaters of war, the campaigns, the individual battles, the major weapons systems, the diplomatic conferences, and the key individuals on all sides of the conflict. Includes maps, cross-references, references, significant documents (primary sources), and extensive index.

Indian Treaties 1778-1883, Charles J. Kappler, Interland Pub., 1972.

Main Level, Reference: R 342.73087 Un3I

See also Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties [Digital Collections, Oklahoma State University Library] Volume II at this site covers Indian Treaties 1778-1883.

The Reader’s Companion to American History, Houghton Mifflin, 1991.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.03 R227R
Provides articles on political, economic, social and cultural history, with cross-references and bibliographies.  Articles are of three types: brief entries on significant topics and events, biographical entries, and essays on major issues and developments.


eReference book collections   back to top

CREDO Reference
Includes a variety of ready reference & subject specific encyclopedias from highly respected publishers.
Search the entire collection at this CREDO link.


Gale Virtual Reference Library [GVRL]            

A collection of reference e-books covering a variety of disciplines. Includes the following titles related to U.S. history which can be searched individually by clicking on the title:


Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, Gale, 2000.
152 original essays on specific minority and ethnic groups in the U.S., with an emphasis on culture (religions, holidays, customs, language) in addition to information on historical background and settlement patterns. The Encyclopedia also covers ethnoreligious groups such as Jews, Chaldeans and Amish.

Also available Main Level, Reference: R 305.800973 G131G [2 vols, 1995 ed]

Gale Library of Daily Life: Slavery and America, Gale, 2008.
Illuminates daily life in slave society in America from colonial times to the end of the Civil War. Provides information on the business and regulation of slavery, the plantation way of life, work, family and community, culture and leisure, health and medicine, religion, resistance and rebellion, and slavery and freedom in the North.

Immigration in U. S. History, Salem Press, 2006.
Examines the many issues surrounding immigration from a wide variety of perspectives - from the earliest settlement of British North America in the 17th century through the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks of the 21st century. Places special emphasis on the many ethnic communities that have provided American immigrants.

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005. 
More an encyclopedia than a dictionary, this set provides articles from a distinguished team of international scholars and  is "designed to introduce a general audience to the main ideas and movements of global cultural history from antiquity to the twenty-first century.”
Also available Main Level, Reference: R 903 N42N [6 vols]



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Sharpe Online Reference [SOLR]

This collection of 9 eBooks in U.S. History and Culture from M. E. Sharpe Publishing explores the broad range of events, people, movements, and political, social, economic, and cultural issues that have shaped the United States from earliest times to the present day. Includes web links, primary sources, teacher resources, as well as a searchable image gallery.



Colonial America

Encyclopedia of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age , Sharpe Reference, 2008.

Encyclopedia of the Great Depression and New Deal

Postwar America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History

American Presidential Campaigns and Elections

Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia

Encyclopedia of American Social Movements

Encyclopedia of American Folklife


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Oxford Reference Online - Premium Collection
This collection brings together language and subject reference works from one of the world's largest reference publishers into a single cross-searchable resource. It is a fully-indexed, cross-searchable database of over 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press, giving subscribers unprecedented access to a comprehensive information resource plus added functionality and more detailed information from titles in the world-renowned Oxford Companions Series.




The Oxford Companion to American Military History [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford Univ. Press, 2000.
Ranging from brief factual pieces to extensive essays, entries examine major wars, important battles, military leaders, relevant acts of Congress and diplomatic policies, peace and antiwar movements, war in the arts, and war viewed through the disciplinary lenses of anthropology, economics, gender studies, and psychology.

Also available Main Level, Reference: R 355.00973 Ox2O [1999]

The Oxford Guide to the United States Government [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford Univ. Press, 2002.
Includes biographies of all the Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Supreme Court Justices, and notable members of Congress, including current leadership; historical commentary on past elections, major Presidential decisions, international and domestic programs, and the key advisors and agencies of the executive branch; in-depth analysis of Congressional leadership and committees, agencies and staff, and historic legislation; and detailed discussions of 100 landmark Supreme Court cases and the major issues facing the Court today.

The Oxford Companion to United States History [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford Univ. Press, 2004.
Over 1,400 entries on America's political, diplomatic, and military history; social, cultural, and intellectual trends; science, technology, and medicine; the arts and religion with  cross-references and bibliographies.

Also available Main Level, Reference: R 973.03 Ox2O [2001]

The Oxford Companion to World War II [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford Univ. Press, 2004.
Covers all aspects of the war including detailed surveys of major countries; politics and strategy; domestic and economic issues; resistance and intelligence; campaigns, battles, and military operations; warfare and weapons; wartime leaders and influential people.

Also available Main Level, Reference: R 940.5303 Ox2O [1995]

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Oxford African American Studies Center [Oxford Univ. Press], 2006.
Core content from reference works below. The Center draws on other key resources from Oxford's reference program, including the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature and selected articles from other major reference titles. Numerous primary sources with specially written commentaries, images, and maps enhance this reference content.


Africana, The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Second Edition, Oxford, 2005.

Conveys the history and scope of cultural expression of people of African descent with unprecedented depth.

African American National Biography,
Oxford, 2006.

Included are slaves and abolitionists, writers, politicians, and business people, musicians and dancers, artists and athletes, victims of injustice and the lawyers, journalists, and civil rights leaders who gave them a voice.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895, from the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass
, Oxford, 2006.

Traces the transition from Africa to America and the role Africans played in shaping the development of American society. Entries examine topics that include the laws creating slavery in the seventeenth century, important slave revolts and the slave trade (African and domestic), the antislavery movement, fugitive slave controversies, and the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present, from the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century
, Oxford, 2008.

Traces the transition from the Reconstruction Era to the age of Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Migration, the Brown ruling that overturned Plessy, the Civil Rights Movement, and the ascendant influence of African American culture on the American cultural landscape.

Black Women in America, Second Edition, Oxford, 2005.

Celebrates the remarkable achievements of black women throughout history, highlights their ongoing contributions in America today, and covers the new research the first edition helped to generate.

Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature
, Oxford, 2001.

African American literature and criticism over the last two decades as well as, general articles on poetry, fiction, and drama; on autobiography, slave narratives, Sunday School literature, and oratory; and articles on a wide spectrum of related topics.




Biography   back to top


American National Biography, Oxford University Press, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.073 Am35A [24 vols]
Portraits of more than 17,400 men and women whose lives have shaped the nation.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, Gale, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.02 En19E [17 vols]
Alphabetically arranged long essays on reputable personalities who have made great contributions to human culture and society.

Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Belknap, 1971.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.720973 N843N [3 vols. + 1980 supplement]
Biographical sketches of  American women who lived between 1607 and 1950.  The 1980 supplement covers an additional group born between 1857 and 1943 and who died between 1951 and 1975.

Oxford African American Studies Center

A comprehensive online collection from Oxford University Press focusing on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture

Biography in Context formerly Biography Resource Center [Thomson/Gale]
Includes biographies from Gale reference books and full-text articles from hundreds of periodicals. Search for people by name, occupation, nationality, birth or death place, OR combine criteria using the advanced search.

American History to 1865 - Biographical Sites [University of Washington Library]
Links to special collections from John Adams to George Washington.

Chronologies   back to top

The American Years: A Chronology of United States History, Scribner, 1999.
Main Level, Reference:
R 973.0202 G914A
Year by year look at what US government was doing on the national, state, and local levels and the major events in business and industry, as well as the  arts, sciences, education, religion and literature.

What is. . .
a  chronology ?

Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, Harper & Row, 1987.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.0202 C237E
Covers topics “ranging from explorations, treaties, battles, and politics to sports, theater, movies, crime, literature, philosophy, science, and religion” for the years 986 through 1986.  Read down the columns you learn about events in chronological order in a single subject.  When you read across the columns you get a picture of all the important events in all subjects for any year.”  Includes an extensive index.  


The arrangement of events or dates in the order of
their occurrence.

The New Oxford American Dictionary
Oxford Reference Online

The Timetables of American History, Simon & Schuster, 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.0202 T482T
Presents major events in American history in the context of major events happening elsewhere in the world – in the categories of History & Politics, The Arts, Science & Technology, and Miscellaneous. Includes an extensive index.

Research Process / Style Guides   back to top


Reader’s Guide to American History, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 016.973 R227R
A series of essays describing and assessing books on 600 different topics (events, individuals, and broader themes and issues) in American history. Contains a thematic list, as well as a general index and cross-references with essays from abolitionism to Brigham Young.

United States History: A Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Guide to Information Sources, Libraries Unlimited, 2003.  
Main Level, Reference: R 016.973 P426U
Identifies and describes hundreds of reference books [published through 2002] pertaining to American history arranged by topic with full descriptive, and in some cases, evaluative annotations.

Humanities: Documenting Sources [Research and Documentation Online], Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.

Locating Books   back to top


Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              

Adams Abigail [as AUTHOR]

  Marshall, Thurgood [as SUBJECT]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to American history:

United States--History


Executive Power


Plantation Life

  • Materials relevant to the study of American history may also be found by specifying the era or dates, geographic area, or the material type in which you are interested:
  United States--History--Revolution  
  United States--History--Civil War  
  Cold War--United States--Social Aspects  
  Colonial Period Ca 1600 1775--South Carolina--History  

World War 1914 1918--Pictorial Works


Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
Lincoln AND slavery

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
(freedom OR emancipation) AND south

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or expand
a term:
freed* = freed, freedom, freedmen

Try KEYWORD searching with THOMCAT, other library catalogs & library databases

PASCAL Catalog - If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search in this statewide catalog for books in other academic libraries in SC.


PASCAL Catalog searching is similar to searching in THOMCAT. An added BONUS in THOMCAT is a pass-through from search results in THOMCAT to the same search results in PASCAL with one click on the PASCAL icon. The pass through is available on any search at any level.

  • A PC book you need is checked out? Click the PASCAL icon for other copies available in SC.

  • Need more items on a subject? PASCAL items on that subject are just a click away.

Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.



A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.


Interlibrary Loan

ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Be sure to allow enough time for ordering articles or books not available at PC or through PASCAL Delivers. Click link above for instructions.

Locating Articles:    
Articles, Essays, Book Chapters back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  Search using terms dealing with your topic.

Academic Search Complete [EBSCOhost] 
The world's most valuable and comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.

U.S. History in Context [Thomson Gale]
Events, issues and current information in U.S. history from journal articles, reference, and primary source materials. (Many of the encyclopedias listed above are indexed in this searchable resource.)


A searchable archive of full-text journals covering all disciplines while providing more full-text access in the library's electronic databases. This archive covers the full run of journals from the first issue of volume one; however, the most current three to five year issues of the journals are not available as specified by the publishers in their agreements with JSTOR.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection
Current and recent volumes of over 111 core journals in the humanities and social sciences

Essay and General Literature Index, 1900-2001
Main Level, Reference:  IND 016.824 Es73E

This author and subject index to essays published in collections and miscellaneous works covers a broad spectrum of disciplines, including history. 

Journal Finder   back to top

Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals, magazines, and newspapers in one convenient location.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject. When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.

Statistics   back to top

American FactFinder [U.S. Census Bureau]  
This is the portal to the major products of the Census Bureau, including the decennial census, the American Community Survey, the economic census, annual population estimates, and annual economic surveys.

Statistical Abstract of the United States [U.S. Census Bureau]
Provides an “authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.”  This site highlights the current edition but also includes links to earlier editions, which start in 1878.  The site also provides links to state abstracts.
Also available Main Level Ready Reference: RR 317.3 Un3

Historical Statistics of the South, 1790-1970, University of Alabama Press [1973].
Main Level Reference: R 317.5 D661H

State-level census statistics for the sixteen states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.

Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 [U.S. Census Bureau]
A collection of hundreds of sources made available within a single source with referrals to data which are sources of greater detail. The annotations also define terms used in the tables and include essential qualifying statements. 
An expanded and revised edition, Historical Statistics of the States of the United States: Two Centuries of the Census, 1790-1990, is available Main Level, Reference: R 317.3 H629H

Historical Census Data Browser [University of Virginia Library]
Using data from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), this site allows users to browse selected census data from 1790 to 1970 by state and county. Data from the early years (1790 to 1830) focuses solely on population characteristics, while data after those years include selected economic, manufacturing, and agricultural information.

Primary Sources:   back to top
General Sources    

Using Primary Sources on the Web
[Reference & User Services Association, American Library Association, History Section]

Primary Source Sites [University of Washington]
Revolution and Early Republic
Antebellum America

Civil War

American Decades Primary Sources, Thomson Gale, 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A suppl. [10 vols]
A companion to the American Decades series providing insight into the seminal issues, themes, movements and events from each decade of the 20th century through oral histories, songs, speeches, letters, photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and newspaper articles compiled in a print volume for each decade.

American History in Video [Alexander Street Press]
This collection is an exclusive collaboration with A&E Television Networks and features important documentaries and series from The History Channel®, A&E Network®, and Biography®. Historical coverage ranges from the early history of Native Americans, to the lost colony of Roanoke, to the 1988 Vicennes Affair in the Persian Gulf. Biographical coverage ranges from eighteenth century figures such as Benedict Arnold and Daniel Boone to modern day figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Helen Thomas. Search or browse-- powered by Semantic Indexing and searchable transcripts synchronized to video—gives the ability to drill down in seconds to find the footage of interest from thousands of hours of video.

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum [The Ohio State University Libraries]

"Contains thousands of scanned images from the collection; however, these represent only a small portion of the total collection. Sources are original art and tear sheets or other printed materials. The collection is the home of the world's most comprehensive academic research facility dedicated to documenting cartoon art. This remarkable, comprehensive accumulation covers Ohio State University's manga collection and Treasury of Fine Art, and the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art's holdings. The main page features a simple keyword search box. Users may sort results by some 14 categories including format, creator, and publication, and use the single cartoon images to produce stylistic comparisons, investigate the history of themes, scan story sequences, and, with the zoom capabilities, make a close inspection of artistic techniques." description from CHOICE Reviews Online 10/2010

Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary [Digital Library of Georgia]

A lieutenant in the 81st Ohio Infantry Volunteers from November, 1864-April 27, 1865, Platter's diary details Sherman's march through Georgia from Rome to Savannah and the march north through the Carolinas. He gives dates, times, and lengths of marches and describes the weather, locale, scenery, and food as well as orders, rumors, positions, troop morale, and administrative duties. The diary also includes a description of the burning of Columbia, South Carolina, the news of the Confederate surrender, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. description from site 10/2011

Discovering American Women’s History Online [Ken Middleton, Middle Tennessee State Univ.]
A database indexing valuable but scattered collections of primary sources on Women's History (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.). Search the collections or browse by subject, state, time period, or type of primary source.

Medicine in the Americas [part of History of Medicine, National Library of Medicine]

"A digital library project providing scanned historical American medical books in pdf and as searchable text files. The project’s goal is to provide original source materials on the development of medicine in the New World, including Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean. The History of Medicine Division hopes that including non-U.S. imprints will foster research on a wider variety of topics in the study of American medicine. So, while the emphasis will be on medicine in the United States, materials from all over the Western Hemisphere will be included." Browse the titles here or search all NCBI book titles at once on the NCBI Bookshelfdescription from site 5/2010

The New Deal Network [Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute]
Presents photographs, political cartoons, and texts (speeches, letters, and other historic documents) from the New Deal period gathered from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and other sources.

The Avalon Project [Yale Law School]
Full text documents relating to history, law and government organized by time period. The emphasis is on American and European history. An internal search engine simplifies access.

The Making of America [Cornell Univ. Library]
A collection of primary source material from the 19th century.

Documenting the American South [University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill]
Digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. Projects include slave narratives, first-person narratives, Southern literature, Confederate imprints, materials related to the church in the black community, and North Caroliniana.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History [Gilder Lehrman Institute]
The Institute website serves as a portal for American history on the Web; offers high-quality educational material for teachers, students, historians, and the public; and to provides up-to-date information about the Institute's programs and activities.

Picturing America, 1497-1899: Prints, Maps, and Drawings bearing on the New World Discoveries and on the Development of the Territory that is now the United States

[New York Public Library Digital Gallery]

Over 1,000 original prints, drawings, and maps, selected primarily from The Phelps Stokes Collection, as well as from several other Library collections, featuring views of American towns and cities and representations of historical events, scenes, places, and battles relating to the United States, from 1497 to 1899. The selection of images is the same as that featured in Gloria Gilda Deák's 1988 book of the same title.

Charting North America: Maps from the Lawrence H. Slaughter Collection and Others [New York Public Library Digital Gallery]

Thousands of maps of North America from the earliest printed portrayals to the close of the 19th century; multiple versions and editions allow for historical comparisons. 10/08

In Motion: The African American Migration Experience [Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture]
Focuses on the self-motivated activities of peoples of African descent to remake themselves and their worlds. Of the thirteen defining migrations that formed and transformed African America, only the transatlantic slave trade and the domestic slave trades were coerced, the eleven others were voluntary movements of resourceful and creative men and women, risk-takers in an exploitative and hostile environment. Their survival skills, efficient networks, and dynamic culture enabled them to thrive and spread, and to be at the very core of the settlement and development of the Americas. 12/08

The South Carolina Digital Library
Provides free and unlicensed access to digital collections in South Carolina, giving greater access to rare and special historical materials housed in the many museums, libraries, archives, and historical institutions in the state. Browse collections by time period, county, media type, institution, or region. 1/09

Historic Newspapers & Periodicals  

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The Atlanta Constitution Archive [ProQuest Historical Newspapers]
Full-text & full-image articles from 1868-1945.

The New York Times Archive [ProQuest Historical Newspapers]
Full-text & full-image of NYT articles with coverage from 1851 up to three years ago.

 America’s Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876 [NewsBank Archive of Americana]
A searchable database with issues from over 700 historical American newspapers from 23 states and the District of Columbia focusing largely on the 18th and early 19th centuries. Select specific titles or search publications by state.

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals [Library of Congress] 
Twenty-three popular periodicals digitized by Cornell University Library and the Library of Congress, including literary and political magazines, as well as Scientific American, Manufacturer and Builder, and Garden and Forest: A Journal of Horticulture, Landscape Art, and Forestry. The longest run is for The North American Review, 1815-1900.

Historic U.S. Documents   back to top

A Chronology of U.S. Historical Document [University of Oklahoma, College of Law]
Provides a chronology of approximately 150 significant documents from the Magna Carta (1215) to President Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address, with links to the full text.

American Journeys [Wisconsin Historical Society]
A wide range of geographical, cultural, and chronological information about the exploration of North America by Europeans and, later, Americans. Roughly equal numbers of pages are devoted to the Northeast, Southeast, Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley, Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, Southwest and California, and Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Early eyewitness accounts from each geographic region were selected, along with others that have become "classic" through widespread quotation or re-publication.

 Primary Documents in American History [Library of Congress]
Significant documents are presented for three eras: 1763-1815, 1815-1860, and 1860-1877.  “For each item on these lists there is a page with background information about the document, a list of links to digital materials concerning that document from the Library's site and elsewhere, and bibliographies both for general readers and for younger readers.” 
Access note: often have to read carefully through the guide to find the link to text of the actual document.

100 Milestone Documents [National Archives and Records Administration]
Documents chronicle United States history from the Lee Resolution of June 7, 1776, resolving that the United Colonies ‘are, and of right, ought to be free and independent states. . .’ and ends with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a statute that helped fulfill the promise of freedom inherent in the first documents on the list.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875 [Library of Congress]
Includes digitized versions of the following documents: Journals of the Continental Congress (1774-89); The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787; The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution; the Journals of House of Representatives and the Senate; United States Statutes at Large; the Senate Executive Journal; the Annals of Congress; the first three volumes of the Congressional Record, 1873-75. The American State papers may be added in the future.

 CQ Historic Documents [CQ Press]
Provides primary source documents and commentary relating to each year's key events, starting with 1972, includinghistory, government, and political science.Types of documentsrange from presidential speeches, international agreements, and Supreme Court decisions to U.S. governmental reports, scientific findings, and cultural discussions.

American Presidency Project [University of California, Santa Barbara]
Contains most of the  public messages, statements, speeches, and news conference remarks of the President's from 1789 to the present, except for the years 1914-1928. Proclamations, Executive Orders, and similar documents that are published in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, as required by law, are usually not included for the presidencies of Herbert Hoover through Gerald Ford (1929-1977), but are included beginning with the administration of Jimmy Carter (1977).

Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800  [Center for History and New Media, George Mason University]

Due to a fire [1800], the War Department lost the records of its early existence. This free online database offers digital images of documents pertaining to the War Department that are physically scattered in repositories across the nation. The Web site also provides information about documents that are cited in existing records but appear not to have survived. Browsable by year, author, and recipient and searchable by author, recipient, location, year, and topic, the site offers new perspectives on life in the early republic as it pertained to Indian affairs, veteran affairs, assistance to widows and children, military issues, and the establishment of the federal government. description from CHOICE Reviews Online

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 1929-2000 [University of Michigan]
Papers and speeches issued by the Office of the Press Secretary for Presidents Hoover through Clinton with subsequent volumes to be added as published.

A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897, 1895-1900
Upper Level:
353.03 R394C [10 vols]
Presidential proclamations, addresses, messages, and communications to Congress, as well as “every message of the Presidents transmitting reports of heads of Departments and other communications” with explanatory editorial footnotes. Includes index and appendices in volume 10. Access note: title on spine reads “Papers of the Presidents.”

Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842 [Digital Library of Georgia]
Approximately 2,000 documents and images relating to the Native American population of the Southeastern United States. Search by keyword at this site or browse the collections or types of material (letters, treaties, talks, visual-maps, photographs, artist renderings). Includes materials from many southeastern collections.


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