Contents

General primary source resources

BlackPast.org: Remembered and Reclaimed
Collection of primary and secondary sources on African American history plus links to digital archives and other African American history sites.

Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920
Digital collection of over 1,200 books, pamphlets, almanacs, broadsides and ephemera covering the history of the Caribbean Islands. Can be searched or browsed by subject, genre, place of publication, language, etc.

Colonial Caribbean
Extensive collection of material from the UK Colonial Office files, covering “administrative documentation, trade and shipping records, minutes of council meetings, and details of plantation life, colonial settlement, and imperial rivalries across the region” from 1624 to 1870.

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.

  • The Church in the Southern Black Community traces the way Southern African Americans adopted and transformed Protestant Christianity into the central institution of community life.
  • The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865 presents materials related to Southern life during the Civil War and the challenge of creating a nation state while waging war. This collection includes government documents, personal diaries, religious pamphlets, and many other materials.

Global Commodities
Primary sources 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..

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.

Umbra: Search African American History
Digital library that aggregates materials documenting African American history and cultural life from archives, libraries, museums, and other US repositories

UNCG Digital Library on American Slavery

  • The The Race and Slavery Petitions Project contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites, extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, as well as from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others. Buried in these documents are the names and other data on roughly 80,000 slaves, 8,000 free people of color, and 62,000 whites, both slave owners and non-slave owners.
  • The North Carolina Runaway Slave Advertisements project provides online access to all known runaway slave advertisements (more than 2300 items) published in North Carolina newspapers from 1751 to 1840. These brief ads provide a glimpse into the social, economic, and cultural world of the American slave system and the specific experience within North Carolina. The NCRSA website includes digital scans of the ads, contextual essays to address their historical research value, full text transcripts, an annotated bibliography to aid researchers, and a searchable database.

Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
Detailed data on trans-Atlantic slaving voyages from the 16th through 19th centuries.

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.

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.

North American Slave Narratives
Documents the individual and collective story of African Americans’ struggle for freedom and human rights in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Subcollection of DocSouth, listed above.

Newspapers/Magazines

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

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

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.”

Early American Newspapers I and II

Searchable, cover-to-cover reproductions of hundreds of U.S. historic newspapers covering 1690-1900 with a focus on 1700-1799 and 1820-1860.

HarpWeek
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.

Statistics

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.

Guides

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
610-330-5631
jahreb@lafayette.edu

Or consult another reference librarian at Skillman.