Skip to Main Content

Primary Sources


A collection of over two million images, contributed by museums, individual photographers, scholars, special collections at libraries, and photo archives (requires SFC username and password)

Cities and Buildings Database
From the University of Washington Libraries, a collection of digitized images of buildings and cities drawn from across time and throughout the world.

George Floyd & Anti-Racist Street Art
The Urban Art Mapping Research Project document examples of street art from around the world emerging in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd as part of an ongoing movement demanding social justice and equality.

Library of Congress Digital Collections: Performing Arts
Large collection of material that details the history of music, dance and theatre in the U.S.

Museum With No Frontiers: Discover Islamic Art
Containing digitized images from more than 40 museums in 14 countries, this online collection highlights the best of Islamic Art.

National Jukebox
The National Jukebox is a collection of historical sound recordings from the Library of Congress. The collection includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925.


Thousands of television commercials created or collected by the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) advertising agency, dated 1950s - 1980s.

Columbia Historical Corporate Reports Online Collection
Historical annual reports of companies operating in and around New York City 1849 to the early 1960s. Comprising 36 companies & 770 individual reports.

Computer History Museum: Marketing Brochures
Marketing brochures showing some of the more important technologies and companies in computing from 1948 to 1988. Browse by company name, decade, application or category.

Dr. Seuss Advertising Artwork
Advertising artwork created by Theodor Seuss Geisel in the 1920s-1950s.

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920
Over 3,300 advertising items and publications dating from 1850 to 1920.

Philip Morris Advertising Archive
Tobacco print ads, outdoor ads and direct marketing materials dating back to the early 1900s, including some materials which have not been published or publicly displayed.


Amnesty International Document Search
Publications including reports, news releases and urgent actions, 1996 to the present. Search by country, region, theme, etc.

Black Women's Suffrage Digital Collection
Collaborative project from several archives and libraries to provide access to primary source materials documenting the experiences of Black Women in the Women's Suffrage Movement (1850-1960).

The Center for Human Rights and Documentation Research
This is the official repository for the archives of major human rights organizations such as Amnesty International USA. The Center's Human Rights Web Archive has also collected over 50 million pages of content from websites created by NGOs and Human Rights organizations.

Civil Rights Digital Library
Materials from archives and libraries across the US documenting the struggle for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Crisis Digital Collection
Fully digitized issues of The Crisis magazine, a publication of the NAACP focusing on civil rights and equality issues. Digital editions cover the years 1911-2011.

Freedom on the Move: Database of Fugitives from North American Slavery
Database that digitizes, preserves, organizes, and enables analysis of all surviving runaway ads from the historical period of North American slavery.

Human Rights Library
Hosted by the University of Minnesota, more than sixty thousand core human rights documents, including several hundred human rights treaties and other primary international human rights instruments.

The Torture Archive
The Torture Archive is an online repository of more than 16,000 documents that chronicle the United States government policy on the detention and interrogation of individuals in the “global war on terror” since September 11, 2001. From the National Security Archive.

The United Nations: Universal Human Rights Index
Provides access to human rights documents issued by the UN human rights treaty bodies and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.

The United States Institute of Peace: Truth Commission Digital Collection
The collection contains profiles of global truth commissions with links to official legislative texts and each commissions final reports and findings.

University of Texas Libraries' Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI)
Legacy site from UT Libraries showcasing archival documents related to human rights struggles around the world.


Avalon Project
From the Yale Law School Library, the Avalon Project contains digital documents relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government from ancient times to the 21st century.

C-Span Video Library
Digitized archive of more than 160,000 hours of Congressional hearings, White House briefings, Presidential addresses and more, dating back to 1987.

govinfo provides free public access to more than a million official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.

National Security Archive
Selected declassified documents of the US government on a wide range of subjects: Nuclear History, Middle East, Latin America, Asia, September 11 and more!

Oral History of the US House of Representatives
Oral history interviews with House employees including former Representatives, House Officers, Member aides, and support staff. Years of service to the House range from 1932-2019.

Papers of the War Department 1784-1800
Between 1784 and 1800, the War Department was responsible for Indian affairs, veteran affairs, naval affairs, as well as militia and army matters. This collection presents over 50,000 documents from the War Department.


British Library Virtual Books
Books digitized from the British Library's collections include; sketches from Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare folios, the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Blake's notebooks, the Ramayana, and more!

Digital Scriptorium
Collaborative project between many American libraries and museums to digitize and provide access to their collections of pre-modern manuscripts.

Early Broadside Ballad Archive
From the University of California, a searchable database of almost 10,000 Early Modern Broadside Ballads available as text, art, and music.

Modernist Journals Project
A joint project from Brown University and The University of Tulsa to chart the rise of modernism. The Modernist Journals Project contains digitized English-language literary magazines from the 1890s to the 1920s.


16th- Early 20th Century Maps of Africa
From Northwestern University, this collection features digital copies of 113 antique maps of Africa and accompanying text dating from the mid 16th Century to the early 20th Century.

Historical Maps Online
Extensive list of links to online historical map collections from around the world. From the Perry-Castañeda Library at the University of Texas..

Library of Congress Digital Collections: Maps
Access over 50,000 historical maps from the digital collections of the Library of Congress.

Persuasive Maps: The PJ Mode Collection
From Cornell University Library, collection of over 800 persuasive maps - designed to influence opinions or beliefs rather than communicate geographic information. Maps cover religious, political, military, commercial, and social messages.

World Digital Library: Maps
More than 1000 digitized maps, dating from 8000BC to 1949 and representing areas around the world.


Museum of the City of New York
The museum's online portal has around 200,000 digitized items across a range of thematic collections that document the history of New York City.

New York Heritage Digital Collection
Gateway to hundreds of digital collections from libraries, museums and archives across the state. The collections focus on New York State's people, places, and institutions.

New York Historical Society
Digital collections from the New York Historical Society. Search paintings, photographs, maps, manuscripts and more!

New York State Library
The State Library's Digital Collections includes both contemporary materials from 1995 to the present and selected historical materials dating back to the 1700s.


Brooklyn Newsstand
Brooklyn Public Library's digital newspaper archive, including digitized editions of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1841-1963) and Brooklyn Life (1890-1924).

Life Magazine
Life Magazine is the treasured photographic magazine that chronicled the 20th Century. Magazine editions from 1935 to 1972 have been digitized and made available online to view browse, and search.

Newspaper Navigator
Application from the Library of Congress that allows users to search and explore over 1.5 million historic newspaper photographs dating from 1900-1963.

New York Times Historical (1851-2014)
Searchable databases of New York Times editions offering first-hand accounts and unparalleled coverage of the politics, society and events from 1851-2014 (requires SFC username and password).

Pennsylvania Civil War Era Newspaper Collection
Full text of eleven newspapers from around the Commonwealth dating before, during and after the US Civil War.

US Newsstream
Database collection of newspapers including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and more! Coverage dates back to 1985 (requires SFC username and password).

Wall Street Journal
Full-text access to The Wall Street Journal, a vital source on business news and information on financial markets worldwide. Coverage dates back to 1984 (requires SFC username and password).


Center For Jewish History Digital Collections
Explore more than 25,000 digitized items from the Center for Jewish History and partner institutions. Includes rare books, children's books, letters, maps, oral histories and more!

The Cornell University Witchcraft Collection
Cornell’s Witchcraft Collection contains over 3,000 titles documenting the history of the Inquisition and the persecution of witchcraft, primarily in Europe.

Digital Quaker Collection
A digital library containing full text and page images of over 500 individual Quaker works from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Digital Vatican Library
Access the Vatican Library's digital collections including manuscripts, early printed books, graphic materials and ephemera.

Internet Sacred Text Archive
Freely available site has an archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore. Texts are presented in English translation and, in some cases, in the original language

Library of Congress Digital Collections: Religion and Philosophy
Thirteen religion and philosophy based digital collections from the Library of Congress.

Monastic Matrix
Academic Resources dedicated to the study of women's religious communities from 400 to 1600CE. Includes a separate section of primary sources, which can be browsed by title/author/community/region/century.

Papal Documents
Letters, speeches and other writings from Pope Leo XIII (1878) through Pope Benedict XVI (2013).

RAMBI (Index of Articles on Jewish Studies)
Based largely on the collections of the National Library of Israel, this database contains over 350,000 records covering the various fields of Jewish studies and the land of Israel.

Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in 19th Century America
Michigan State University Libraries presents Sunday school books published in America between 1815-1865, documenting the culture of religious instruction of youth in America at the time.


The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia
From the University of Michigan Library, a digital collection of archival, primary, and interpretive materials related to the history of the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic in the United States.

Biodiversity Heritage Library
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that digitize the literature of biodiversity held in their collections and make it accessible online.

Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments
Harvard University's collection of historical scientific instruments contains over 20,000 objects dating from 1400 to the present. It covers a broad range of disciplines including astronomy, biology, medicine and physics.

Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics
A collection from Harvard University Library that makes available more than 500,000 pages of books, serials, manuscripts, pamphlets, and other materials offering historical perspectives on diseases and epidemics.

Images from the History of Medicine
Collection of more than 70,000 images from the National Library of Medicine. Contains photographs, posters and graphic art to illustrate the social and historical aspects of medicine from the 15th to the 21st century.

Royal Society Journal Archive
Free access to nearly 70,000 historical scientific articles published between 1665 and early 1900s. Treasures in the archive include Isaac Newton's first published scientific paper and geological work by a young Charles Darwin.


American Antiquarian Society
Online image archive digitized from the Society’s collections. Over 115,000 images including manuscripts, rare books, children’s books, graphic arts, newspapers and periodicals

Documenting the American South
Digitized from UNC Chapel Hill holdings, this platform includes 16 thematic collections relating to southern history, literature and culture.

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
From Harvard University Library, a collection of historical materials documenting voluntary immigration to the US from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression.

Library of Congress Digital Collections: US History
Historic photographs, prints, presidential papers, music, news reports and more from the Library of Congress' American History collections.

Political Campaign Memorabilia
Cornell University Library has collected political campaign memorabilia and documentation that show how American political parties and groups have promoted their candidates and platforms from the end of the 1700s to the present.

Statistical Abstracts of the United States (1878-2012)
Find historic statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. These publications from the U.S. Census Bureau cover 1878-2012.


African Posters
The Herskovits Library at Northwestern University showcases 600 digitized African posters from their collection. Subjects include politics, health, religion, liberation struggles, art exhibitions, and social issues.

The Digital Library of the Caribbean
The Digital Library of the Caribbean is a cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean. Access digitized items from over 60 partner institutions around the world.

The Digital Library of the Middle East
The Digital Library of the Middle East offers access to the cultural legacy of the Middle East and North Africa by bringing together collections from a range of cultural heritage institutions.

East Asia Image Collection
Lafayette College's East Asia Image Collection is an online archive of digitized photographs, negatives, postcards, rare books and slides.

Europeana 1914-1918
Europeana's ongoing project to digitize items illustrating the history of WWI. Over 185,000 Items digitized from collections of partner institutions across Europe.

The Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1860-1960
Assembled by the British collector Humphrey Winterton, these 7000+ photographs document African life, European life in Africa, African landscapes and urban development. Presented online by Northwestern University Library.

Islamic Heritage Project
A digital collection of Islamic manuscripts, published texts, and maps from across Harvard University's libraries and museums.

South Asia Open Archives
Collaborative project from 26 research libraries presents a curated collection of historical and contemporary sources in arts, humanities and social sciences, from and about South Asia.

Southeast Asia Visions
From Cornell University Library, the Visions collection includes the written and photographed experiences of Europeans and Americans who traveled to Southeast Asia during the period of imperialism (1550s-1920s).

Soviet Union (Hoover Institute)
Hoover Institute Archives holds a number of significant collections relating to Soviet dissidents and defectors, such as Andrei Siniavskii and Aleksandr Ginzburg. Also includes a collection of more than 3,000 Soviet posters.