General primary source resources

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 Indians of the Pacific Northwest
Digital collection of over 2,200 photographs and 1,500 textual documents about the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures. Several maps are also included.

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. (American Indian Movement) and Wounded Knee.
Global Commodities
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.

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.

Indigenous Peoples of North America
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.

National Museum of the American Indian
Online home of the NMAI collections. Particularly strong for images of objects/artifacts, but also good for searching by peoples/cultures and specific locations.


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

Cherokee Phoenix
Archive of the first newspaper published by Native Americans and the first to be published in a Native American language (note: articles are written in both Cherokee and English). Coverage 1828-1934.

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

Native News Online
Current news articles covering Indigenous life and culture in the United States.

Personal accounts/Narratives/Letters/Memoirs

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.).

Oral histories

Doris Duke Collection of American Indian Oral History
Transcripts of oral history interviews conducted during the period 1967 -1972 with Native Americans in Oklahomans regarding the histories and cultures of their respective nations and tribes.

Indian-Pioneer Papers Collection
Transcripts of over 80,000 oral history interviews conducted during the 1930s by government workers with Oklahomans regarding the settlement of Oklahoma and Indian territories, as well as the condition and conduct of life there. Coverage 1861-1936.

Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Collection of approximately 4,000 interviews with members of tribes and nations in the Southeast, with a particular focus on Florida. Coverage 1861-1936.

Governmental documents

Archives Unbound
Collection of eight different document archives — of particular relevance to this course is the collection of over 14,000 FBI documents in “American Indian Movement and Native American Radicalism”.

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

National Archives: American Indian Records
Documents covering the U.S. government’s interactions with American Indians, dating from 1774 through the mid 1990s.

National Indian Law Library
Information related to federal Indian and tribal law, including a tribal law gateway and research guides for finding resources by topic (e.g. water rights, tribal education, religion and sacred places, etc.).

Primary Documents in American History: Indian Removal Act
Documents related to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, including congressional debates, bills, laws, and President Andrew Jackson’s speeches and letters.


Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian
Curtis’ attempt to record traditional Indian cultures was controversial for its depictions of otherness, but is still an impressive collection of images and descriptions.

Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains Digital Collection
Photographs, paintings, and drawings covering the period from 1874 through the 1940s.

Portrayals of Native Americans
Collection of images portraying Native Americans, broken into four categories: color plate books; mass market appeal; foreign views; and early ethnography.


Ethnographic Video Online
Collection of ethnographic films for the study of human culture and behavior. “Covers every region of the world and features the work of many of the most influential documentary filmmakers of the 20th century.”

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.

Music (includes sound files and arrangements)

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.

Naxos Music Library
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.