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Kalamazoo College

Primary Sources: United States

American Memory:
Historical Collections for the National Digital Library From the Library of Congress.
Topics include Agriculture, Art and Architecture, Business and Economics, Transportation, Communication, Education, Geography, History, Languages and Literature, Performing Arts, Philosophy and Religion, Political Science and Law, Recreation and Sports, Social Sciences, Technology and Applied Sciences, Photography, and Motion Pictures.
All collections listed here:

Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project
From Northern Illinois University. Lincoln/Net presents historical materials from Abraham Lincoln's Illinois years (1830-1861), including Lincoln's writings and speeches, as well as other materials illuminating antebellum Illinois.

A collection of over 7,000 advertising images printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines from 1911 through 1955. Subject areas: radio, television, transportation, beauty & hygiene, and World War I.

adflip - print advertisments from the 1940's to the present
You can look at a decent sized image of most ads. Full access requires subscription.

AdViews: A Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials
AdViews is a digital archive of thousands of vintage television commercials dating from the 1950s to the 1980s.

America in Caricature 1765-1865
online exhibition from the Lilly Library, Indiana University's rare book and manuscript library

The American Experience American history series from PBS

American Hypertexts from the University of Virginia

American Jewish Committee Archives
Includes oral histories, historic films and TV shows, radio programs,  and the American Jewis Year Book, 1899-present.

American Journeys
Eyewitness accounts of early American exploration and settlement, from the Wisconsin Historical Society

American Rhetoric
Index to and growing database of 5000+ full text, audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events, and a declaration or two.

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History
Full text of primary source documents in American History, from 1400 through 2000.

Audio Collections from the Library of Congress Recorded Sound Reference Center
The Online Audio Collections include music, speeches, interviews, radio broadcasts, and more.
The Online Audio Collections provide access to a portion of the Library's Audio Collections from the American Memory site, The Performing Arts Encyclopedia and the American Folklife Center pages.

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy

A Biography of America by Annenberg/CPB

Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history.

CARLI Digital Collections - a wide variety of primary documents and images
established in 2006 as a repository for digital content created by member libraries of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) or purchased by the consortium for use by its members. CARLI Digital Collections uses the CONTENTdm digital asset management tool to describe and deliver digital representations of myriad special collections including printed and manuscript materials, images, and sound recordings.

Century of Progress 1933-34 World's Fair Collection
from the University of Chicago Library

Daguerreian Society Image Galleries
Many online images of Daguerreotypes.

Daguerreotypes at Harvard
Harvard's extensive photographic holdings include more than 3,500 daguerreotypes, gathered together in this online collection. Harvard's daguerreotypes include some of the earliest successful photographs of the moon, views of the first operations using ether as an anesthetic, rare portraits of African-born slaves, and Harvard's earliest photographic class albums. Portraits include Horatio Alger, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James, Jenny Lind, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and James McNeill Whistler. The collections represent the work of pioneering daguerreotypists Mathew Brady, Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes, John Adams Whipple, and others.

Digital Public Library of America
The DPLA contains metadata records—information describing an item—for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Each record links to the original object on the content provider’s website.
See participating institutions

Documenting the American South
from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Seven collections of primary sources for the study of Southern history, literature, and culture:

Duke University Scriptorium - Digitized Collections
Several online collections of primary sources, most relating to American History.

ECHO Exploring and Collecting History Online
directory to 5,000+ websites concerning the history of science, technology, and industry, many with images

Ellis Island Foundation: The Immigrant Experience

The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920
presents over 9,000 images, with database information, relating to the early history of advertising in the United States. from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University some primary sources
The EServer is an arts and humanities e-publishing co-op based at Iowa State University.

First World War by Michael Duffy

Flickr Commons - List of Participating Institutions
"The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer."

Gallery of Graphic Design
The site contains thousands of ads appearing in popular magazines from 1930-1969.  Searchable by magazine title, year, product, and keyword.  

George Eastman House Photography Collection
The photography collection includes more than 400,000 photographs and negatives dating from the invention of photography to the present day.

Great Lakes Digital Collection from the Newberry Library
This collection features nearly 550 images of Illinois and the Great Lakes from the French period of exploration and settlement to the early 20th Century.

Historical Maps of the United States from Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas Austin

Historical Maps Online from The University of Illinois Library & the University of Illinois Press

History Matters
From the American Social History Project / Center for Media and Learning (City University of New York, Graduate Center) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University). Web resources, teaching materials, and first-person primary documents that focus on the lives of ordinary Americans.
See the primary source collections here:

Immigration to the United States, 1789–1930
From Harvard University Library. Books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and other historical materials that document voluntary immigration to the United States from the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 to the Great Depression.

Internet Archive - Audio Archive
Contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings (audio and MP3 files) ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download.

Internet Archive Moving Image Collection

Internet Archive Special Collections several unusual collections
Including Dance Manuals, Cook Books and Home Economics, Regional Oral History Office, US Government Documents, and Prelinger Library, with collections of some 50,000 books, periodical volumes and printed ephemera.

Jewish News Archive
from JTA - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
"Founded in 1917 to be a voice of and for the Jewish people at a time when news of what was happening to the Jews of Europe and Russia was hard to come by, JTA has been a primary source of English-language Jewish news on everything from Hitler’s rise -- the first JTA report about Hitler was printed on Jan. 30, 1923 -- to the struggle to free Soviet Jewry, the founding of Israel and the long arc of 20th-century American Jewish history."

Library of Congress Recorded Sound Online Audio Collections
The Online Audio Collections include music, speeches, interviews, radio broadcasts, and more.
The Online Audio Collections provide access to a portion of the Library's Audio Collections from the American Memory site, The Performing Arts Encyclopedia and the American Folklife Center pages.

images of documents, artifacts, photographs, drawings, maps, & buildings from all periods of time

Magazines on Google Books 90+ full text popular magazines.

Making of America
Primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction, from the University of Michigan and Cornell University. (Michigan site) (Cornell site)

The Making of Modern Michigan
Browse the Collections
Statewide collaborative project of Michigan libraries; the goal is to create a digital collection about the Michigan history – including 20th century materials usually excluded from library digitization projects.

MeL Michigana
LInks to several Michigan History projects online, from MeL, the Michigan Electronic Library

MIchigan County Histories and Atlases
The Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project is comprised of 428 digitized titles (many composed of multiple volumes) published before 1923.

Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC)
Beginning with the gift of the Fox Movietone News Collection in 1980, archival holdings have grown to encompass a wide range of materials, including local television news, home movies, micro-cinematographic nature films, and, most recently, fiction and documentary films from the People's Republic of China. From the University of South Carolina.

National Archives Archival Research Catalog - History Galleries
The Archival Research Catalog (ARC) is the online catalog of NARA's nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC area, Regional Archives and Presidential Libraries. Some records have a digital image or document.

National Museum of American History: Collections
A searchable and browsable part of the Smithsonian Institution's website that features images of primary source objects.

National Public Radio's Lost and Found Sound Audio artifacts in sound files

National Security Archive at George Washington University
The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Archive also serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States.

New Deal Network Photos and documents about the New Deal

The Nineteenth Century in Print from the Library of Congress
This collection presents twenty-three popular periodicals digitized by Cornell University Library and the Preservation Reformatting Division of the Library of Congress.

North American Indian Photographs from the Newberry Library
The images in this collection were selected from over 6,000 North American Indian photographs held in the Newberry Library's world-renowned Edward E. Ayer Collection.

NYPL Digital Gallery
"NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 275,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.
The contents of this website are made available for individual private study, scholarship and research only. Any other use, including but not limited to any type of publication or commercial use, is prohibited without the payment of usage fees and the prior written permission of The New York Public Library as well as any owners of rights in the materials, if applicable. Regarding such permission, please contact the NYPL Photographic Services & Permissions office for additional information." (

Picture History
Picture History is an on-line archive of images and film footage illuminating more than 200 years of American history. Included in its holdings is the acclaimed Meserve-Kunhardt Collection of 19th century photography as well as thousands of images that have been researched and acquired by Kunhardt Productions for use in historical documentaries over the past fifteen years. Picture History is intended for the personal use of students, educators, scholars, and the general public curious about the past.

Picturing the Century
One Hundred years of Photography from the US National Archives

Prelinger Archives
Over 1,200 "ephemeral" films (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) made from 1927 through the present.

Pulp Magazines Project Digital Archive
"The Pulp Magazines Project is an open-access digital archive dedicated to the study and preservation of one of the twentieth century's most influential literary & artistic forms: the all-fiction pulpwood magazine. "

Science in the Nineteenth Century Periodical
a searchable electronic index to the science content of sixteen nineteenth-century general periodicals.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world.

Shorpy Historic Photo Archive is a vintage photography blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Smithsonian Institution Collections
Browse or search through the Smithsonian Collections. The Collections Search Center provides easy "one-stop searching" of more than 4 million of the Smithsonian's museum, archives, library and research holdings and collections. Included are images from current exhibits, Smithsonian events, and historic collections

Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Library
Original documents and images on a wide range of topics.

Smithsonian Institution Libraries Current Exhibitions
Original documents and images on a wide range of topics.

State Digital Resources
Memory Projects, Online Encyclopedias, Historical & Cultural Materials Collections
From the Library of Congress - links to state and regional digital projects and collaborations.

Television Ads from the 50's - 80's

Through the Lens of Time: Images of African Americans from the Cook Collection
a digital collection of over 250 images of African Americans dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth century, selected from the George and Huestis Cook Photograph Collection at the Valentine Richmond History Center.

US National Archives and Records Adminstration
US National Archives Catalog

And their Exhibit Hall
Links to Primary Documents in the US National Archives

The Valley Project: Two Communities in the American Civil War from the University of Virginia, Edward L. Ayers
Digital archive of primary sources documenting the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil War.

Vintage Ad Browser
This site aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources and currently contains over 120,000 ads.

The Urban Landscape Digital Image Access Project

Western Michigan University Digitized Collections
Several collections of southwest Michigan local history documents and photographs.

White House Tapes
"Between 1940 and 1973, six American presidents from both political parties secretly recorded just under 5,000 hours of conversations. This site is designed as a service to the research community by making freely available all of the presidential recordings, along with relevant research materials, so that scholars, teachers, students, and the public can hear and use these remarkable tapes for themselves. The site is hosted and maintained by the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs."

Documents from the Women's Liberation Movement
The materials in this on-line archival collection document various aspects of the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States, and focus specifically on the radical origins of this movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Items range from radical theoretical writings to humourous plays to the minutes of an actual grassroots group. From Duke University

Women Working, 1800 - 1930
focuses on women's role in the United States economy and provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University's library and museum collections. The collection features approximately 500,000 digitized pages and images.


Primary Sources Databases subscribed to by the K Library
For off campus to these databases, see Off Campus Access