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Primary Documents and History Websites

Primary Sources are original documents from which historians draw interpretations and conclusions about the past. Some examples of primary sources include letters, diaries, journals, official government reports and documents, maps, newspapers, film, and oral histories.

The following resource guide lists websites that contain original documents held in libraries and archives throughout the United States. Many of the documents are digital or scanned versions of the actual document. Other websites contain a reproduced version of the original document such as a typescript of a letter or oral history interview.

The links are listed in rough chronological order and/or by theme. Within some of the sites, the archival portions may not appear immediately, but can be found within a website by clicking on links noted as “documents,” “archives,” or “resources.”

Need help deciphering the “old stuff “ from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries?

Go to www.dohistory.org for guidance in reading original documents, particularly handwriting, from these eras.

This list will be updated as new links will be added in the future.


COLONIAL AND EARLY AMERICA

Diary of Martha Ballard: White woman from Maine

www.dohistory.org

Virtual Jamestown

jamestown.vcdh.virginia.edu

Witchcraft In Salem Village: Documents relating to witch hunts of the era

etext.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft


19th CENTURY: AFRICAN AMERICANS

See also “Slavery, Resistance, and Abolitionism”

First-Person Narratives of the American South

http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/

 


The Church in the Southern Black Community

 

http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/



19th CENTURY: POPULAR CULTURE

Making of America Digital Library in American Social History:

Magazines, books, journals, broadsides from the era

moa.umdl.umich.edu


Godey’s Lady’s Book

www.history.rochester.edu/godeys


Harper’s Magazine

www.harpweek.com


Library of of Southern Literature

http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/


19th CENTURY: SLAVE TRADE

Records of Slave Ship Movement Between Africa and the Americas, 1817-1843

dpls.dacc.wisc.edu/slavedata/slaintro1.html


19th CENTURY: SLAVERY, RESISTANCE, AND ABOLITION

American Slave Narratives: University of Virginia

xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/wpa/wpahome.html

“Been Here So Long”: Select WPA Slave Narratives


http://newdeal.feri.org/asn/asn00.htm

Ex-Slave Narratives: Library of Congress

lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam015.html

North American Slave Narratives: University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/


Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition

www.yale.edu/glc


19th CENTURY: THE SOUTH

Documenting the American South:
First Person Narratives of the American South
Library of Southern Literature
North American Slave Narratives,
The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865
The Church in the Southern Black Community

http://docsouth.unc.edu/index.html

 

 


19th and 20th CENTURY WOMEN- GENERAL

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1830-1930

womhist.binghamton.edu


19th CENTURY: WHITE WOMEN

Diary of Martha Ballard

www.dohistory.org


Letters of Florence Nightingale

clendening.kumc.edu/dc/fn


19th CENTURY: TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT

American Prohibition: Selected Documents

www.cohums.ohio-state.edu/history/projects/prohibition/default.htm


19th CENTURY: CIVIL WAR

American Civil War Homepage

sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war


Southern Homefront, 1861-1865

http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls


Valley of the Shadow Project: Two Virginia communities during the Civil War

jefferson.village.virginia.edu/vshadow2/contents.html


19th CENTURY: HAYMARKET BOMBING AND RIOT (1886)

Haymarket Drama

www.chicagohistory.org/dramas/index.htm


19th AND 20th CENTURY: NATIVE AMERICANS

Native American History Archives

www.ilt.columbia.edu/k12/naha

First Person Narratives

http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn



19th and 20th CENTURY: SUFFRAGE MOVEMENTS

National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921

lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/naw

Suffragists Oral History Project

http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/projects/suffragist



20th CENTURY: AFRICAN AMERICANS

See also “Civil Rights” and “The South”

First-Person Narratives of the American South

http://docsouth.unce.edu/fpn


The Church in the Southern Black Community

http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/

 

Oral Histories of the American South

http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/



Harlem, 1900-1940: An African-American Community

 

http://www2.si.umich.edu/chico/Harlem/



20th CENTURY: ASIAN AMERICANS

Asian-American Oral History Site

www.itp.berkeley.edu/~asam150


20th CENTURY: THE SOUTH

Race and Place: An African-American Community in the Jim Crow South

www.vcdh.virginia.edu/afam/cvilleenter.html

Documenting the American South:
First-Person Narratives of the American South
Library of Southern Literature
The Church in the Southern Black Community

Oral Histories of the American South


http://docsouth.unc.edu


20th CENTURY: WHITE WOMEN

Emma Goldman Papers Project: Early 20th Century anarchist, feminist, peace advocate

sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman

Margaret Sanger Papers Project: Early 20th Century Birth Control Activist

www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger

 


20th CENTURY: LABOR HISTORY

Seattle General Strike Project (1919)

faculty.washington.edu/gregoryj/strike

 

Oral Histories of the American South

http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp

 


20Th CENTURY: DEPRESSION ERA

American Life Histories, 1936-1940; Voices from the Thirties

rs6.loc.gov/wpaintro/wpahome.html


20th CENTURY: WORLD WAR II, ATOMIC BOMB

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum


http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/index_e2.html


20th CENTURY: CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS

This part of the site is being reorganized and reconstructed-- please check back later!

20th CENTURY: THE SIXTIES

The Sixties Project: Oral history of individual experiences in the 60’s, politics, culture

lists.village.virginia.edu/sixties

1968- The Whole World Was Watching: An Oral History

www.stg.brown.edu/projects/1968


20th CENTURY: WOMEN’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT

(1960’s and 1970’s)

Women’s Liberation Movement Papers

scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm


ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL RESOURCES

African-American Mosaic: Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture

www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/intro.html

American Identities and Ethnicities

This is an extensive site that contains links and resources for numerous racial, religious, and ethnic groups within the United States

xroads.virginia.edu/~YP/ethnic.html

Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

www.yale.edu/glc

National Civil Rights Museum


http://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/home.htm

 

People With A History: Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans History

This website is extensive as it contains both secondary and primary sources from all historical periods in U.S. history as well as World history. Looking for primary sources only? Within each geographical and chronological period, click on “texts.”

www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/

Statistical Abstracts of the United States

www.census.gov/statab/www