General primary source resources

African American Communities
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.

American Indian Histories and Cultures
Primary sources relating to American Indian history in the United States, Canada and Mexico from earliest contact with Europeans through the late twentieth century.

American Radicalism
Collection of primary sources about 20th century radicalism in the United States from the Michigan State University Libraries. Includes resources related to the A.I.M., Asian Americans, birth control, the Black Panthers, the Hollywood Ten, the I.W.W., the Ku Klux Klan, the Rosenberg Case, Sacco and Vanzetti, the Scottsboro Boys, the S.D.S., and Wounded Knee. Remembered and Reclaimed
Collection of primary and secondary sources on African American history plus links to digital archives and other African American history sites.

Bracero History Archive
Oral histories and artifacts pertaining to the Bracero program, under which millions of Mexican agricultural workers crossed the border between 1942-1964.

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.

Civil Rights Digital Library
Gateway to primary sources on the civil rights movement in the U.S., including films, oral histories, government documents, and editorial cartoons.

Digital Library of the Caribbean
Collection of digitized documents, books, newspapers, and other materials relating to Caribbean culture and history.

Digital Schomburg
Digital Schomburg from the New York Public Library provides access to online exhibitions, books, articles, photographs, prints, audio and video streams, and selected external links for research in the history and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Discovering American Women’s History Online
Gateway to digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States.

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.

Hathi Trust Digital Library
Digital repository of books and other materials from research libraries across the country. Full text of works in the public domain can be searched and viewed. The full text of works still in copyright can be searched but not be viewed.

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank
Collection of personal accounts, records, photographs, videos, and maps documenting Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the personal responses to them.

Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive
Primary documents on the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II created and collected as part of a research project initiated in 1942 at the University of California, Berkeley.

JARDA: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
Primary sources documenting the experience of Japanese Americans in World War II internment camps. Includes photos, letters, diaries, and oral histories.

Louisiana Digital Library

Race and Place
Collection of primary sources on the racial segregation in Charlottesville, Virginia, from the late 1880s to the mid-20th century. Includes images, newspaper articles, census records, city directories, political broadsides, and maps.

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice
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.

Umbra: Search African American History
Digital platform that “links to more than 400,000 pieces of history — photos, videos, letters and manuscripts — from 500 libraries and museums, including the Smithsonian Institution.”


Accessible Archives: African American Newspapers, 1827-1855
Full text of African American newspapers from the 19th century.

African Newspapers, Series 1 & 2, 1800-1925
Digitized newspapers from 21 countries across Africa, covering “repercussions of the Atlantic slave trade, life under colonial rule…the emergence of Black journalism, the Zulu Wars and the rejection of Western imperialism.”

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
Collection of digitized African American newspapers from more than 35 states.

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

The Black Panther
Full color digitizations of The Black Panther, the official newspaper of the Black Panther Party. Coverage 1967-1976, with a few missing issues.

Ebony Magazine Archive
Digitized full-text archive of Ebony, the seminal magazine with an African-American focus on culture, politics, civil rights, business, education, and fashion. The archive runs from the first issue in 1945 through 2014, and includes the iconic cover pages and advertisements in addition to full text articles.

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920
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.

Essence Magazine Archive
Full page archives of Essence, a magazine that focuses on lifestyle, health, current events, and beauty interests for black women, from the first issue in 1970 through 2005.

Full text of Harper’s Weekly with extensive indexing of articles, illustrations, and advertisements. Coverage 1857-1912.

Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980 (many titles are bilingual: Spanish and English)
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.

Latin American Newspapers, 1805-1922 (most of the content is in Spanish)
Collection of digitized Latin American newspapers published in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Features titles from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and elsewhere.

Personal accounts/Narratives/Pamphlets

African American Perspectives
Collection of 351 pamphlets by African Americans and others from the Library of Congress’s Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907. The bulk of the material was published between 1875 and 1900 and includes 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.

African American Women Writers of the 19th Century
A collection of 52 works providing “access to the thought, perspectives and creative abilities of black women as captured in books and pamphlets published prior to 1920.” A project from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Digital Schomburg of the New York Public Library.

Early Encounters in North America
Major collection of over 100,000 pages of letters, diaries, memoirs, and accounts of early encounters between Europeans and North American Indians. Indexed to allow for unique browsing and searching (e.g. by type of flora or fauna, encounters between specific groups of peoples, particular events or places, etc.).

Free People of Color in Louisiana
Collection of family papers, business records, and public documents pertaining to free people of color in Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley.

From Slavery to Freedom
Collection of 397 pamphlets published from 1824 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials from the Library of Congress range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches.

Governmental documents

Archives Unbound
Collection of seven different document archives covering Freedom Riders in the South (1961), Foreign Relations Between the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean States (1930-44), Japanese-American Relocation Camp Newspapers (1942-45), the National Farm Worker Ministry (1939-85), the Mexican Revolution (1910-24), the National Domestic Workers Union (1965-79), and the U.S. Civilian Advisory Effort in Vietnam (1950-54).

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties
Compilation of U.S. treaties, laws and executive orders pertaining to Native American Indian tribes from 1778 to 1971.

Videos/Oral histories

Civil Rights Documentation Project Oral History Transcripts
Collection of oral histories documenting the civil rights movement from the Tougaloo College Archives in Mississippi. Transcripts include biographical information and tables of contents.

Internet Archive: Moving Image Archive
Gateway to a variety of film and video collections, including a collection of newsreels produced from 1929-1967 and short, ephemeral films from the Prelinger Archive documenting everyday life, culture, industry, and institutions in the United States from 1927 to 1987.

Suffragists Oral History Project
Collection of oral histories documenting the activities of leaders and participants in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

Music (includes sound files and arrangements)

African American Band Music and Recordings, 1883-1923
A collection of stock arrangements for bands or small orchestras of popular songs written by African Americans. Also includes digitized sets of parts and pre-1923 recordings for selected arrangements, songs, and composers.

Music & Performing Arts Online
Interface for simultaneously searching five music listening databases: American Song, Classical Music Library, Contemporary World Music, and Jazz Music Library, and Smithsonian Global Sound.


Historical Statistics of the United States
Demographic, economic, and social statistics of the United States from colonial times to the end of the 20th century. Data can be searched, downloaded, and graphed.


Primary Sources Guide
Skillman’s guide to finding primary sources. Includes links for finding speeches, images, films, and many other types of primary sources.

Research Assistance

For assistance in finding research material for this course, contact:
Ben Jahre
124 Skillman Library

Or consult another reference librarian at Skillman.