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Free Online Resources

Free internet resources for research and writing.

American History

Need primary sources? Online archives can be a great place to find digitized copies of newspapers, letters, diaries, government documents and more. Check out the list below.

American Leaders Speak: 59 sound recordings of speeches by American leaders from 1918-1920. The speeches, by figures such as Warren Harding,  focus on issues and events surrounding WWI and the subsequent presidential election of 1920. Speakers include: Warren G. Harding, James Cox, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Samuel Gompers, Henry Cabot Lodge and John J. Pershing.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers: This excellent site, sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, includes searchable, digitized newspapers from all over the United States, covering 1860-1922.

Digital North Carolina: Materials compiled by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center from museums, archives, and libraries across the state.

Documenting the American South: An excellent online resource from the UNC-Chapel Hill Library, this site provides access to primary sources in the form of digitized texts, images, and audio files related to Southern history, literature and culture.

Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project: A collection of Eleanor Roosevelt's writing and speeches (including television and radio interviews) on human rights and democracy.

Evolution of the Conservation Movement: Provides an in-depth timeline and chronology of the movement to conserve America's wild spaces and species, with links to documents and more information.

Founders Early Access: Comprising digitized papers of some of the major figures of the Early Republic, such as James Madison, John Adams, and George Washington, this fully searchable online archive contains transcribed copies of hundreds of unpublished documents. Users may also sign up for a free trial of The Founding Era Collection, a more extensive collection featuring documents relating to Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and other important figures.

Freedmen and Southern Society Project: Contains a wealth of transcribed primary documents relating to slavery and emancipation.

From Slavery to Freedom: The African American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909: From the Libray of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division, this sites contains scanned images of 396 pamphlets written on the subjects of slavery, abolition, colonization, Reconstruction and the Civil War.

Historical Monographs Collection: This extensive collection of digitized books from the Cornell University Library collection (all fragile and damaged copies in danger of being lost) contains excellent sources in American and European History in a fully searchable format.

Primary Documents in American History: This excellent site, from the Library of Congress, offers links to an extensive array of documents housed in the LoC's collection, as well as supplemental materials such as speeches, journal articles, and links to other, related collections. Divided into three sections: 

  • 1763-1815:
    The American Revolution and the New Nation
  • 1815-1860:
    National Expansion and Reform
  • 1860-1877:
    Civil War and Reconstruction

Non-U.S. History

Academic Earth: Contains lectures and entire courses from experts at universities across the United States, with many focusing on Ancient History, the Middle Ages, the Early Modern Period, and beyond.

Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Compiled by Paul Halsall at Fordham University, this site provides the full text of primary sources from Ancient Greece, the Near East, the Roman Empire, and early Christianity.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook: Extensive collection of primary sources, commentary and criticism and suggested reading on Medieval History from the end of the Classical World through the beginning of the Reformation.

Labyrinth: Medieval Studies Online: Georgetown University's comprehensive guide to web resources for all things medieval; includes links to primary source and scholarly work

Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature: A comprehensive anthology and guide to English literature of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Seventeenth Century, Restoration and Eighteenth Century.

Perseus Digital Library: An evolving digital library of resources for the study of the ancient world through to the Renaissance.