Learning Commons | Cardinal Cushing Library
Primary Documents

Primary Documents/Images
Restricted Resource = Emmanuel Faculty, Staff & Students only

American History 1493-1945 Restricted Resource
Module 1: Settlement, Commerce, Revolution and Reform: 1493-1859 Sources from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York. Contains books, diaries, correspondence, newspapers, photographs, military documents, pamphlets, broadsides and other ephemera. “The majority of the collection is unique manuscript. It is an extensive resource for scholars, educators and students and is considered one of the finest archives for material on the revolutionary, early national, antebellum and civil war eras.”  Module 2: Civil War, Reconstruction and the Modern Era: 1860-1945 Includes documents on slavery, the Civil War, and secession.

American Indian Histories and Cultures Restricted Resource
Contains manuscripts, artwork, photographs, rare printed books, and maps related to the historical and personal stories of the colonization of the Americas from early contacts between European settlers and American Indians  to the modern era, and “told against the backdrop of the 19th century expansion into the ‘Western Frontier’ right through to the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.” Sources from the Edward E. Ayer Collection at The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Amistad Research Center Digital Projects
"The Amistad Research Center is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing open access to original materials that reference the social and cultural importance of America's ethnic and racial history, the African Diaspora, human relations, and civil rights."

Archives of American Art
Includes all of the Archives of American Art records. Provides access to primary sources that document American visual arts. Sources from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Brown Digital Repository
Provides access to primary resources produced via the scholarly, instructional, research, and administrative activities at Brown. Providence, RI.

"University of California's free public gateway"" to primary documents ""selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses" and their partners statewide.

Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research
"[T]he official repository for the archives of major human rights organizations such as Amnesty International USA, the Committee of Concerned Scientists,  Human Rights First, and Human Rights Watch." Columbia University Libraries.

Civil War Diaries and Letters
 A collection of diaries and letters from Auburn University, covering both sides of the war; each item is scanned and transcribed.

Credo, Special Collections and University Archives
Collections include the "Horace Mann Bond Papers" and "W. E. B. Du Bois Papers."  University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Digital Collections, Columbia University Library
Offers access to “photographs, posters, drawings, objects, ephemera, and manuscripts as well as other archival material from Columbia's rare and special collections.” New York, NY.

Digital Collections, Duke University Libraries
The digital collections of Duke University Libraries provides access to a growing collection of their archival materials, including both Full Text and Images.

Digital Collections, Harvard University
Access botanical studies primary resource materials such as, specimen databases, images, and other links.

Digital Collections, University of Washington Libraries
Offers access primary source materials associated with the arts and humanities. Including access to digital resources associated with the Labor Archives of Washington and the Mountains and Mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest collection. Seattle, WA.

Digital Collections, Yale University Library
Contains a wide variety of digital primary source materials, including the Henry Kissinger Papers, the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library Digital Collections, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Digital Collections. New Haven, CT.

Digital Collections, UC Berkeley Library
Includes much of US Berkeley Library’s archival materials, as well as “born digital” materials, hosted through Calisphere.

Early Americas Digital Archive
Gateway to primary source material “written in or about the Americas from 1492 to approximately 1820.” Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), University of Maryland, College Park.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online Restricted Resource
Full-text, searchable primary documents from the 18th century; over 180,000 titles: books, pamphlets, essays, broadsides and other material in all subject areas, published in the UK and elsewhere. Includes an image gallery.

First World War Digital Poetry Archive
"An online repository of over 7000 items of text, images, audio, and video for teaching, learning, and research. The heart of the archive consists of collections of highly valued primary material from major poets of the period, including Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Robert Graves, Vera Brittain, and Edward Thomas." University of Oxford.

Internet Archive: University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
Collection of books digitized by the Internet Archive for UMass, Amherst.  Primary documents include vital records, historical directories, gazetteers, and histories of Massachusetts towns and regions.

Library of Congress
Explore the Digital collections.

Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth
"Digital Commonwealth is a Web portal and fee-based repository service for online cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives."

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
U.S. Federal Government website providing access to Federal Government Records and more. Select the Research Our Records option at the top left and, then, Research a Specific Topic.

New York State Archives: Digital Collections
Collections and images from the New York State Archives, NYS Museum, NYS Library.

New York Public Library Digital Collections
180,000 digitized photos, postcards, maps, and other images freely available online and in the public domain.   The NYPL has made the decision to treat these public-domain images as public intellectual property that can be reused by members of the public in any way they want.  (For the New York Public Library’s Press Release on promoting transformative use of their materials, click here.) 

The Newberry Publications and Digital Resources
The Newberry is a "world-renowned independent research library in Chicago."

Nineteenth Century Collections: Women Restricted Resource
Nineteenth Century Collections Online - Women: Transnational Networks provides primary source documents—serials, books, manuscripts, diaries, reports, and visuals focusing on issues at the intersection of gender and class from the late-eighteenth century to the era of suffrage in the early-twentieth century, all through a transnational perspective. The collection draws from the Library of Congress, the London School of Economics and Political Science Library, and the Library of the Society of Friends.

Princeton University Digital Library
Princeton, NJ.

Rare Books & Manuscripts Department Collection
Boston Public Library.

Library Catalog Digital Collections
Cornell University Library

September 11 Digital Archive
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University and American Social History Project, City University of New York Graduate Center.

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law Restricted Resource
This HeinOnline collection brings together, for the first time, all essential legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world.

State Library of Massachusetts Digital Collections
The State Library of Massachusetts supports the research and information needs of government, libraries, and people through innovative services and access to a comprehensive repository of state documents and other historical items.

ULS Digital Collections
An array of primary source materials covering both the humanities and the sciences from the University Library System (ULS), University of Pittsburgh.

Vietnam Center and Archive
"[C]ollects and preserves the documentary record of the Vietnam War, and supports and encourages research and education regarding all aspects of the American Vietnam Experience." Texas Tech University.
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Identifying Primary Sources
  • See the tutorial Primary vs. Secondary Sources (Twin Cities Library, St. Mary's University of Minnesota) for a definition and examples of Primary Sources.
  • Photogrammar
    170,000 iconic pictures of America in the era of the Great Depression and WWII (1935-1945) housed in the Library of Congress, released by Yale and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Searchable by County map.
Historical Maps
Presidential Papers/Libraries
The Papers of George Washington: The Complete Correspondence
Established in 1968 at the University of Virginia in conjunction with the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union to create a digital edition of over 135,000 documents from Washington’s correspondence.  This ongoing project is about two-thirds complete.  Documents are searchable by keyword, topic, or series within a specific date range.  Provides maps, videos, images, and data visualizations from the document collection.

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive
University of Virginia Library.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Springfield, IL.

William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum
Canton, OH.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum
Staunton, VA.

Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum
Northampton, MA.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
West Branch, IA.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Hyde Park, NY.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum
Independence, MO.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
Abilene, KS.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Use the Library's internal search engine to find unabridged files and explore the interactive exhibits: Boston, MA.

LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) Presidential Library
Austin, TX.

Nixon Presidential Library & Museum
College Park, MD.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
Grand Rapids, MI.

Jimmy Carter Library & Museum
Atlanta, GA.

Ronald Reagan Library & Museum
Simi Valley, CA.

George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
College Station, TX.

William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
Little Rock, AR.

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Dallas, TX.

Barack Obama Presidential Library