Primary Sources in US Cultural History

The web abounds in terrific resources in US cultural history.  Below, I've curated some of my favorite sites that archive primary texts.

Primary Sources in U.S. Cultural History

Primary Texts: General

U. Penn's Digital Library

The Making of America collection at Cornell University contains digitized journals and books relevant to 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 site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

Making of America, the University of Michigan's digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction

The Texts Collection of the Internet Archive

A virtual library

Primary Texts Collected by Genre, Region, Era, or Subject

The WWW Virtual Library of Theatre and Drama

A Celebration of Women Writers at U. Penn indexes full-length texts by, biographies of, and articles about hundreds of writers.

The Online Archive of Nineteenth-Century U.S. Women's Writings

Open Collections Program: Women Working, 1800-1930. This collection 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 including 7,500 pages of manuscripts, 3,500 books and pamphlets, and 1,200 photographs

"Documenting the American South," an electronic collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provides access to primary documents (including many full-length books) in five areas: First-Person Narratives of the American South, Southern Literature, North American Slave Narratives, The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865, and The Church in the Southern Black Community A truly amazing resource!

Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture: A Multi-Media Archive

The Antislavery Literature Project archives texts pertaining to the history and literature of abolition, including videos and podcasts of scholarly lectures on the subject.

Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 contains just over 100 pamphlets and books published between 1772 and 1889.

The New-York Historical Society's Manuscript Collections Relating to Slavery, an online portal to nearly 12,000 pages of source materials documenting the history of slavery in the United States, the Atlantic slave trade, and the abolitionist movement.

Secession Era Editorials Project

Children's Books Online

The International Children's Digital Library contains the full text and illustrations of several hundred books published before 1930.

Literature for Children. Full texts from the collection of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature at the University of Florida. See also The Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature

The Nietz Old Textbook Collection at the University of Pittsburgh includes almost 100 fully digitized textbooks

St. Nicholas, a popular U.S. magazine for children, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

19th Century Girls' Series contains some full-length texts, some excerpts, and much biographical and bibliographical information.

Every Girl Scouts catalog from 1917 to 2015.  I remember every page of the 1978 catalog.

Wright American Fiction 1851-1875. This is a collection of 19th century American Fiction, as listed in Lyle Wright's bibliography.

Text of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

The Annexation of Hawaii: A Collection of Documents

Dyke: A Quarterly: a full, annotated online archive of all issues 1975-1959, plus collateral ephemera

Heresies, an archive of this feminist journal from 1977-1993

Documents from the history of ACT UP: AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power

Visual Primary Texts

The New York Public Library's Digital Gallery

The University of Washington Library's Digital Collections include visual holdings relating to Alaska and the Yukon, architecture, art, literature, and music, ethnic groups, industries and occupations, internationa affairs, Klondike and Nome gold rushes, mountaineering, the Pacific Northwest, performing arts, politics and labor, science and engineering, Seattle, and the University of Washington.

The Moving Image Archive of the Internet Archive: topics include animation and cartoons, arts and music, community video, computers and technology, cultural and academic films, ephemeral films, home movies, movies, news and public affairs, sprituality and religion, sports, videogame videos, vlogs, and youth media

The Theatrical Virtual Library contains great links to visual theatre resources

Bluegobo, the online musical theatre video archive

The Museum of Broadcast Communication archives about 100,000 hours of television and radio programs from the 1920s forward, including over 12,000 commercials and 3,000 photographs--all searchable online

American Ephemera--a good resource of 19th century visual texts

The Magic Lantern Show: a collection of images derived from antique glass projection slides.

The Hartman Center of the Duke University Libraries. Includes an image database of over 9,000 images relating to the early history of advertising in the United States.

The Disability History Museum, including a searchable online library of texts and images

Early American Paintings in the Worcester Art Museum

The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia

The Authentic History Center: Primary Sources from American Popular Culture

Several individuals have curated online archives of photographs of male-male and female-female affection.  Some of my favorites are Hidden in the Open: A Photographic Essay of 140-Years of Black Male Couples, Lesbian Nostalgica, Bosom Buddies: A Photographic History of Male Affection, Fuck Yeah, Queer Vintage, Our Family Album, and Homo History