Major Research Tools

America: History and Life

Time period covered: prehistory to present; publication coverage: 1910 to present.

Indexes journal articles, book reviews, and dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada. Subjects include area studies, folklore, government, historiography, political science, popular culture, and urban history.

American History 1493-1945


Major collection of primary sources on American history from the times of the earliest settlers until the end of World War II.

History Research Tools - U.S. (General)


Skillman Library's links to major indexes and full-text collections covering multiple periods of United States history.

Indigenous Peoples of North America

Coverage: 16th C. - 1986

Large collection of primary sources split into two parts. Part I covers the documented history, sociology, and culture of Indigenous peoples across the US and Canada from the age of invasion and colonization through western settlement and forced displacement. Part II presents the record and sometimes-troubled history of the Indian Rights Association, an organization founded by White philanthropists that attempted to advocate for Indigenous rights.

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History


In depth articles on major topics and trends relating to the study of American history. Written (and periodically updated) by scholars and peer-reviewed.

Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive

Coverage: 17th C. - late 19th C.

Major collection of primary source material covering the global history of the slave trade, slavery, and anti-slavery movements. Presented in 4 collections: Debates over Slavery and Abolition; Slave Trade in the Atlantic World; The Institution of Slavery; and Age of Emancipation.

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice

Coverage: 1490-2007

Vast collection of documents relating to the global slave trade and subsequent abolition efforts and social justice movements. Documents include manuscripts, court records, maps, lists of slaves and ships' logs, books, statistics, and many types of images.

Other Suggested Research Tools

African American Newspapers, Series 1 & 2

Coverage: 1827-1998
Collection of digitized newspapers written by and for African-Americans from more than 35 states.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals


Provides digital access to a highly comprehensive collection of American periodicals published between 1691 and 1912. Subject coverage includes: advertising, health, women's issues, science, the history of slavery, industry and professions, religious issues, culture and the arts, and more. Produced by a partnership between EBSCO and the American Antiquarian Society (AAS).

American Broadsides & Ephemera, 1749-1900

Full-Text, Visual Resource

Collection of over 30,000 documents, many in full color, fairly evenly split between broadsides (spanning 1749-1900) and ephemera (1820-1900). Contains rare items such as sailing cards, playbills, menus, music programs, advertisements, etc. Built in partnership with the American Antiquarian Society.

American Periodicals Series Online


Digitized images from American magazines and journals that originated between 1741 and 1940. Includes general interest magazines, children's publications, women's magazines, and literary and professional journals.

Early American Newspapers I and II

Coverage: 1690-1900 (focus on 1700-1799 and 1820-1860)
Searchable, cover-to-cover reproductions of hundreds of U.S. historic newspapers. The publisher's web site includes a description of some of the key titles within Series I and Series II.

Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980


Digitized collection of Spanish-language newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries. Includes many titles published bilingually in Spanish and English.

History Matters

Full-Text, Gateway

Selective gateway to online U.S. history resources. Also includes first-person, primary documents and teaching resources. Searchable by keyword or topic.

Making of America


Collection of primary sources for the study of American social history, featuring books and journals published primarily between 1850 and 1877. From the University of Michigan and Cornell University.

Periodicals Index Online


Electronic index to millions of articles published in over 6,000 periodicals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, covering more than 300 years.

Specialized Collections

African American Communities


Primary source material on race relations across social, political, cultural and religious arenas from the mid-nineteenth century through the twentieth century. Focuses primarily on New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and North Carolina.

African American Perspectives


Collection of materials relating to African American history and culture from the Library of Congress's rare book collection. The bulk of the materials were published between 1822 and 1909 and include public orations, organization records, personal narratives, legal documents, and literary works. Topics covered include segregation, voting rights, violence against African Americans, and the colonization movement.

American Prison Newspapers, 1800-2020: Voices from the Inside

Database of hundreds of prison newspapers from across the U.S. representing penal institutions of all kinds, with special attention paid to women's-only institutions. From Reveal Digital, a library crowdfunded open access initiative.

American West

Primary sources relating to westward expansion in America from the early eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century. From the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library. Can be searched jointly with the Indigenous Histories and Cultures in North America collection.

Black Abolitionist Archive


Collection of abolitionist speeches by antebellum blacks and editorials from the period.

Brooklyn Newsstand


Full text of several historical Brooklyn newspapers, including the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1841 – 1963).

China, America and the Pacific


Primary sources connected to the trading and cultural relationships that emerged between China, America and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers


Allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1777-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. From the Library of Congress.

Confidential Print: North America, 1824-1961

Collection of the most important papers generated by the British Foreign and Colonial Offices relating to North America. Covers the United States, Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean, with some coverage of Central and South America.

Docs Teach: Primary Source Documents


Hundreds of primary source documents, photographs, drawings, maps, and other American history materials drawn from the holdings of the National Archives. Large collections on aviation and space, civil rights, Civil War, founders and founding documents, presidents, and World War II. Images can be used in papers and presentations.

Documenting the American South


Collection of primary sources on Southern history, literature and culture from the late colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century. Includes collections of slave narratives, Southern literature, and materials related to the church in the black community.

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920

Visual Resource

Collection of over 9,000 print advertisements from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University. See Ad*Access for advertisements in Duke's collection from 1911-1955.

Empire Online


Primary sources charting the rise and fall of empires, from the explorations of Columbus, Captain Cook, and others to decolonization in the second half of the twentieth century. Includes perspectives from colonizers as well as indigenous peoples from Africa, India and North America.

Everyday Life and Women In America, c1800-1920


Collection of books, pamphlets, periodicals, and broadsides for the study of American social, cultural and popular history. Particularly rich in conduct-of-life and domestic management literature, offering insights into the daily lives of women and men in the nineteenth century.

Foreign Relations of the United States


Collection of primary source documents from Presidential libraries, Departments of State and Defense, NSA, CIA, AID, foreign affairs agencies, and private papers of individuals involved in formulating U.S. foreign policy. Selected volumes online. Complete print version available in Skillman Library (Call No. JX 233 .A3).

Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress


Contains approximately 2,000 items (16,000 images) relating to Douglass's life as an escaped slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, and public servant. The papers span the years 1841 to 1964, with the bulk of the material from 1862 to 1895.

Frontier Life: Borderlands, Settlements and Colonial Encounters


Primary sources relating to various frontiers that arose from the movements of Europeans to Africa, Australasia and North America. The majority of the material originates from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Global Commodities

Data, Full-Text

Primary sources such as manuscripts/diaries, rare books, maps, paintings, advertisements, company records, etc., covering the global history of 15 major commodities: chocolate, coffee, cotton, fur, energy, opium, porcelain, silver & gold, spices, sugar, tea, timber, tobacco, wheat, wine & spirits. Also includes data on energy production, consumption, and reserves by country from 1965 to the present.

Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory


Collection of primary sources about Chicago during the period before and after the great fire of 1871.



Coverage: 1857-1912

Full text of Harper's Weekly with extensive indexing of articles, illustrations, and advertisements.

Historic Pittsburgh


Collection of primary and secondary sources related to the history of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region from the 18th century to the early 20th century. The site, from The University of Pittsburgh, includes over 300 books, nearly 600 maps, census schedules, and a timeline.

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930


Harvard University Library digital collection of primary source materials (books, pamphlets, photographs, maps, manuscripts, diaries, etc.) providing a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants to the United States. Focus is on voluntary immigration in the 19th century.

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties

Compilation of U.S. treaties, laws, and executive orders pertaining to Indigenous peoples and tribes from 1778 to 1971.

Indigenous Histories and Cultures in North America

Primary sources relating to indigenous history in the United States, Canada and Mexico from earliest contact with Europeans through the late twentieth century. From the Ayer Collection at the Newberry Library. Can be searched jointly with the American West collection.

Indigenous Newspapers in North America


Coverage: 1828-2016

Collection of 42 newspapers from Indigenous peoples of the US and Canada covering 1828-2016.

Jewish Life in America

Coverage: c.1654-1954

Archive of documents highlighting the Jewish American culture, identity, and experiences, sourced from the American Jewish Historical Society.

Journals of the Confederate Congress


Digitized version of the Proceedings of the Confederate Congress between 1861 and 1865. The 7-volume set originally was compiled by the War Department and published in 1904-05.

Landmark Decisions: A Century of Change (1856-1955)


Full text of eleven decisions reflecting the Supreme Court's changing attitude toward race, from Scott v. Sanford to Brown v. Board of Education.

Medical Services and Warfare

Coverage: 1845-c. 1935

Archive documenting the history of nursing and medicinal practices during wartime, with a focus on the American Civil War, the Crimean War, and the First World War (including the outbreak of influenza in 1918).

Migration to New Worlds

Coverage: c. 1800-c. 1980

Major collection of oral histories, personal accounts, correspondence, shipping records, and many other primary sources covering the experience of migration from Europe and Asia to the United States, Canada, Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.

Museum of the City of New York Virtual Exhibitions


Collection of online exhibitions about New York City.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies


Correspondence, orders, reports and returns of the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. A digitized version of the 70-volume, indexed set published by the War Department between 1880 and 1901.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies


Reports, orders, correspondence, maps, charts and illustrations related to naval operations during the Civil War. A digitized version of the 30-volume, indexed set published by the Naval War Records Office between 1894 and 1922.

Pennsylvania Civil War Era Collection


Searchable full text of some Pennsylvania newspapers from 1831 to 1877. From the Penn State Libraries.

Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900


Pamphlets, ads, books, trade cards, posters, and other ephemera meant to educate the general public about "popular" medicine and remedies.

Primary Documents in American History


Coverage: 1763-1877

Important documents from U.S. history (e.g., Treaty of Paris, Missouri Compromise) with brief background information and links to other relevant primary materials. Provided by the Library of Congress.

Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection


Extensive collection of pamphlets and leaflets relating to the anti-slavery struggle. Hosted by the Cornell University Library.

Slavery & Abolition in the US


Small collection of books and pamphlets from the 19th century on slavery in the United States. Includes anti-slavery tracts and slave narratives. From Dickinson College and Millersville University.

Trade Catalogues and the American Home

Coverage: 1850-1950

Digitized trade catalogues highlighting American consumerism, marketing, manufacturing, and home life in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History

Coverage: 1835 - 1976

Diaries and correspondence, plus some illustrations, describing the motivations for and experiences of travel by 19th & 20th century American women to destinations across the globe.

U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875


Records of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the 1st-43rd United States Congresses.

Valley of the Shadow


Collection of resources documenting two Shenandoah Valley communities in the years before, during, and after the Civil War. Contains searchable newspapers, population census data, agricultural census data, manufacturing census data, slave owner census data, tax records, letters and diaries, images, maps, church records, and military rosters.

Victorian Popular Culture

Coverage: 1779 - 1930

Collection of images, posters, playbills, books, objects, and ephemera (e.g. pamphlets, handbills) documenting popular entertainment in the Victorian era. Divided into 4 modules: spiritualism/magic; circuses; theater/music halls; and cinema.

Women Working, 1800-1930


Digitized books, manuscripts, images, magazines, and catalogs from Harvard University libraries and museums on women in the U.S. economy from 1800-1930.