Secondary 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 comment on (and sometimes archive evidence of) this past.  I've divided the list into fields of particular interest to me: after "General Interest," you'll find Theatre and Performance, Children and Childhood, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Histories and Cultures.

General Interest

Excellent video introduction to the "Bechdel Test," a simple set of questions to determine whether a given text treats women as people or as female people.

The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture

African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship. Online exhibit created by the Library of Congress.

Sources in American History

Common-Place:A Common Place, and Uncommon Voice

The Victorian Web

Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events

An excellent list of American Literature Sites

Bibliographies of selected figures in American literature

Lists of bestselling books, 1900-1999

The Women in Photography International Archive, curated by Peter E. Palmquist

The World's Columbian Exposition: Idea, Experience, and Aftermath

Meet Me at the Fair: The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair

Resources in Progressive Era History

The Political Graveyard: A Database of Historic Cemeteries. This is a superbly searchable database that enables you to identify politicians by region, date of birth or death, party affiliation, religion, cause of death, and many other factors. Amazing!

History Matters, a resource for high school and college teachers of history. This site links to many primary sources on the Web.

A History of the Stereopticon (also known as the stereoscope or stereoviewer)

Solemates: The Century in Shoes

A history of typewriters

Theatre and Performance

The Hemispheric Institute, a consortium of institutions, artists, scholars, and activists dedicated to exploring the relationship between expressive behavior (broadly construed as performance) and social and political life in the Americas.

Jerry Bangham's Theatre Links

A non-exhaustive but useful list of websites about American theatre

The Theater Offensive, Boston's GLBTQ theater

Truth Serum, a Boston-based producer of queer, lesbian, and trans performance events

The Butch Casting Project, Celebrating Butches, Trannies and Gender-Queers in Performance

La Mama Experimental Theatre Club

The Franklin Furnace presents, preserves, interprets, proselytizes, and davocates on behalf of avant-garde art. This site contains a searchable database of archived videos of performance art.

Virtual Vaudeville

American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment 1870-1920, a website of the Library of Congress

Performing Arts in America, 1875-1923, a website created by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920. An exhibit at the Library of Congress.

The Alberti Flea Circus and Strolling Street Organ

Fourth of July Celebrations Database: everything you ever wanted to know about the Fourth of July. This site contains the texts of Fourth of July orations from 1788 to 1996.

The Hard Corn Players, last of Toby Shows

The Lost Museum, a site devoted to P.T. Barnum's museum

U. Penn's "Shakespeare Resources" features Shakespeare's works in multiple folios, the full texts of seventeenth-century promptbooks, and more.

Shakespeare and the Players is a survey through postcards of the many now unfamiliar English and American actors who played Shakespeare's characters for late Victorian and Edwardian audiences.

The Development of Scenic Spectacle contains fabulous animation demonstrating early theatrical technology

Theatrical Calamities

On the Purple Circuit, a site promoting GLQBT theater and performance


The Internet Broadway Database

Children and Childhood

Kay E. Vandergrift's Social History of Children's Literature

Perry Nodleman's "Readings about Children's Literature"

Exhibition on early children's literature

Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in 19th Century America

Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read

Guide to Women Illustrators of Children's Books

Bibliography on the Sociology of Childhood

History of Boys' Clothing

The Philadelphia Doll Museum

Ethnic Images in Toys & Games, an exhibition in the Museum of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Histories and Cultures, a freely accessible educational website in development

Queer Music Heritage, a truly stunning archive of music by and about GLBTQ people, plus dozens of interviews with the music's makers.

Lesbian Photography on the U.S. West Coast, 1972-1997, an essay and exhibit by Tee Corinne

The International Lesbian and Gay Association

The Lesbian Herstory Archives

The Mazer Lesbian Archives

The GLBT Historical Society

The Lesbian History Project

1970s Lesbian Feminism

A history of The Furies, a lesbian/feminist collective based in Washington, DC in the 1970s

The Rainbow History Project of Washington, DC

ACT UP Oral History Project

Memorial to gay activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895)

GLBT Jewish Archives

Leather Archives and Museum