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Course & Subject Guides
Search the University Library System's many online databases to find primary source materials on your topic, including:
American Film Scripts Online
American Film Scripts Online is an ongoing full-text project which currently contains over 100 films by 200 writers. The database is full-text searchable and includes detailed indexing on scenes, characters, and people.
American Song is a collection of music that reflects the history of the United States. Includes streaming audio versions of songs about American Indians, slaves, pioneers and more.
Artstor has collections of over 500,000 digital art images and associated data that can be used for noncommercial and scholarly, non-profit educational use. The images are drawn from different sources, such as museums, archaeological teams, photo archives, slide collections, and art reference publishers.
Black Drama: Second Edition
When complete, Black Drama will contain the full text of 1,200 plays written from the mid-1800s to the present by more than 100 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. Database is divided into three sections: Part 1 covers writings of the Harlem Renaissance, Part 2 covers the Black Arts movements of the sixties and seventies while Part 3 brings together plays from the international sphere.
On completion this unique digital archive will consist of almost 500 periodical runs published from the 1680s to the 1930s.
Mergent Online provides business and financial information for over 23,000 U.S. and international companies.
New York Times (Historical)
The New York Times from 1851-2013 with searchable full text, full page, and article-level images.
North American Women's Letters and Diaries
When complete this collection will include approximately 150,000 pages of published letters and diaries from individuals writing from Colonial times to 1950, plus 4,000 pages of previously unpublished materials. Drawn from more than 1,000 sources the collection represents all age groups, ethnicities, regions and the famous and the not so famous.
Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
Roper iPoll is the largest collection of public opinion poll data with results from 1935 to the present. Roper iPoll contains nearly 800,000 questions and over 23,000 datasets from both U.S. and international polling firms. Surveys cover a range of topics.
Theatre in Video
Contains hundreds of videos, including documentaries and definitive performances of the world’s most important plays. From celebrated productions of Shakespeare to rare, in-depth footage of the work of Samuel Beckett, the collection covers a wide range of 20th century theatre history. Interviews with directors, designers, writers, and actors, along with excerpts of live performances deliver an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at hundreds of productions.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
The US Congressional Serial Set contains all of the US Senate and House of Representatives Reports, Documents, and Journals and constitutes a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history. Upon completion, the digital version of the Serial Set will consist of approximately 13,800 volumes and over 12 million pages and will cover the time period 1817 through 1994.
ULS Digital Collections
Easily access the unique objects digitized by Pitt's University Library System via the ULS Digital Collections website.
Free Online Collections
Archives, libraries, and museums continue to digitize and transcribe their collections of primary source materials and make them freely accessible online. Surrogates of original primary source materials may be considered equal substitutes for the originals; however, it is best to always evaluate a reproduction for credibility. See Lafayette College Library's guide on evaluating primary sources.
Among the many primary source collections now available online are:
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. These commercials were created or collected by the ad agency Benton & Bowles or its successor, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B). Founded in 1929, Benton & Bowles was a New York advertising agency that merged with D'Arcy Masius McManus in 1985 to form DMB&B. Major clients included are Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Schick, Vicks, and Post, among others.
A. E. Forbes Communist Collection
Through hand rendered and mimeographed broadsides, newsletters, and flyers, this online collection of documents presents a local snapshot of Pittsburgh's radical politics within the context of the Communist Party.
American Memory Project
American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1860-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
CONSOL Energy Mining Archives
Visual images from the 1930s-1940s depict the Consolidation Coal Company (the forerunner of CONSOL Energy Inc.) and its operations, including miners at work, mine construction, interiors of shafts, mine cars, barges carrying coal, and railroad cars filled with coal. Also includes hand-drawn above-ground maps and annual reports.
Diseases of the Mind: Highlights of American Psychiatry through 1900
A permanent online exhibit from the National Library of Medicine's History of Medicine Division, including illustrations and links to digitized primary sources from the National Library of Medicine.
H. J. Heinz Company
The H.J. Heinz Company online collection contains images from 1870 to 1972 documenting the history of the food processing company. The images depict products, factories, safety and quality control procedures, equipment, food distribution systems, and the Heinz family.
With Google Patent Search, you can now search the full text of the U.S. patent corpus and find patents that interest you.
Making of America
Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
This online public opinion site contains current poll data by political, business and public-interest groups, such as Pew Research Center, CNN, and USA Today. Access to national data is free, but state level data requires a subscription.
September 11 Digital Archive
The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. The Archive contains more than 150,000 digital items, a tally that includes more than 40,000 emails and other electronic communications, more than 40,000 first-hand stories, and more than 15,000 digital images.
Stories of Freedom Summer
In 1964, volunteers gathered at the former Western College for Women (now a part of Miami University) for “Freedom Summer,” to be trained to register African-American voters in Mississippi. Three volunteers were subsequently found murdered in Mississippi. The events of Freedom Summer helped to call attention to racial inequality and serve as a catalyst for change.
Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture: A Multi-media Archive
This site provides visitors with access to primary and secondary source materials on Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic novel. It includes contemporary reviews, proslavery opinion, African American responses, photographs of theatrical productions, and brief film clips of the novel's various cinematic interpretations.
Vincent van Gogh: The Letters
View 902 letters from and to Van Gogh, richly annotated and illustrated, with new transcriptions and translations.
Voice of the Shuttle
An extensive list of historical online resources from all corners of the globe.