Online Resources: Guides to Online Primary Sources:

Locating and Evaluating Online Resources

Colonial America and Early Republic

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Gilder Lehrman Institute

This site provides multimedia resources and links for teaching American history, focusing on slavery, ethnic history, private life, technology, and film. The site offers a full U.S. history textbook and more than 1,500 searchable and briefly annotated links to American history-related sites, including 150 links to Supreme Court decisions and 330 links to historic speeches.

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy, 1718-1820, UNC, Chapel Hill

This site provides detailed data on more than 100,000 slaves and free blacks in Louisiana from 1718 to 1820. Users can search by name of slave, master’s name, gender, epoch, racial designation, plantation location, and place of origin. Information was compiled from documents created when slaves arrived by ship, were bought and sold, reported as runaways, testified in court cases, manumitted, and at the death of masters.

Hypertext on American History, University Groningen (Netherlands)

This site provides more than 3,000 documents pertaining to United States history, primarily from the colonial period to the end of the 19th century. Though this site provides no contextualization, it is very useful for locating important documents.

Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site offers records and acts of Congress from the Journals of the Continental Congress through The Congressional Globe, which ceased publication with the 42nd Congress in 1873. An excellent resource for antebellum and reconstruction politics.

Do History—Martha Ballard’s Diary Online, Film Study Center, Harvard University

This experimental, interactive case study explores the remarkable 18th-century diary of midwife Martha Ballard, including two versions of the 1400-page diary, facsimile and transcribed full-text; more than 300 documents, interactive exercises, and teaching resources.

Drafting the Documents of Independence, Library of Congress

Eight documents and prints relating to the Declaration of Independence are presented on this site, including a fragment of the earliest known draft and Thomas Jefferson’s “original rough draught” with changes by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and others. This site is well-organized and successfully tracks the Declaration’s development and effect.

The Hartford Black History Project, Hartford Black History Project

Two exhibits on black history in Hartford, Connecticut. “A Struggle from the Start” charts stages in the life of the Hartford African-American community from 1638 to 1920, including slavery, black codes, free blacks, black governors, and black community institutions. A second exhibit presents approximately eighty photographs from Hartford’s African-American community covering the years 1870 to the 1970s.

Campaign Atlases, United States Military Academy

Visitors will find more than 400 color maps of military campaigns from American colonial wars to U.S. involvement in Somalia in 1992-1993. Most maps are of conflicts in which the U.S. played a role. Maps are indexed by war and may be enlarged. The site is easy to navigate although maps are large and can be slow to download.

United States Historical Census Data Browser, University of Virginia Library

This site provides data gathered from census records and other government sources for a study entitled “Historical Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-1970.” For each decade, users can browse extensive population- and economic-oriented statistical information at state and county levels, arranged according to a variety of categories, including place of birth, age, gender, marital status, race, ethnicity and education.

A Brush With History: Paintings from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

The National Portrait Gallery is closed for renovation, but visitors to this site can view seventy-six portraits of prominent Americans drawn from the Gallery’s collections. Paintings are arranged in chronological order, from the 1720s to the 1990s. Featured artists include famous 18th and 19th century portraitists Gilbert Stuart and John Singer Sargent, as well as more abstract 20th century artists like Marguerite Zorath. A brief biography accompanies each portrait, along with the artist’s name (if known), the year painted, the medium, and acquisition information.

Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive, University of Virginia

Provides more than 1,700 texts—correspondence, books, addresses, and a variety of public papers—written by or to Thomas Jefferson. The site also includes a biography of Jefferson written in 1834, eight years after his death. The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, published in 1900, organizes more than 9,000 quotes according to theme and other categories. A collection of 2,700 excerpts from Jefferson’s writings present his political philosophy.

Virginia Runaways Project, University of Virginia

Provides full transcriptions and images of more than 2,200 newspaper advertisements regarding runaway slaves, mostly from the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette,between 1736 and 1776. Includes ads placed by owners and overseers for runaways as well as ads for captured runaway or suspected runaway slaves placed by sheriffs and other governmental officials. In addition, the site’s creators have included ads for runaway servants and sailors as well as military deserters. Searchable by any words appearing in ads. Additional material includes three K-12 teaching guides using the ads.



The Living Room Candidate: A History of Presidential Campaign Commercials, 1952-2000, American Museum of the Moving Image

This site offers 183 television commercials used since 1952 to sell presidential candidates to the American public and an annotated guide to twenty-one websites created for the 1996 and 2000 elections. Ads from each election are accessible by year as well as by common themes and strategies used over the years, such as ‘Looking Presidential,’ ‘Attack Ads,’ ‘Family Man,’ and ‘Real People.’ Essays (200-400 words) analyze ad strategies of the major party candidates for each election; and a program guide (1,000-words) for high school students presents a history of the usage of TV commercials in campaigns. Valuable for students of American political history, consumer culture, and advertising history.

Ad*Access, Duke University Digital Scriptorium

This easily navigated site presents images and database information for more than 7,000 advertisements printed primarily in the United States from 1911 to 1955. It is an excellent archive of primary documents for students of consumer and popular culture.



Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film, American Memory, Library of Congress

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to have his life chronicled through extensive use of film. This site offers 104 films depicting events in Roosevelt’s life, from the Spanish-American War in 1898 to his death in 1919. This site is a good resource for learning about Theodore Roosevelt and early film.

The American Variety Stage, 1870-1920, American Memory, Library of Congress

This collection documents the development of vaudeville and other popular entertainment from the 1870s to the 1920s. It includes 334 English- and Yiddish-language play scripts, 146 theater programs and playbills, sixty-one motion pictures, and ten sound recordings. This site also features 143 photos and twenty-nine memorabilia items documenting the life of Harry Houdini.


Letters and Diaries

George Washington Papers, 1741-1799, American Memory, Library of Congress

This collection of approximately 65,000 documents written by or to George Washington includes correspondence, letterbooks, diaries, journals, account books, military records, reports, and notes written from 1741 through 1799. Because of the wide range of Washington’s interests and correspondents, including ordinary citizens, his papers are a rich source for studying almost every aspect of colonial and early American history.

African-American Women, The Digital Scriptorium, Duke University

Writings of three African-American women of the 19th century are offered in this site. It features scanned images and transcriptions of an eighty-five page memoir by Elizabeth Johnson Harris (1867-1923), a Georgia woman who's parents had been slaves; a 565-word letter written in 1857 by a North Carolinian slave named Vilet Lester; and four letters written between 1837 and 1838 by Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson, slaves on a Virginia plantation. The documents are accompanied by three background essays, six photographs, a bibliography of seven titles on American slave women, and eight links to additional resources. Documents offer insight into the lives of women living under slavery and during its aftermath in the South.



Panoramic Maps, 1847-1929, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site presents more than 1,000 original panoramic maps, a popular cartographic form during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The maps cover the contiguous forty-eight states and four Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec from 1847 to 1929. Viewers can zoom in to find artists’ renderings of individual streets, buildings, and landscapes. An excellent resource for studying urbanization, cities, growth, and mapmaking.

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Cartography Associates

This site consists of more than 4,400 historical maps of North and South America. Most of the maps were made in the 18th and 19th centuries; many are notable for their craftsmanship. Searchable by country, state, publication author, keyword, date, title, event, subject, and name of engraver or printer. This site vividly conveys how certain locations have changed over time.


Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site is a collection of 104 sound recordings from annual folk festivals held at Fort Valley State College, an African-American teaching college in central Georgia. It also provides sixty-three items of written documentation about the festival and the recording project. The collection is an extraordinary record of non-commercial American music and musical styles.

Max Hunter Folk Song Collection, Southwest Missouri State University

This site is a collection of audio files and song transcriptions of more than 1,000 songs recorded in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas between 1956 and 1976. Lyrics for all songs are included; some also have musical notations, names of singers, and location and date of the recording. No information is offered for composer or lyricist. Users may browse singers and song titles or search titles using keywords.


Oral History

Studs Terkel: Conversations With America, Chicago Historical Society

This site was created in honor of Studs Terkel, noted oral historian, radio host, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. An educational section helps students and teachers use oral history in the classroom. This site offers a rich history of many influential, as well as lesser-known, personalities living in the second half of the 20th century, and is beneficial to anyone interested in the Great Depression, World War II, race relations, and labor issues.

Oral History Online! Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Oral History Online has full-text transcripts of more than fifty-five searchable interviews. Current offerings include “The University History Series” focusing on the Free Speech Movement, “The Suffragists Oral History Project,” and interviews regarding the medical response to the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, 1981-1984. The site also contains “Oral History Tips” and guides to “Conducting an Oral History” and “Oral History Interviewing.”



Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920, American Memory, Library of Congress

The Detroit Publishing Company mass produced photographic images--especially color postcards, prints, and albums—for the American market from the late 1890s to 1924. This collection of more than 25,000 glass negatives and transparencies and about 300 color photolithographs also includes images taken prior to the company’s formation by landscape photographer William Henry Jackson, who became the company’s president in 1898. Although many images were taken in eastern locations, other areas of the U.S., the Americas, and Europe are represented. The collection specializes in views of buildings, streets, colleges, universities, natural landmarks, resorts, and copies of paintings. More than 300 photographs were taken in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. About 900 Mammoth Plate Photographs include views of Hopi peoples and their crafts and landscapes along several railroad lines in the 1880s and 1890s.

Florida State Archives Photographic Collection, Joan Morris, Florida State Archive

More than 100,000 photographs, many focusing on specific localities from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, are available on this website. Materials include collections on agriculture, the Seminole Indians, state political leaders, Jewish life, family life, postcards, and tourism.


Quantitative History

Centennial Celebration, Bureau of the Census

This site provides a wealth of statistical information on the U.S. population. While most materials offer recent data, more than thirty comprehensive reports and tables track decade-by-decade demographic shifts, including urban and rural population change, population of the largest one hundred cities, population density, and homeownership rates.

Dynamics of Idealism: Volunteers for Civil Rights, 1965-1982, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

Provides documentation collected for a study of the attitudes, backgrounds, goals, and experiences of volunteers participating in a 1965 Southern Christian Leadership Conference voter registration effort. Includes questionnaires submitted prior to and following the project, as well as a follow-up survey conducted in 1982. Participants were queried as to reasons they volunteered, what they expected, their attitudes regarding race and politics, and subsequent attitudes regarding civil rights, violence, and social change. This information is valuable for those studying the civil rights movement and sociological aspects of American reformers.


Civil War and Reconstruction

The African American Odyssey, American Memory, Library of Congress

More than 240 items dealing with African-American history, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. The site is organized into nine chronological periods, including slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction; the black exodus, the “Booker T. Washington era” of progress, World War I, the Depression and World War II; and Civil Rights. It is a well-written guide for exploring African-American history.

Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860, American Memory, Library of Congress

Provides published materials on legal aspects of slavery. Most of the pamphlets and books pertain to American cases in the 19th century. Includes documents on the slave trade, slave codes, the Fugitive Slave Law, and slave insurrections, and courtroom proceedings from famous trials such as the Amistad case, the Denmark Vesey conspiracy trial, and trials of noted abolitionists John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison.

Images of African Americans from the 19th Century, New York Public Library

This site contains roughly 500 images depicting the social, political, and cultural worlds of African Americans. The site can be searched through 17 subject categories, such as family, labor, Civil War, slavery, social life and customs, and portraits. This site offers a keyword search and is ideal for researching African American and 19th century history.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers Project, 1936-1938, American Memory, Library of Congress

A gold mine of information on the history of slavery from those who lived as slaves. This site has more than 2,300 first person accounts of slavery and 500 black and white photographs of former slaves. These narratives and photographs were collected as part of the 1930s Federal Writers Project of the Works Project Administration, and they were assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.

The Time of the Lincolns, PBS Online, WGBH, American Experience

This companion site to the six-hour documentary, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided includes essays and videos addressing the antislavery movement, the Underground Railroad, defenses for slavery, “wage slavery” in the North, African-Americans in the North, developments in technology, women’s rights, and literary women. This site is comprehensive and exceptionally well-designed. A teacher’s guide is included.

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music, Johns Hopkins University

Provides scanned images of more than 18,000 pieces of sheet music, especially 19th-century popular music, including songs related to military conflicts, presidents, romance, transportation, and the minstrel stage. Users may search for songs on hundreds of topics such as drinking, smoking, the circus, and death, or look for composers, song titles, or other catalog record data.

Making of America, University of Michigan

This site is a “digital library” of thousands of primary documents in American social history from the Antebellum period through Reconstruction. It offers more than three million pages of text from 10,000 volumes and 50,000 journal articles.

Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, University of Virginia

A massive, searchable archive of thousands of pages of maps, images, letters, diaries, newspapers, and church, agricultural, military, and public records—all relating to two communities, Staunton, Virginia, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, before, during, and after the Civil War.

Selected Civil War Photographs, Library of Congress, American Memory

This collection offers 1,118 photographs depicting Civil War military personnel, preparations for battle, and the aftermath of battles in the main eastern theater and in the west, in addition to Federal Navy and Atlantic seaborne expeditions against the Confederacy. The presentation “Does the Camera Ever Lie” demonstrates the constructed nature of images.

HarpWeek: Explore History, John Adler

This collection of exhibits presents free access to a wealth of texts and images taken from Harper’s on a variety of subjects dealing with 19th-century American political and social history. “Presidential Elections” offers 320 annotated political cartoons. “Toward Racial Equality” presents approximately seventy cartoons, illustrations, and advertisements dealing with slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and African-American culture and society.

Civil War Women, Digital Scriptorium, Duke University

These Civil War-era documents relate to three American women of diverse backgrounds and political persuasions. These women are Rose O'Neal Greenhow, a Confederate spy and Washington socialite; Sarah E. Thompson, who organized Union sympathizers near her home in Greenville, Tennessee; and sixteen-year-old Alice Williamson, a Gallatin, Tennessee, schoolgirl who kept a diary about the Union occupation of her town.

Eye of the Storm, Michael Johnson, Adam Stoltman, and Alan Dorow, Journal E

Presents more than 500 watercolor drawings and maps by Union Army Private Knox Sneden, depicting battle scenes, camp life, and maps. Four presentations depict particular incidents Sneden witnessed.

A Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment: Selections From the Tilton C. Reynolds Papers, American Memory, Library of Congress

This collection offers a unique perspective on the lives of a Union soldier and his family. The selected letters lend insight into the wartime dynamics of the Reynolds family, and their words reveal how family members in Reynolds’ regiment looked after him, announced his capture, and gave advice. The letters also describe the daily life of a Union soldier, touching on such topics as food, clothing, shelter, health, and punishment. Soldiers’ feelings, views on slavery and the election of 1864, as well as Reynolds’ account of seeing President and Mrs. Lincoln can all be found in this collection. The site also features two Special Presentations: “Timeline: History of the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865” and one on the Reynolds family.


Inter-war Years

Dr. Seuss Went to War: A Catalog of Political Cartoons, UC San Diego

From 1941 to 1943, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) drew more than 400 editorial cartoons as the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM. The cartoons are primarily related to issues surrounding World War II, and include caricature images of political figures like Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Emma Goldman Papers, Berkeley Digital Library

This site provides primary resources on Emma Goldman (1869-1940), a major figure in the history of radicalism and feminism in the United States prior to her deportation in 1919. Includes writings, speeches, newspaper accounts, and photographs, as well as a 1934 Hearst Metrotone Newsreel entitled Famous Anarchist Back from Exile.

The New Deal Network, Teachers College, Columbia University

A database of more than 20,000 items relating to the New Deal, including newspaper and journal articles, speeches, letters, reports, advertisements, and other textual materials, more than 4,000 images, and featured exhibits, many with lesson plan suggestions.

American Radicalism Collection, Michigan State University Libraries

This site contains 129 images of pamphlets and newsletters produced by radical movements. Groups and issues represented by one to 30 digital images are: Birth Control; the Black Panthers; the Hollywood Ten; the IWW; the Ku Klux Klan; the Rosenbergs; Sacco and Vanzetti; the Scottsboro Boys; Students for a Democratic Society; and Wounded Knee.

Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site features more than 100,000 images taken by government photographers with the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Office of War Information (OWI) during the New Deal and World War II eras. These images document the ravages of the Great Depression on farmers, scenes of everyday life in small towns and cities, and mobilization campaigns for World War II.

Internet Moving Images Archive, Prelinger Archives and Internet Archive

This site offers films selected from the Prelinger Archives, a privately held collection of 20th-century American ephemeral films (films produced for specific purposes at specific times, not intended for long-term preservation). The site includes films produced between 1927 and 1987 by and for U.S. corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions. Note that viewing these movies requires a DSL or faster connection and movies take several minutes to load.

By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943, NARA

This colorful exhibit showcases more than 900 original Works Project Administration posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program to support the arts. The silkscreen, lithograph, and woodcut posters were designed to publicize health and safety programs, art exhibits, theatrical and musical performances, travel and tourism, educational programs, and community activities in seventeen states and the District of Columbia.

Anti-Saloon League, 1893-1933, Ohio Public Library

This selection of printed material is representative of the public campaigns of the Anti-Saloon League from 1893 to 1933. Highlights include fourteen wet and dry maps of the U.S., three temperance anthems, transcriptions of nine anti-alcohol stories, and twelve pro-temperance cartoons. In addition, six entries from the Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem offer the Temperance perspective on communion wine, whiskey production, and alcohol use in China. Teachers will find eleven classroom activities relating to social reform.

Famous Trials, Douglas Linder, University of Missouri, Kansas City

This exceptional legal history site includes fascinating treatments of twenty of the most prominent court trials in American history, including: the Scopes “Monkey” Trial (1925); Scottsboro Trials (1931-1937); Nuremburg Trials (1945-49); the Hauptmann (Lindbergh) Trial (1935); and the Sweet Trials (1925-1926). There are also links to biographies of five “trial heroes,” including famous trial lawyer Clarence Darrow, and a “Constitutional Conflicts” site that offers twenty-nine important constitutional topics for class discussion.

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site features thirty-five hours of folk and popular music sound recordings from several European, Slavic, Middle Eastern, and English- and Spanish-speaking communities. The Work Projects Administration California Folk Music Project collected these 817 songs, in twelve languages and representing 185 musicians, in Northern California between 1938 and 1940. The collection also includes 168 photographs of musicians, forty-five scale drawings and sketches of instruments, and numerous written documents.

Anti-Imperialism in the United States, 1898-1935, Jim Zwick, American Studies Scholar

This innovative site of important texts on American imperialism and its opponents presents approximately 800 essays, speeches, pamphlets, political platforms, editorial cartoons, petitions, and pieces of literature, such as Mark Twain’s anti-imperialist writings and the text of Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden accompanied by fifty contemporary reactions. Arranged by document type and searchable by keyword, the materials also include information concerning bulletin boards and electronic discussion networks.

FDR Cartoons, Niskayuna High School, New York

A continuing project of high school history and science classes, this site presents thousands of political cartoons concerning the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Of particular interest is the “Cartoons” link, which leads to a comprehensive database showing depictions of FDR’s Presidency in the popular medium. Periods currently emphasized include, “1932, The Road to Pennsylvania Avenue,” “1937, The Supreme Court,” and “1943, The War Years.” Well-conceived and executed, the site also gives the texts of Roosevelt’s inaugural addresses and a page of teacher resources and suggested projects.

Jukin’ it Out: Contested Visions of Florida in New Deal Narratives, Oberlin College

Created as a senior honors project at Oberlin College, this conceptually sophisticated site explores issues of narrative and representation in two New Deal cultural projects. The site uses the 1939 WPA guide to Florida and FSA-sponsored documentary photography from the period, in particular photographs of “jook joints” to investigate such themes as local color writing, documentary photography, and tour guides as modes of communication, all within the context of key intellectual and cultural concepts that marked the 1930s. The site includes a thoughtful analysis of why and how to write history in hypertext.


Cold War America

American Culture

The Literature and Culture of the American 1950s, Al Filreis, University of Pennsylvania

This site presents more than 100 primary texts, essays, biographical sketches, obituaries, book reviews, and partially annotated links relating to the culture and politics of the 1950s. Organized alphabetically and according to lesson plans, this eclectic collection includes short stories by communist writer Howard Fast; texts of two Woody Guthrie songs; entries from the Encyclopedia of the American Left; excerpts from Vance Packard’s The Status Seekers (1959); items concerning McCarthyism; and selected texts. The site also offers materials about the 1930s and 1960s, as well as retrospective analyses of the postwar period.

Fifty Years of Coca-Cola Television Advertisements, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site contains highlights of Coca-Cola television advertisements, including 50 commercials, broadcast outtakes, and experimental footage. There are five examples of stop-motion advertisements from the mid-1950s, 18 experiments with color for television ads, and well-known commercials, such as the “Hilltop” commercial featuring the song “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” (1971); the “Mean Joe Greene” commercial (1979); the first “Polar Bear” commercial (1993); and “First Experience.

Herblock’s History: Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium, Library of Congress

An exhibit of 135 cartoons drawn between 1929 and 2000 by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Herblock (Herbert Block) that comment on major events and public issues. The site also presents an essay by Block on “the cartoon as an opinion medium”; a biographical essay; and 15 caricatures of the cartoonist. Organized according to 13 chronological sections, with an additional segment devoted to Presidents.


Civil Rights

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project, Stanford University

Features texts by and about Martin Luther King, Jr., including more than 100 speeches, sermons, and other writings. In addition, 15 chapters of materials collected from diverse sources and published by the Project in 1998 as The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. are available. Includes important sermons and speeches such as the 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the March on Washington address; the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech; and “Rediscovering Lost Values,” a sermon from 1954. The site also provides an interactive chronology of King’s life, a 1,000-word biographical essay; and 23 audio files of recorded speeches and sermons.

Voices of the Civil Rights Era, Webcorp

Audio clips of speeches by three prominent public figures of the early 1960s: six from John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, which reflect the “doomed idealism” of the early 1960s; five from Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 March on Washington speech; and 11 demonstrating Malcolm X’s oratory prior to his pilgrimage to Mecca. Audio components are introduced by very brief remarks.

The African American Odyssey, American Memory, Library of Congress

More than 240 items dealing with African American history from collections of the Library of Congress, including books, government documents, manuscripts,maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. The exhibition explores black America’s quest for political, social, and economic equality from slavery through the mid-20th century. Organized into nine chronological periods, including slavery; the Civil War and Reconstruction; World War I and the postwar period; the Depression, New Deal, and World War II; and the Civil Rights era. Each section includes a 500-word overview and annotations of 100 words in length for each object displayed. In addition to documenting the struggle for freedom and civil rights, the exhibit includes celebratory material on contributions of artists, writers, performers, and sports figures. Valuable for students and teachers looking for a well-written guide for exploring African American history.

Ansel Adams’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar, American Memory, Library of Congress

Photographer Ansel Adams documented the lives of Japanese Americans at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California with portraits of daily life, including agriculture and leisure. This site presents 242 original negatives and 209 photographic prints. These are often presented together to show Adams’s developing and cropping techniques. This website also offers a digital version of Adams’s 112-page book on Manzanar, published in 1944, Born Free and Equal. Valuable for studying the World War II homefront, discrimination, Asian Americans, and photography.

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site presents hundreds of primary materials relating to baseball in America, including letters, manuscripts, trading cards, lobby cards, newspaper images, photographs, advertisements, sheet music, and transcripts of interviews, speeches, and television broadcasts. There are two presentationsof material from the collection divided into five sections, “Baseball,the Color Line, and Jackie Robinson, 1860s-1960s” and “Early Baseball Pictures.” The site also includes an annotated bibliography comprised of 82 titles and a list of six links to related resources. These materials provide an introductory look at Jackie Robinson’s life and the topic of race in American sports history.

Conscience and the Constitution, Frank Abe, Public Broadcasting System

A companion to the PBS broadcast of the same name, this site examines the refusal of a handful of young Japanese American men to be drafted until the American government restored their rights of citizenship and released their families from “relocation” camps. The site gives brief (350-word) biographies of the 16 main characters; a timeline; a 750-word history of the compliant Japanese American Citizens League; the aftermath of the resistance; the conflicting opinions among Japanese Americans; an 18-work bibliography of poetry, novels, and scholarly works; and 2 lesson plans. There are 15 video and three audio clips, more than 20 photographs, and more than 60 documents, including letters, court testimony, and government reports. This rich site is ideal for those interested in the history of race and the history of civil disobedience in the United States.

Dynamics of Idealism: Volunteers for Civil Rights, 1965–1982, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Provides documentation collected for a study of the attitudes, backgrounds, goals, and experiences of volunteers participating in a 1965 Southern Christian Leadership Conference voter registration effort. Includes questionnaires submitted prior to and following the project, as well as a follow-up survey conducted in 1982. Participants were queried as to reasons they volunteered, what they expected, their attitudes regarding race and politics, and subsequent attitudes regarding civil rights, violence, and social change. This information is valuable for those studying the civil rights movement and sociological aspects of American reformers.

The History of Jim Crow, New York Life Insurance

This site was produced as an online companion to The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, a four-part television series that tells the story of the African American struggle for freedom during the era of segregation. The site offers six historical essays (each between 5,000 to 7,000 words), and five themed essays focusing on creating, surviving, resisting, escaping, and transcending Jim Crow oppression from the late-19th-century to the Civil Rights movement. There are about 15 shorter essays on topics such as Jackie Robinson and the lynching of Emmett Till. There are 10 interactive maps that give “a multi-layered look at the impact of Jim Crow on the social and political landscape of the nation.” The site also offers more than 25 lesson plans, a book list, an interactive encyclopedia, historical photographs, and first hand narratives from people who experienced life under Jim Crow. This well organized and wonderfully equipped site is an invaluable resource for history and literature educators.

Through Our Parent’s Eyes: Tucson’s Diverse Community, University of Arizona Libraries and Pima Community College Libraries

This site looks at the Hispanic, Native American, African American, Chinese, and Jewish heritage of Tucson, Arizona. Essays, family histories, photographs of traditional culture, oral histories, short biographies, and video clips make this site useful for research on ethnicity and the history of the west.

The Central High Crisis: Little Rock 1957, Little Rock Newspapers, Inc.

A collection of articles and photographs from two Arkansas newspapers covering the crisis in the city of Little Rock when governor Orval Faubus refused to allow nine African-American students to attend the all-white Central High School, despite Federal court rulings to the contrary. The site includes news articles and editorials from each day of the month-long crisis. Additional materials address the 40th anniversary of the crisis in 1997. The site also timelines and a “Who’s Who” of participants.

Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive, Univ. Southern Mississippi, Center for Oral History

This website offers 125 oral histories relating to the civil rights movement, including interviews with civil rights leaders like Charles Cobb, Charles Evers, and Aaron Henry. It also offers oral history information about prominent figures on both sides of the civil rights movement, such as “race-baiting” Governor Ross Barnett, national White Citizens Council leader William J. Simmons, and State Sovereignty leader Erle Johnston. The alphabetical interview index offers a 50–100 word biography of each subject, as well as information on the date and place of the interview. The site promises digitized manuscript and photograph resources in the future.


Foreign Policy and Relations

The Real Thirteen Days: Hidden History of the Cuban Missile, National Security Archive

Full-text images of 17 declassified documents, such as a CIA Intelligence Estimate, correspondence, memoranda, and a post-mortem on the crisis, as well as eight audio clips of White House security briefings, spyplane photographs of missile launch sites. The site also offers a chronology of events, a 1000-word essay critical of the film Thirteen Days, a 1500-word essay looking back on the Cold War, and excerpts from seven accounts of the crisis.

Korea + 50: No Longer Forgotten, Truman and Eisenhower Presidential Libraries

More than 200 official documents, nine oral histories, and more than 70 photographs pertaining to the pursuance of the Korean War by the administrations of Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Provides day-by-day access covering June 24-September 14, 1950—and more sporadic contributions during subsequent periods—to diplomatic and military documents and accounts by administration officials, including correspondence, speeches, memos, reports, and briefing papers. Also includes extensive “Korean War Teacher Activity” from a high school in Independence, MO.

National Security Action Memoranda of John F. Kennedy, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library

This site provides access to 272 facsimiles of National Security Action (NSA) memoranda written by President John F. Kennedy or by McGeorge Bundy, his NSA advisor. Topics include training of Cuban nationals, U.S. forces in Vietnam, Berlin, and civil defense. The documents are indexed by NSA numbers from February 1961 to November 1963. There is a 100-word introduction to the collection, but no contextual material or annotations.

The American Experience: Vietnam Online, PBS and WGBH

Companion to the PBS series, Vietnam: A Television History. Transcripts are available for each episode, from the “Roots of a War” to “The End of the Tunnel.” “Who’s Who” provides photographs and profiles of 41 major figures and a timeline covers 1945 to 1997. Twelve personal reflections of the war include the memories of a Vietnamese-born American poet, a U.S. marine, a soldier who guarded the Ho Chi Minh trail, and a Red Cross aid worker. One essay describes the My Lai massacre and another essay discusses the continuing issue of prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.


Legal History

The Oyez Project: U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia Database, Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University

Vast number of historical documents on cases heard before the Supreme Court. Includes abstracts of more than 1,200 Court opinions and audio files with more than 1,500 hours of oral arguments for cases going back to 1955. It includes such famous cases as Roe v. Wade (abortion), Baker v. Carr (one person—one vote), and Bush v. Gore.


Politics and Presidents

History and Politics Out Loud, Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University

Audio materials of significant 20th-century events and people, including speeches, addresses, and private telephone conversations. Most material comes from three U.S. presidents—Richard M. Nixon (34 items); Lyndon Baines Johnson (30 items); and John F. Kennedy (19 items).

Project Whistlestop, Truman Digital Archive Project

Offers more than 400 selected documents and photographs organized into broad topics, from the decision to drop the atomic bomb to the Marshall Plan, from the 1948 Presidential campaign to the Korean War. Each study collection includes a chronology, diary entries, official documents, and related items. Sixty teaching units, lesson plans, and classroom activities include 24 elementary school projects, 21 middle school activities, and 22 plans for high school students. Teachers can also create their own interactive Internet lessons for students tailored to grade level and specific themes. Study collections are searchable by keyword, collection folder, catalog records, or historical timeline.

Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum

These 64 oral history interviews include Dean Rusk, Johnson’s secretary, Bess Abell, Robert MacNamara, Thurgood Marshall, and Billy Graham. The site provides transcribed samples of recorded telephone conversations and links to a C-SPAN collection of more than 800 transcribed recorded excerpts and full conversations Johnson had while in office. A selection of 20 speeches and nine messages to Congress are available in transcription and address issues such as the Great Society and limitations on the war in Vietnam. Facsimiles of 98 National Security Action memoranda discuss policies towards Vietnam, nuclear weapons, and Latin America, among other issues.

Watergate Revisited, Washington Post

Commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Watergate burglary. A detailed timeline covers events from Nixon’s election in November 1968 to his resignation in August 1974. Biographies introduce 20 “key players,” including Pat Buchanan, John Ehrlichman, H. R. Halderman, G. Gordon Liddy, and Donald Segretti, while another section details the reforms enacted in response, from the Ethics Rules to efforts to enforce Campaign Spending Limits. One essay explores the identity of Deep Throat, while another examines the impact of the story on the newspaper. Teachers and students can read transcripts of online interviews with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee or search for related stories.

Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum, University of Texas

Offers a biography, 120 photographs, and documents about Vietnam. In addition 41 National Security Study memos and 83 National Security Decision memos address Israeli military requirements, the classification of nuclear safeguards, and U.S. policy for Antarctica.


Social Reform

Sixties Project & Viet Nam Generation, Viet Nam Generation, Inc., University of Virginia

Resource for teaching and researching America in the 1960s and during the Viet Nam War. The site contains links to 17 primary documents, including materials from the Black Panther Party, the Free Speech Movement, and GI’s United Against War in Viet Nam. More than 100 images of political buttons and posters and a full-text version of Vietnam: An Antiwar Comic Book, written by civil rights activist Julian Bond. Additional items on the site include five keyword searchable, full-text back issues of Viet Nam Generation and 10 syllabi for courses on the 1960s and the Vietnam War. Visitors may contribute their own personal narratives about the 1960s (the quality and accuracy of these personal narratives are not controlled and should be used with caution).

Free Speech Movement: Student Protest, U.C. Berkeley, 1964–65, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

Rich archive of material on the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM). Printed material includes five books, 29 leaflets produced by the FSM, 55 letters to and from FSM activists, 11 local radical newsletters, 21 press releases, and six speeches. Visitors may read complete transcripts of 10 oral histories: eight with university administrators and faculty; two with FSM activists. A collection of legal documents includes 40 pages of trial transcripts and 400 letters from FSM activists to Judge Rupert Crittenden, who presided over their trials. This site also provides 96 photographs of FSM rallies and sit-ins taken by Ronald L. Enfield in 1964 and 1965. The site may be searched by subject, but is somewhat difficult to navigate because pages within the collection do not link directly to an index or the collection’s home page.

The Whole World Was Watching: An Oral History of 1968, South Kingston School, Brown University

This site contains transcripts, audio recordings, and edited stories from interviews conducted in the spring of 1998 by sophomores at South Kingstown High School, Rhode Island, about their recollections of 1968. These narratives, including references to the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, as well as personal memories, are a living history of one of the most tumultuous years in U.S. history.

Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement, Digital Scriptorium, Duke University

More than 50 documents—including journal and newspaper articles, speeches, papers, manifestoes, essays, press releases, organization statements, songs, and poems—concerning the women’s liberation movement, with a focus on U.S. activity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Organized into eight subject headings—General and Theoretical; Medical and Reproductive Rights; Music; Organizations and Activism; Sexuality and Lesbian Feminism; Socialist Feminism; Women of Color; and Women’s Work and Roles—and searchable by keyword.


National Archives and Records Administration

American Originals

This exhibition presents 14 of the “most significant and compelling documents from the National Archives holdings.” The site furnishes, in whole or part, facsimiles and in some cases transcriptions of the following documents: the July 2, 1776, resolution by the Continental Congress proclaiming independence from Great Britain; George Washington’s first inaugural address; the Louisiana Purchase agreements; a casualty list of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment of African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War; a police blotter that reports the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln; an 1868 treaty with the Sioux Indians; a U.S. Navy memorandum reporting the Titanic disaster of 1912; a court verdict concerning gangster Al Capone; Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1939 resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution in protest of the group’s refusal to allow singer Marian Anderson to perform at Constitution Hall because of her race; President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech to Congress requesting a declaration of war against Japan; a draft press release announcing recognition of Israel in 1948 by the United States, signed by President Harry S. Truman; speech cards used by Presidents John F. Kennedy in 1963 and Ronald Reagan in 1987 for their historic visits to Berlin; and Nixon’s resignation letter of 1974. The materials are accompanied by brief descriptions, photographs, audio files, and links to related NARA documents.

The Declaration of Independence

A transcription of the Declaration of Independence is accompanied by images of the original document and the 1823 William J. Stone engraving. Three related texts—the Virginia Declaration of Rights and two scholarly articles—(approximately 8,000 words each) provide further context. One details the history of the Declaration and includes a bibliography of eight titles. The other examines its language and “stylistic artistry.”

A New Deal for the Arts

Divided into five sections, this exhibit presents artifacts from New Deal art programs, introduced by a 250-word essay. “Rediscovering America” discusses “artistic nationalism” and provides five photographs and five paintings of American scenes. “Celebrating the People” exhibits five paintings and one photo of people at work and two photos and three programs of celebrations of folk culture. In “Work Pays America,” five posters, two paintings, and two photos document and celebrate New Deal programs. The 11 works exhibited in “Activist Arts” make more and less subtle political arguments, including Dorothea Lange’s “Children in a Democracy” and a flier for a Workers’ Alliance meeting. A section on “Useful Arts” exhibits 15 pieces, including informational posters, photos of quilting lessons, and a WPA handcraft wall hanging. The exhibit is easy to navigate, although visitors must return to the home page between each section. Useful for studying the politics, social messages, and images of the New Deal.

Our Documents, NARA, National History Day, and USA Freedom Corps

A cooperative effort, this website is an online repository of 100 milestone primary documents in American history. The first document is the Richard Henry Lee Resolution of June 7, 1776, proposing independence for the American colonies. The last is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In between, visitors will find Eli Whitney’s 1794 cotton gin patent, the 1862 Pacific Railway Act, and the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling. There is a full-page scan and transcription of each document. In addition to the chronological list of 100 documents, the site includes a “People’s Vote” top-ten list. Of the 100 documents, Americans voted the Declaration of Independence number one, while the 1935 Social Security Act came in last. The site offers resource tools for educators and librarians on how to integrate the milestone documents into the classroom.

Photographs of the American West, 1861–1912

This site features 196 photographs that document westward migration and the development of America’s western frontier. Featured images capture special events and everyday life on the frontier, from Native American peoples and villages, to military maneuvers, to laborers and businessmen at work. A 15-25 word caption, the name of the photographer, and date (if available) accompany each photograph. Listings are arranged by subject and chronologically under each subject. An index lists the photographs by state. For those exploring the history of the American West, this is an ideal resource for illustrations.

Pictures of African Americans During World War II

Assembled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World War II, these 261 photographs illustrate African American participation in the war effort. Approximately 2.5 million African American men registered for the draft, and African American women volunteered for the military. The 261 images in this collection, drawn from the Army Signal Corps, Department of Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Office of War Information, depict African Americans in military training, in combat, and on the home front. The site is helpful for those interested in 20th-century African American history or World War II history.

Pictures of World War II

This archive offers 202 photographs depicting the activities of Americans during World War II. They represent all aspects of wartime preparation, from military training to combat and support services, as well as the homefront activities of civilians and war agencies. Images include leaders like Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, and Adolph Hitler, as well as posters from homefront rationing and war bond campaigns, Rosie the Riveter posters, combat photographs of invasions and scouting missions, and images of entertainers like Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby visiting the troops. Each photograph is accompanied by a 15-25 word caption with the title, photographer, location, and date the photograph was taken. This site is ideal for those interested in illustrating reports or lectures on American contributions to World War II.

Picturing the Century: One Hundred Years of Photography from the National Archives

This site, based on an exhibition of historically significant photographs, commemorates 20th-century events and everyday life. The gallery features 70 photographs grouped into six chronological headings. Images depict events such as the first Wright brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, Lyndon Johnson meeting Martin Luther King, Jr., a war protestor placing daisies into the rifle of a U.S. soldier, and Nixon’s post-resignation departure from the White House, as well as images of everyday life across the nation and throughout the century. Each chronological section opens with a brief (75-100 word) introduction. A caption contextualizes each image and provides information on the photographer, if known. Each image in the portfolio is accompanied by a title, notes on the photographer, and the date and place the photograph was taken. All photographs are printable. This site is ideal for students and teachers of American culture, society, and historical events in the 20th century.

Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from World War II

This site examines poster art as a method of persuasion during World War II. Featuring 33 posters and one audio clip—the song “Any Bonds Today?”—the materials are divided into two sections. The first, which focuses on themes of “patriotism, confidence, and a patriotic outlook,” is arranged into five subsections: “Man the Guns!”; “It’s a Woman’s War Too!”; “United We Win”; “Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, Or Do Without”; and “Four Freedoms.” The second section, also arranged into five subsections, presents posters that attempted to foster “feelings of suspicion, fear, and even hate,” a distinctly different strategy of propaganda. The materials are contextualized by background essays. Although limited in number, the site will be valuable for studying wartime depictions of gender and race, as well as the power of images to further national goals.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 1992–2001

Presents digitized versions of 20 volumes of Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States covering 1992–2001. Material includes papers and speeches issued by the Office of the Press Secretary during the terms of William J. Clinton (17 volumes, 1993–2001), two volumes pertaining to George H. W. Bush for 1992, and one volume for George W. Bush (January 20– June 30, 2001). The documents—including addresses, statements, letters, meetings with foreign leaders, and interviews with the press—have been compiled by the Office of the Federal Register and published in chronological order. Includes appendices with daily schedules and meetings, nominations to the Senate, proclamations, executive orders, and additional materials. Users may access multiple volumes by keyword and separate volumes by title of document, type, subject matter, and personal names. Also includes 10-15 photographs per volume. Valuable for those studying politics, public policy, and international affairs during this era.

U.S. Electoral College

Basic statistical data and explanatory material on the workings of the Electoral College provided by the Federal office that coordinates its operations. Data includes electoral and popular vote totals for presidential elections since 1789; listings by state of electoral college members for 1992–2000; facsimiles of certificates of ascertainment and certificates of votes for the 2000 election; and a digest of current state laws and requirements. Also offers a 2,700-word procedural guide; relevant federal law provisions; a 1,600-word description of state responsibilities; and 10 links to additional National Archives sites of relevance. A quick and easy way to locate vote tallies and legal information regarding the institution of the Electoral College.

When Nixon Met Elvis

Presents 29 photographs and five documents relating to Elvis Presley’s bizarre December 1970 visit with Richard Nixon in the White House. Features a well-known photograph of the meeting and a five-page letter written from Presley to Nixon requesting an appointment as a federal agent “to be of any service that I can to help The Country out.” “I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent,” wrote Presley, “I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good.” Also includes background information about Presley’s visit and official White House notes of the encounter. A revealing snapshot into the perceptions of these two public figures concerning the youth culture of their day.