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HIS430 Research Paper Help: Digital Collections & Archives

Digital Public Library of America

What is the Digital Public Library of America?

"DPLA offers a single point of access to millions of items from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States."

The DPLA portal allows you to search digital collections from institutions and organizations such as Hathi Trust, Internet Archive, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, Boston Public Library and more.

How to Search the DPL

Users can browse and search DPLA’s collections by topic, online exhibitions, and primary source sets (primary source collections exploring topics in history, literature, and culture).

Hathi Trust

What is HathiTrust?

HathiTrust is a partnership of academic libraries and research institutions that have come together to build and share a digital repository of print works.  The HathiTrust Digital Library has "more than 10 million volumes, make it one of the largest research library collections in the world.  Over 3 miillion of these volumes are in the public domain and fully viewable online."

Search HathiTrust

You can select the full text only box to return results that are entirely free and full text. If you don't select the box, you will get items with a limited preview, but you can then order those titles from Interlibrary Loan.  Note: As a non-member of Hathi Trust you can download/print single pages of full-view items, but you cannot download and entire book or journal volume.

Internet Archive

What is the Internet Archive?

The Internet Archive hosts one of the largest collections of freely available digital content on the Web and includes digitized print books, audio files, moving images and, by means of the Wayback Machine, cached copies of websites.

Search the following collections on their own, or use the basic search, to search all digital content at once.

  • Internet Archive's Digital Books Collections (5,999,000+ items)
  • Moving Image Archive (1,500,000+ movies)
  • Audio Archive (1,900,000+ items) - "This library contains recordings 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."

Online Primary Source Collections by Time Period

America's Reconstruction: People and Politics after the Civil War - University of Houston - Part of the "digital history" site that contains primary sources on slavery, United States, Mexican American and Native American history.

Civil War and Reconstruction - Library of Congress - This exhibition contains succinct overviews of several aspects of the Civil War and Reconstruction and features primary sources, maps, and images.

Freedmen's Bureau Online - Contains articles, records and images related to the Freedmen's Bureau.

Harper's Weekly: Toward Racial Equality - Harper's Weekly - Materials from the magazine are presented in order to give a true historical picture of the leading 19th-century newspaper's view of black Americans.

American Leaders Speak – Library of Congress – Fifty-nine sound recordings of speeches by American leaders from 1918-1920. The speeches focus on issues and events surrounding the First World War and the subsequent presidential election of 1920.

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920 – Library of Congress – Documents the development of the conservation movement. Offers a collection of books, pamphlets, federal statues and resolutions, prints and photographs.

Immigration – Library of Congress – Provides an excellent introduction to immigration in the United States. Shaped by the primary sources available in the Library’s online collections.

Influenza Encyclopedia – University of Michigan – Rich collection of primary source documents, images, and narratives that detail the impact of the American influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 on 50 cities in the United States.

Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film –Library of Congress – A presentation featuring 104 films that record events in Roosevelt’s life from the Spanish-American War to his death in 1919.

World War I Document Archive – Brigham Young University – Provides links to World War I primary documents, such as treaties and personal recollections.

American Life Histories, 1936-1940 – Library of Congress (Federal Writers' Project) – A collection of manuscripts that describe an individual's education, income, occupation, and political views.

Clash of Cultures in the 1910s and 1920s – Ohio State University – Primary-source documents and images on prohibition, immigration, the Ku Klux Klan, the New Woman, and the Scopes Trial.

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929 – Library of Congress – A variety of sources from the 1920s that illustrate the prosperity of the Coolidge era, the nation’s transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition.

Voices from the Dust Bowl - Library of Congress - A collection of audio clips, photographs, and manuscript materials that document the everyday life of central California residents in 1940-41.

The Avalon Project: World War II Documents – Yale Law School – A variety of primary-source documents on World War II.

Women Who Came to the Front – Library of Congress – An exhibit featuring the work of eight women who participated as journalists, broadcasters, and photographers during World War II.

World War II Posters: Powers of Persuasion – National Archives – An exhibit that displays and explains ten World War II propaganda posters.  Additional World War II posters can be found in the World War II Poster Collection at the Northwestern University Library.

The Avalon Project: The Cold War - Yale Law School - An extensive collection of government documents from the time of the Cold War.

Korean War - Harry S. Truman Library & Museum - Examines the Korean War through the eyes of individual participants in policy development, battlefield combatants, and observers.

African American Odyssey: The Civil Rights Era – Library of Congress – Selected photos and documents on desegregation and the civil rights movement.

Cold War International History Project – Wilson Center – Materials related to the Cold War from both Eastern and Western perspectives, including biographies, pamphlets, conference proceedings, legal documents, and other primary source materials.

Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement – Duke University – An online collection that highlights various aspects of the Women’s Liberation Movement and the radical origins of the movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

1968: The Whole World Was Watching – Brown University – An oral history project that features recollections of events and issues in 1968.

The Wars for Viet Nam: 1945 to 1975 – Vassar College – An overview of the war and numerous official documents.

The Avalon Project: September 11, 2001 - Attack on America – Yale Law School – An extensive collection of primary sources and government documents on terrorism, 9/11, and more.

The Gulf War – PBS (Frontline) – An in-depth examination of the 1990-91 Persian Gulf crisis; includes oral histories and first-hand war stories.

The September 11 Digital Archive – George Mason University & City University of New York – An archive of more than 150,000 digital items, including first-hand stories, images, and emails.