History Day Resources

We define primary sources as print or visual images that were taken or prepared during the time period. So a newspaper write up about an event- right after the event had happened- is considered a primary source. A photograph or sketching done at or near the time is considered a primary source. Secondary source materials would be writing about an event sometime after the fact. We have additional history day resource services including our catalog and research databases.


Online Resources

Timeline of Minnesota History - https://www.mnhs.org/historyday 

Visual presentation of historically relevant events in Minnesota. One can click on the pictures, opening up a window with information as well as other sources on the topic.

DocsTeach” https://docsteach.org/ 

Documents from 1754 to the present, sorted into eras and into document types. Includes historically significant documents as well as other historical documents, such as family trees, receipts, marriage announcements, arrest warrants and informational films.



Library of Congress

“American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library” https://www.loc.gov/collections/ 

American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning. Original Link: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html 

"Experiencing War" - Stories from the Veterans History Project (incl. stories of women and minorities) https://www.loc.gov/collections/veterans-history-project-collection/serving-our-voices/ 

Explore the collection: https://www.loc.gov/programs/veterans-history-project/explore-the-collections/ 

Browse by war/military branch: https://www.loc.gov/collections/veterans-history-project-collection/serving-our-voices/

“Chronicling America” https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ 
Digital collection of historic American newspapers from 23 states, from 1860-1922. Search by state, newspaper, dates, keyword, or use predetermined search dates and keywords organized by topic, in “Topics in Chronicling America.”

“THOMAS” https://www.congress.gov 

THOMAS was launched in 1995 in an effort to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. You can find search Bill Summaries and Status, Multiple Congresses, Public Laws by Law Number, House Roll Call Votes, Senate Roll Call Votes, Treaties, and the Congressional Record, etc. from 1973 to the present.



National Archives

“Research Our Records” https://www.archives.gov/research

“Our Documents - 100 Milestone Documents” https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/list 

We invite all Americans to participate in a series of events and programs to get us thinking, talking and teaching about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in our democracy. At the heart of this initiative are 100 milestone documents of American history ranging from 1776-1965.

"Online Exhibits", The National Archives Experience. https://www.archives.gov/exhibits

The "Online Exhibits" delivers an online experience that is unlike any other. With a database of some 1,200 documents, photographs, drawings, maps, and other materials and a keywording system that visually links records, the Online E enables visitors to customize their exhibit experience and to create posters, movies, and games that can be shared by e-mail. Each record is also linked to the National Archives' Archival Research Catalog (ARC), so visitors who want to know more can take the first steps toward a research journey into the National Archives

Smithsonian Institute Collections https://collections.si.edu/search/ 

Search over 7.8 million catalog records with 568,100 images, video and sound files, electronic journals, and other resources from the Smithsonian’s museums, archives, and libraries.

Smithsonian Institution Archives https://siarchives.si.edu/ 

Search the Smithsonian Archives’ collections, which contain the office records of the Smithsonian, as well as personal papers, special collections, records of professional societies, and oral/video histories relating to the history of the Smithsonian.



Specialized Digital Primary Resources

“Making of America” University of Michigan and Cornell University https://collections.library.cornell.edu/moa_new/ 

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 Making of America collection comprises the digitized pages of books and journals. This system allows you to view scanned images of the actual pages of the 19th century texts. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has been performed on the images to enhance searching and accessing the texts

“The Avalon Project,” Yale Law School. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/ 
Documents in law, history and diplomacy, ranging from 4000 BCE to the present. Documents are grouped by century and listed alphabetically. Full text for all documents, and source of document listed at the end.

“Medicine and Madison Avenue” Duke University Libraries https://repository.duke.edu/dc/mma

The Medicine and Madison Avenue Project presents images and database information for approximately 600 health related advertisements printed in newspapers and magazines. The collection represents a wide range of products such as cough and cold remedies, laxatives and indigestion aids. The ads illustrate the variety and evolution of marketing images from the 1910s through the 1950s.

“The Living Room Candidate,” Museum of the Moving Image. www.livingroomcandidate.org

The Living Room Candidate contains more than 300 commercials, from every presidential election from 1952 to 2008.

“The American Presidency Project,” University of California, Santa Barbara. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu
Comprehensive collection of documents related to the study of the presidency. Documents include executive orders, State of the Union addresses, inauguration addresses, addresses to the nation and foreign nations. From Washington to Obama.

***At the bottom of this drupal page, there are links to all the Presidential Libraries**

“Digital Repository” Duke University Libraries – Digital Collections https://repository.duke.edu/dc/adaccess 

Over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements covering five product categories – Beauty and Hygiene, Radio, Television, Transportation, and World War II propaganda – dated between 1911 and 1955.

“APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks)” https://www.apmreports.org/ 

APM Reports a non-partisan, independent investigative and documentary journalism group that offers investigations, documentaries, and podcasts to educate and inform the American public.

“Eye Witness to History” – http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/

“Eye Witness to History” is your ringside seat to history – from the Ancient World to the present. This site present history through the eyes of those who lived it through primary sources excerpts of witnesses to major historical events. Presented by Ibis Communications, Inc.

Making of America (MoA)” https://quod.lib.umich.edu/lib/colllist/ 

Making of American is 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 10,000 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

“American Rhetoric: Top 100 Speeches” American Rhetoric: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/top100speechesall.html 

The Top 100 Speeches is an index to a substantial database of full text transcription of the 100 most significant American political speeches of the 20th century, according to a list compiled by Professors Stephen E. Lucas, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Martin J. Medhurst, Baylor University. Some audio available.

“American Women’s History: Digital Collections of Primary Sources” Middle Tennessee State University Library http://frank.mtsu.edu/~kmiddlet/history/women/wh-digcoll.html

Links to numerous collections of primary sources in women’s history from Ken Middleton, Middle Tennessee State University Library. Search sources listed under “digital collections”.

“Bartleby: Great Books Online” Bartleby.com https://www.bartleby.com/

Selected classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference books have been made available online. Search by subject, title, or author.

“Digital History: Primary Source Document” Gilder Lehrmann Institute https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/ 

A searchable database of 600 primary sources dealing with political, diplomatic, and social history, as well as supreme court cases, newspaper articles, and obituaries, speeches and more. From the Gilder Lehrmann Institute and the University of Houston.

“Documenting the American South” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. DocSouth includes sixteen collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews and songs.

“eHistory” Department of History, Ohio State University https://ehistory.osu.edu/

Ohio State University present a variety of sources including letters, diaries, historical texts, historical documents, oral histories, maps, images, and the Official Records of the Civil War. Collection is searchable with a heavy emphasis on Civil War era.

“Social Explorer” https://www.socialexplorer.com/ 

250,000 data maps, hundreds of profile reports, 220 years of demographic data, 40 billion data elements and 500,000 variables. Use our interactive tools to easily create and share maps, presentations and tables, or compare and analyze data and discover amazing facts. Access current and historical demographic data, create reports and download data in convenient formats quickly and easily.

“National Park Service: History and Culture: Collection” National Park Service https://artsandculture.google.com/project/national-park-service 

The National Park Service presents historic photographs and documentation related to architectural and engineering history. Search the Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record, History American Landscapes Survey, and the NPS Historic Photograph Collection. For more history related to the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/history/index.htm 

This archive from George Washington University is a repository for declassified documents that journalists and scholars have obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Subject areas include Europe, Latin America, Nuclear History, China and East Asia, U.S. Intelligence Community, Middle East and South Asia, September 11th Sourcebooks, Humanitarian interventions, and Government secrecy.

“New York Public Library – Digital Gallery” New York Public Library


NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the New York Public Library’s vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more.

“Oyez – U.S. Supreme Court Media” Chicago-Kent College of Law https://www.oyez.org/ 

The Oyez Project is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme court of the United States and its work. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October of 1955.



Presidential Archives

Presidential Libraries National Archives – https://www.archives.gov/findingaid/presidential-library-explorer 

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library – Significant Documents Collection www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/collections.html

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library – Published writings of Herbert Hoover https://hoover.archives.gov/research/ebooks

Harry S. Truman Library – Online Documents https://www.trumanlibrary.gov/ 

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library – Online Documents https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/research-overview 

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library – Digital Archives https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/search-collections 

Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library – Research Collections https://www.lbjlibrary.org/research/online-collections-resources 

Nixon Presidential Library – Virtual Library https://www.nixonlibrary.gov/president/photo-gallery 

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library – Digital Collections https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/collections-digital.aspx 

Jimmy Carter Library – Documents and Photographs https://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/ 

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library – https://www.reaganfoundation.org/ 

George Bush Presidential Library – Archives https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ 

William J. Clinton Presidential Library – Digital Library https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/ 

George W. Bush Presidential Library - Archives https://www.georgewbushlibrary.gov/ 

Barack Obama Presidential Library - Archives https://www.obamalibrary.gov/