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See Also - History
Open Content
Thrift Library Databases - Primary Resources
Thrift Lbirary eBooks - Primary Resources


Catagories –

Historical Magazines and Newspapers
Social Studies
    History, American
    Colonial America
    Civil War

    WWI, WWII & Cold War
    South Carolina
History, British
History, European


What are they?
Primary sources reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer.


  • Diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, manuscripts, memoirs, autobiographies, government documents, and organizations records.
  • Books and magazine, journal, and newspaper articles written at the time about a particular event.
  • Photographs, audio recordings and moving pictures or video recordings, documenting what happened.
  • Surveys and polls.


Primary Sources - Anderson University


Anderson University’s digital collection with the Internet Archive includes college yearbooks, viewbooks, catalogs, handbooks, literary magazines, and the school’s first history, They That Wait. These materials can be viewed online or downloaded. 

Primary Sources - General

Ad*Access - A collection of images from over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines from 1911 through 1955. Subject areas include: radio, television, transportation, beauty and hygiene and World War II  


Cartoon Image Database - The digital image database of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University contains thousands of scanned images from the collection. 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. Links to academic references, e.g., notes about comic strip exhibitions, add to the database's value for research.

Primary Sources - Collections of Online Journals and Newspapers

ADDED Aug. 2010 - Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers – This Library of Congress site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1860-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. The growing number of states represented has passed 20, but does not yet include SC, GA, or NC. List of Newspapers.

HarpWeek - Full text with illustrations of Harper's Weekly from 1857-1865, searchable by keywords, by literary genre, by occupations and role in society, and browseable by date. 

Historical Newspapers Online  - In addition to indexing the Times of London (1790-1980) and The New York Times (1851-1922), this resource enables you to find the full text of every article in every issue of The Times (of London) from 1785-1870. 

Internet Library of Early Journals - A joint project of the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford to digitize substantial runs of 18th and 19th century journals.

Making of America - A collection of approximately 1,600 full-text books and 50,000 journal articles from the antebellum period through reconstruction. 

Online Historical Newspapers – Directs user to historical newspapers, many from the 1800s. Most are free. Currently covers Australia, Canada, and the United States. The US page is subdivided by state.

Primary Sources - Social Studies (K-12) - History – Economics – Geography - Government
Digital History – Images, maps, recordings, etc. 

Edsitement - The National Endowment for the Humanities maintains this site with links to best history, language arts and social sciences sites. In addition to primary sources, there are online lesson plans and other digital learning materials.

Geography-Primary Sources - This site contains a list of links to historic maps, along with links to more information on flags, maps, geography, timelines, specific days in history, holidays, distances, and money.

History Matters - More than 144 first person narratives of average Americans in extraordinary times. Strong in the WWI period. A project of the Center for Social History and the New Media, and George Mason University. Also includes lesson plans and teacher resources in US History. 

Learning Page (Library of Congress) - Explains primary sources Includes lesson plans.

NARA Digital Classroom - This section contains reproducible copies of primary documents from the holdings of the National Archives of the United States. Also includes lesson plans and teaching activities.

Our Documents - 100 milestone documents in American history.

Primary Resources: History - Covers history from an English point of view. Includes lesson plans.

Primary Resources and Real World Data Provides ways for elementary grades to integrate primary sources into their assignments.

Primary Source Digital Archives and Collections - Links geared for high school students to primary sources in history.

United Stated History-Historical Chronology WWII - List of sites of primary sources and lessons plans that involve analyzing primary source materials from WWII. Grade levels specified.

Primary Surces - History, American

American MemoryFrom the Library of Congress, the American Memory project is a collection of digitized documents, maps, photographs, recorded sound, sheet music, moving pictures and text from the Library of Congress Americana collections. Click on Browse to search by format. There are over 70 collections included in the project.(Tutorial)
Archives of American Art  - (A part of the Smithsonian Institution) This huge collection of over 16 million primary source materials consists of diaries, letters, manuscripts, photographs, films, audio recordings, video recordings, and many more artifacts documenting American culture for the past 200-plus years.
Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents  -Primary source documents from American history starting with Columbus and going through to the Civil Rights Act of 1991, provided by the Univ. of Oklahoma.

Documenting the American South - Sponsored by the UNC at Chapel Hill, this is an electronic collection that provides access to digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. Five different projects make up the site: Southern literature; first-person narratives; slave narratives; the Southern Homefront, 1861-1865; the church in the Southern Black Community.

Founders Early Access - Documents included come from six Founding Fathers projects: the Papers of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, the Adams family, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. As of June 2010, the site had been updated three times with a total of 7,826 documents added. Documents can be browsed by volume/dates, e.g., George Washington Papers/Revolutionary War Papers: 15 September 1778-31 October 1778. The site also offers a search function.

General U.S. History – Primary Documents - This site contains general U.S. History links, with a section dedicated to primary resources.  

Historical Census Browser - This site includes data that describes the population and economy of U.S. states and counties from 1790 to 1960. With this site you can: examine multiple topics within a census year, produce tables of data by state or county, sort data by selected categories, create ratios between any two data categories, and generate maps of selected data.

Library of Congress-Panoramic Maps - This site contains historical panoramic maps, which were a popular cartographic form used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Making of America - A collection of approximately 1,600 full-text books and 50,000 journal articles from the antebellum period through reconstruction. 

NARA (National Archives and Records Administration Homepage - Do a "NAIL digital copies search" to find online images of many NARA documents. Very strong in 20th century pictures and documents on US themes.

NARA-Presidential Libraries - Links to on-line presidential libraries that include digital archives from digital documents, photos, audio and video clips. 

The New York Public Library Digital Library Collection - In addition to finding aids (guides to archival and manuscript collections), the NYPL Digital Library Collections contains texts and images from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Smithsonian Institution: Contributions and Study Series - Smithsonian Annals of Flight (1964 - 1974); Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology (1965 - present); to Astrophysics (1956 - 1974); to Botany (1969 - 2001); to History and Technology (1969 – present); to Paleobiology (1969 - present); to the Earth Sciences (1969 - 2002); to the Marine Sciences (1977 - present); to Zoology (1969 - present); Smithsonian Folklife Studies (1980 - 1990); and Smithsonian Studies in Air and Space (1977 - 1990). 
South Carolina Digital Library
South Carolina in the American Revolution
U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor StatisticsLabor statistics and documents.

Women Working, 1800 - 1930 - Focuses on women's role in the United States economy and provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University's library and museum collections. The collection features approximately 500,000 digitized pages and images including: 7,500 pages of manuscripts, 3,500 books and pamphlets, 1,200 photographs.

Primary Sources - History, American - Civil War

American Civil War Homepage - A general site on the American Civil War that includes links to images and photographs from the Civil War as well as links to important Civil War documents. 

Valley of the Shadow: Living the Civil War in Pennsylvania and Virginia - A project that interweaves the histories of two communities on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line during the era of the American Civil War. It incorporates a narrative and electronic archive of the sources on which the narrative is based.

Primary Sources – History, American - WWI
First World War – The Primary Documents section includes government and official documents categorized by year. On the rest of the site, one can find WWI posters, poetry, audio, memoirs, diaries, and photographs, and more.

Heritage of the Great War - This Dutch site contains some secondary information, but numerous photographs, including a section of 250 color photographs.

World War I Document Archive - contains a plethora of information, including conventions, treaties, official papers, diaries, personal memories, books, a biographical dictionary, images, and information on the maritime and medical fronts.

Primary Sources – History, American - WWII and Cold War
American Women's History: A Research Guide World War II  - Archival, digital, microform, and oral collections, along with selected books

Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center - Search “Cold War” select “Cold War International History Project” – the purpose of this project is to integrate information on the Cold War from Soviet countries with information obtained through Western sources. The archives contain a variety of eastern and western information.

Cold War Museum - This museum contains a number of primary sources which can be accessed via the “online exhibits” tab. The site includes an artwork exhibit, a patch exhibit, and video materials.

HyperWar: A Hypertext History of WWII - A collection of U.S. military monographs, political papers, policy statements, treaties, and other documents for each branch of the service. Provides information from the different theaters of war, content divided by country and service, and links to other relevant sites

Legacy Project ( Seeks to collect and preserve letters and e-mails from soldiers during the various American conflicts, offers advice on preserving and storing war letters.

Rutgers Oral History Archives of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War Over 450 interviews with individuals involved in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War who are Rutgers alumni and/or New Jersey residents.

UCLA Institute on Primary Resources - Focuses on the Japanese American Internment during WWII. 

University of Washington WWII Site - Includes links to many primary sources including information on soldiers, the Holocaust, the Japanese American experience, the atomic bomb, Japanese war crimes, and photographs, posters, and newspapers from the times.

Veteran’s History Project -  This Library of Congress site contains memories and memorabilia collected from veterans (interviews, photographs, letters, etc.) from all American wars, WWI – Present. 

WASP Resources - Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during WWII.

Witnesses: Cybrary of the Holocaust - Eye-witness accounts of survivors, rescuers, and bystanders, along with speeches and letters from the perpetrators.

World War II: Primary Source Documents - This site has a collection of web links, along with a chronological list of primary source documents.

World War II Primary Documents 

World War II Resources - A collection of primary sources for World War II, arranged chronologically in broad categories. Primarily, but not limited to government documents – treaties, declarations speeches, etc. Site also includes a search feature. 

Primary Sources – History, American - South Carolina
Documenting the American South - Sponsored by the UNC at Chapel Hill, this is an electronic collection that provides access to digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. Five different projects make up the site: Southern literature; first-person narratives; slave narratives; the Southern Homefront, 1861-1865; the church in the Southern Black Community. 

South Carolina Digital Collection’s Guide - South Carolina's academic libraries and cultural resource institutions seek to provide access to the cultural heritage of the state in digital formats to educators, students, researchers, and citizens. We are currently developing a collaborative statewide program that connects these efforts to foster a rich virtual collection of South Carolina's history, geography, environment and culture. 

South Carolina History – PDF reprints of historical articles from the State.

South Carolina in the American Revolution - Prior to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the colony of South Carolina experienced alienating conflicts with Great Britain related to the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Boston Port Bill. Over one hundred battles between the colonist Continentals and militia and the British Army and their loyalists were fought on the soil of South Carolina.

South Carolina Memory - Your gateway to this state's digital cultural history – people, environment, arts, folklife, government, conflict, commerce, and religion.

Primary Sources - History, British

British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles." Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust. For 18th Century, collections includes records of proceedings in Parliament, higher clergy, office holders in central government and the Survey of London.

British Library Images Online - "Instant access to thousands of the greatest images from the British Library's collections which include manuscripts, rare books, musical texts and maps spanning almost 3000 years. The range of images available include illustrations, drawings, paintings and photographs of topics pertaining to all areas of British history and culture.

Internet Library of Early Journals 18th and 19th century British journals.

Primary Sources - History, European
European History Primary Sources - European History Primary Sources (EHPS) is a joint venture between various organizations within the European University Institute (EUI), building upon the EUI's World Wide Web Virtual Library. This ambitious project attempts to create a single site compiling all digitized primary sources pertaining to European history. The various sites are arranged by nation, language, period, subject, and type of source, creating an easily usable index of digitized European primary sources. The site also features a search box that allows users to search all of the sites contained in the index.

The European Library - This site offers access to the resources of 48 European national libraries in 36 languages. The resources, both digital and non-digital, include books, magazines, journals, audio recordings and other material. The European Library portal offers free searching, and delivers metadata records as well as digital objects: some free, others at cost.

Primary Sources - Religion
Islamic Heritage Project - The Islamic Heritage Project (IHP), part of Harvard's Open Collections Program, has digitized more than 600 primary-source "Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts." The IHP covers topics such as law, science, history, geography, literature, philosophy, and calligraphy and incorporates biographies and autobiographies. The collection's languages include Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Urdu, and Malay. Users can browse collections and maps by title, author, language, geographic area, or topic. Broad topics include Arabic language, Koran, Fatwas, Sufism, Rhetoric, Mathematics, Women, Poetry, and Medicine. Regions include the Arabian Peninsula, the Balkans, Central Asia, Egypt, Turkey, South Asia, North Africa, Iran, and Iraq. 




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