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Historical Materials

This brief guide is designed to provide students and researchers with information to help them evaluate the internet sources and the quality of primary materials that can be found online.

This Library of Congress site provides information on and access to, digitized versions of primary-source collections on American history and culture, including photographs, documents, sound recordings and motion pictures.

These documents are collected from various federal web sites including the Library of Congress and the National Archives. Many pages include not only the full text of these important documents, but facsimile copies so users may experience the feel of the original material.

The U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980 contains House and Senate documents and reports on U.S. political, social, cultural, military and ethnic history, as well as international relations, explorations, genealogy, commerce, and industrial development. Its contents come not only from the U.S. Congress, but also include key Executive Department publications. The database contains all publications from the 15th through the 103rd Congresses (1817-1994). Users can search, as well as browse by subject, geographic names, personal names, and an A-Z index. This resource can be used for legislative and historical research.

Additional Resources from GPO
Includes numerical lists of documents and reports from 1957 forward as well as schedules of Serial Set volumes from 1987 forward.

The U.S. Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports bound by session of Congress. It began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers. In general, it includes: committee reports related to bills and other matters, presidential communications to Congress, treaty materials, certain executive department publications, and certain non-governmental publications. Online version covers 104th-11th Congresses, 1995-present.

GPO offers tools for using the Serial Set such as the numerical list of documents and reports from 1957 forward, and the schedule of Serial Set volumes from 1987 forward. 

U.S. Congressional Serial Set provides access to over 50,000 maps, which range from comprehensive atlases to small individual maps clarifying very specific land questions; from the great triangulation surveys, to the repetitive but important weekly weather maps; from the maps that made history as well as the maps of past history. Coverage ranges from pre-1800 through 1999. Users can search, as well as browse by locations, subjects, names, issuing bodies, and dates. The database provides access to international locations as well.

Compiled by the National Archives, these 100 milestone documents chronicle US History from 1776 -1965 and include:

Declaration of Independence (1776)
Articles of Confederation (1777)
Original Design of the Great Seal of the United States (1782)
Constitution of the United States (1787)
Federalist Papers, No. 10 & No. 51 (1787-1788)
President George Washington's First Inaugural Speech (1789)
Bill of Rights (1791)
Patent for Cotton Gin (1794)
Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)
Louisiana Purchase Treaty (1803)
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Missouri Compromise (1820)
Monroe Doctrine (1823)
President Andrew Jackson's Message to Congress 'On Indian Removal' (1830)
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
Telegram Announcing the Surrender of Fort Sumter (1861)
Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
War Department General Order 143: Creation of the U.S. Colored Troops (1863)
Gettysburg Address (1863)
13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865)
Check for the Purchase of Alaska (1868)
14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Civil Rights (1868)
Act Establishing Yellowstone National Park (1872)
Thomas Edison's Patent Application for the Light Bulb (1880)
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Zimmermann Telegram (1917)
Joint Address to Congress Leading to a Declaration of War Against Germany (1917)
President Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points (1918)
19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's Right to Vote (1920)
President Franklin Roosevelt's Radio Address unveiling the second half of the New Deal (1936)
Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese (1942)
Manhattan Project Notebook (1945)
Surrender of Germany (1945)
United Nations Charter (1945)
Surrender of Japan (1945)
Press Release Announcing U.S. Recognition of Israel (1948)
Senate Resolution 301: Censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy (1954)
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address (1961)
Transcript of John Glenn's Official Communication with the Command Center (1962)
Aerial Photograph of Missiles in Cuba (1962)
Official Program for the March on Washington (1963)
Civil Rights Act (1964)
Voting Rights Act (1965)

The History Matters Archive contains tens of thousands of pages of scanned reports, transcripts, and other documents, dozens of hours of audio, and a variety of photographic materials. It includes both old and new from reports published in the 1960s to formerly-secret records declassified as recently as the 2000. The goal of this web site is to serve as a repository and focal point for education and research on the subject of the JFK assassination and related topics in Cold War history.

Designed for teachers and students, History Matters is a gateway to multiple online resources including primary sources and historian annotated websites.  From George Mason University.

Brings together - online - the records and acts of Congress from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention through the 43rd Congress, including the first three volumes of the Congressional Record, 1873-75.

Resources designed to enhance study of a few significant primary source documents from American history, from

Extensive online collection of papers, speeches (audio and video), and documents relating to United States presidential elections and presidents.

The Presidential Timeline provides a single point of access to an ever-growing selection of digitized assets from the collections of the twelve Presidential Libraries of the National Archives. Among these assets you?ll find documents, photographs, audio recordings, and video relating to the events of the presidents? lives.

Constitues, perhaps, the most complete site available for persons who desire a gateway into e-text and e-book materials relating to the third U.S. president.

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Jefferson documents in the world. Document types in the collection as a whole include correspondence, commonplace books, financial account books, and manuscript volumes. The collection is organized into ten series or groupings, ranging in date from 1606 to 1827.

Lincoln/Net presents historical materials from Abraham Lincoln's Illinois years (1830-1861), including Lincoln's writings and speeches, as well as other materials illuminating antebellum Illinois. The site includes lesson plans, images, and supplemental video.

This site provides a complete database of all State of the Union Addresses from 1790-2008 plus separate databases containing the 2005, 2006, 2007, & 2008 State of the Union addresses by George Bush divided by subject.

Access to 277 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.  From the Broadside Collection.

Checklist of US Public Documents, 1789-1909

Congressional and Departmental Publications, Volume 1 1/ from the University of North Texas's Government Information Portal (GovInfo)   This is a scan of the checklist of documents published 1789 - 1909

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. The collection currently contains approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

This webguide provides provides links to materials digitized from the collections of the Library of Congress.

The American Revolution and the New Nation,1763 - 1815

National Expansion and Reform, 1815 - 1860, 

Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860 - 1877,

Collection of sources on Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century. Includes North American slave narratives and the church in the southern black community.  From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

From the Mazal Library, these volumes cover Nuremberg war crimes trials of several key figures in the Nazi party.  The Blue Series covers Nov 1945 to Oct 1946.  Volumes 1-4, and 19, 20 are available online.

Nuremberg Military Tribunal, Nuremburg Trials - Green Series

From the Mazal Library, these volumes cover Nuremberg war crimes trials of several key figures in the Nazi party.  The Green Series covers Oct 1946 to May 1949.  Volumes 1-4, and 19, 20 are available online.

Trial information, resources, and links to primary and secondary sources on the Nuremberg Trials.  From Yale University Law School Library.

Contains maps showing troop positions beginning on June 6, 1944 to July 26, 1945. Starting with the D-Day Invasion, the maps give daily details on the military campaigns in Western Europe, showing the progress of the Allied Forces as they push towards Germany. Some of the sheets are accompanied by a declassified "G-3 Report" giving detailed information on troop positions for the period 3 Mar. 1945-26 July 1945.

The Virtual Archive currently includes finding aids for all Vietnam Archive collections and over 1.5 million pages of materials online, including documents, photographs, slides, negatives, audio and moving image recordings, artifacts, and oral histories. New items are being added daily.