About This Subject Guide
This page lists resources focused on resources related to American history. For more resources related to historical research, use the other guides below. 

For a full list of Wheaton's electronic resources, consult this list

Please pardon the appearance of this guide while it is being revised. 
Subject Specialist
Picture: Cary Gouldin

Cary Gouldin
Humanities Liaison
Tel: (508) 286 3924

All Items by Source


America: History and Life [EBSCO] Restricted Resource openURL
Indexes journal articles, book chapters, book reviews and dissertations on United States and Canadian history and culture (for world history, use Historical Abstracts); 1964 - present. 
JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text availableopenURL
Full text backfiles of over 2,500 core scholarly journals in humanities, social sciences, and sciences. To help you navigate and search JSTOR, check their helpful how-to guide (PDF). 

Note: JSTOR includes 16 current titles, but for all others, JSTOR does not contain the most recent 1-7 years of content. Many of these titles are continued in the Library's print and/or electronic subscriptions, however. Check the Journal Finder for complete holdings information.

Project Muse Restricted Resource Some full text available
Full-text current and archival articles from 670+ scholarly journals from major university presses covering literature and criticism, history, performing arts, cultural studies, education, philosophy, political science, gender studies, and more. The Library's subscription also includes over 7,000 e-books. Updated continually.


ArchiveGrid Logo "ArchiveGrid includes over four million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,000 different archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies."

Encyclopedias, Handbooks, and Dictionaries

Great American History Fact-Finder Restricted Resource Some full text available
Vademecuum on U.S. history. 
Note: This edition dates to 1993. While much of the information provided is still useful and valid, it may not always reflect state-of-the-art research.
Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History Restricted Resource Some full text available
Surveys U.S. cultural and intellectual history within its broader social and political context from the colonial era to the late twentieth century. 
Encyclopedia of American Social Movements Restricted Resource Some full text available
Divided into sections that cover one of the major social movements in American history, including the anti-slavery movement; civil rights; women's rights; labor; the Native American movement; student movements; the environmental movement; and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement. Includes bibliographies and index. 
Call Number: Ref. HN57 .E594 2004.
Encyclopedia of American Studies Some full text available Resource contains images
Extensive encyclopedia with more than 800 entries on U.S. culture and history from precolonial times to the present, compiled under the auspices of the American Studies Association (ASA). 
Marquis Who Was Who in America 1607-1984 Restricted Resource Some full text available
Biographical dictionary for U.S. history, with very short entries for 100,000+ historical figures from colonial times to the mid-20th century.
American Economy: A Historical Encyclopedia Restricted Resource Some full text available
Comprehensive encyclopedia covering U.S. economic history.
Historical Dictionary of American Education Restricted Resource Some full text available
"Provides factual information about eminent people and important topics related to the development of American public, private, and parochial schools, covering elementary and secondary levels. In addition to major state and regional leaders and reformers, it includes biographies of significant national educators, philosophers, psychologists, and writers. Subjects embrace important ideas, events, institutions, agencies, and pedagogical trends that profoundly shaped American policies and perceptions regarding education." Includes bibliographies and index.
Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience Some full text available
Comprehensive, 5-volume encyclopedia covering African and African American history, art, literature, politics, religion, and biography. 
Call Number: ​Ref. DT14 .A37435 2005
African American Religious Culture Restricted Resource
Extensive encyclopedia outlining religious customs, institutions, and experiences of African Americans (understood as people of African descent in all of the Americas, not just the United States), from the 15th century to the present.
Hispanic American Religious Cultures Restricted Resource Some full text available
Extensive encyclopedia outlining religious customs, institutions, and experiences of Hispanic Americans, from the introduction of Roman Catholicism to the Americas in the late 15th century to the present. 
Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia Restricted Resource Some full text available
This encyclopedia provides brief biographical sketches of significant latina women in U.S. history. 
LGBT: Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America Restricted Resource Some full text available
Three-volume reference work on the history of LGBTQ people, culture, and politics in the United States. Call Number: Ref. ​HQ76.3 .U5E53 2004. 
Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia Restricted Resource Some full text available
"Articles on present-day tribal groups comprise more than half of the coverage. They range from essays on the Navajo, Lakota, Cherokee, and other large tribes to shorter entries on such lesser-known groups as the Hoh, Paugusett, and Tunica-Biloxi. The authors highlight issues that each group has faced in the past and faces today, providing population figures, and information on tribal economies, religion, and culture. The Encyclopedia fills a major gap in tribal-specific information on 20th-century Native Americans." Call Number: ​Ref. E76.2 .N36 1994.
Women's Studies Encyclopedia Restricted Resource Some full text available
Three-volume reference work discussing Women's Studies from sociocultural, historical, and political perspectives. The geographical focus is primarily on the United States. Call Number: Ref. ​HQ1115 .W645 1999. 
Credo Reference Restricted Resource Some full text availableopenURL Resource contains images
Digital library of over 700 cross-searchable reference books in a wide variety of disciplines. A great starting point for your research that also leads you right to the library catalog and other databases.

Digital Libraries and Collections

Digital Public Library of America [DPLA] Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video Resource contains audio
Aggregates digital collections from various institutions across the United States and serves as both a simple search portal and as a development platform with which online exhibitions etc. can be built. 
Documenting the American South Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains audio
Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is an extensive collection of digital primary sources on the history of the Southern United States from the colonial period to the twentieth century, curated by the University of North Carolina Library. It includes a wide variety of materials, from letters and diaries to published literary and non-fiction works to oral history interviews. 
Library of Congress Digital Collections Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video Resource contains audio
Portal to the digital/digitized collections of the Library of Congress, which include the papers of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Hannah Arendt, among many others, as well as historic photographs, ephemera, sheet music, etc. from all periods of American history. 
American Memory: Historical Collections from the Library of Congress Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video Resource contains audio
American Memory provides free and open access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
HathiTrust Digital Library Some full text available
Digital library created from the collections of major research libraries in the United States and around the world. Items range from medieval Arabic manuscripts to early modern European incunabula, from colonial American pamphlets to 19th-century treatises on natural history. Although a part of the collection is only accessible to members of participating/contributing institutions, many materials (particularly those no longer in copyright) are freely accessible.
Internet History Sourcebooks Project Some full text available
One of the earliest efforts to collect open-access primary sources on the World Wide Web, founded and edited by Professor Paul Halsall of Fordham University. Besides official documents, this site includes narrative accounts, personal memoirs, songs, newspaper reports, as well as cultural, philosophical, religious, and scientific documents. It covers ancient, medieval, and modern history across all continents. 
Historic Documents Restricted Resource Some full text available
Includes primary source documents covering the most significant events of the year. These documents range from presidential speeches, international agreements, and Supreme Court decisions to U.S. governmental reports, scientific findings, and cultural discussions. Click on the CQP Electronic Library link to cross-search all CQ Press subscriptions. 1972 - present. 
Annals of American History Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains audio
From the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, a collection of primary sources in American history from 1493 to 2009. Access provided by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). 
Early Americas Digital Archive
EADA is a collection of electronic texts written in or about the Americas from 1492 to approximately 1820, published by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.
Evans Early American Imprint Collection Some full text available
A digital collection of the entire collection of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). A learned society and research library founded in 1812, the AAS is the third oldest historical organization in the United States. It preserves the largest single collection of printed source material relating to the history, literature, and culture of the first 250 years of what is now the United States, and holds copies of nearly two-thirds of all books, pamphlets, and broadsides known to have been printed in this country between 1640 and 1821. 
Making of America
Long-standing project to digitize historic books and periodicals documenting U.S. history from the Antebellum Period through Reconstruction. Access through the University of Michigan (separately for books and journals) or the Cornell University portal, which both have slightly different digital assets.
FDsys (Federal Digital System) Some full text available
Digital repository of U.S. government publications, from the U.S. Government Publishing Office. Contains a wealth of information dating back to the nineteenth century, including congressional bills and hearings, the Code of Federal Regulations, and historic documents such as the Warren Commission Report. [Formerly known as GPO Access.]
Umbra: Search African American History Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video Resource contains audio
Developed by the Givens Collection of African American Literature at the University of Minnesota Libraries, provides a search interface for the extensive digital collections of that library as well as more than 1,000 other institutions. 
Discovering American Women's History Online Some full text available Resource contains images
"This database provides access to digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States. These diverse collections range from Ancestral Pueblo pottery to interviews with women engineers from the 1970s."
African American Women Some full text available
Images and transcripts from three digital collections: Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson Slave Letters, 1837-1838; Vilet Lester Slave Letter, 1857; and Elizabeth Johnson Harris: Life Story, 1867-1923. From the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Abolition of the Slave Trade Some full text available Resource contains images
From the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, an extensive website on the global history of abolition, including essays, maps, and a variety of primary source documents. It "provides resources for exploring the various dimensions and consequences, and the impact of decisions made and actions taken or not taken on four continents two centuries ago. It offers insights into the slave trade to the United States, African resistance, abolitionism, the U.S. Constitution and the Slave Trade Acts, 19th century African-American celebrations of the 1807 Act, the illegal slave trade, the campaign to revive the trade, and the end of the Africans’ deportation." 
Vintage Ad Browser Resource contains images
Containing more than 100,000 historic ads from the late 19th century onwards, this privately curated website "aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-Roms, websites, APIs, your submissions, book, magazine, and comic book scans, and more."
Access to Archival Databases (AAD)
Provides "access to records in a small selection of historic databases preserved permanently in NARA. Out of the nearly 200,000 data files in its holdings, NARA has selected approximately 475 of them for public searching through AAD. We selected these data because the records identify specific persons, geographic areas, organizations, and dates. The records cover a wide variety of civilian and military functions and have many genealogical, social, political, and economic research uses. AAD provides:
  • Access to over 85 million historic electronic records created by more than 30 agencies of the U.S. federal government and from collections of donated historical materials.
  • Both free-text and fielded searching options.
  • The ability to retrieve, print, and download records with the specific information that you seek.
  • Information to help you find and understand the records."

Accessible Archives Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Digital collection of historic American newspapers and other documents, including a fairly extensive collection of 19th-century African-American and abolitionist periodicals, World War I camp newspapers, women's suffrage material, as well as local histories.
Hagley Digital Archives Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video Resource contains audio
Extensive digital collections on the history of business and technology in the United States, from the Hagley Museum & Library. 
Columbia Historical Corporate Reports Some full text available Resource contains images
From Columbia University's Watson Business & Economics Library, this collection of historic corporate reports contains scans from 36 companies over the course of over a century, from the 1850s to the 1960s. 
Trade Literature Collection [Smithsonian Libraries] Some full text available Resource contains images
"This collection--the catalogs and books that were once part of the merchandising of American business--is internationally known as an important source for the history of American business, technology, marketing, consumption, and design. Trade literature includes printed or handwritten lists, often illustrated, of items offered for sale ranging in size from small pamphlets to oversized folios of several hundred pages. Manufacturers of all sizes and types issued trade catalogs to promote and sell their products. The present collection contains more than 460,000 catalogs, technical manuals, advertising brochures, price lists, company histories and related materials representing over 36,000 companies."
Women Working: Harvard Open Collections
Focuses on women's role in the United States economy and provides access to digitized historical, manuscript and image resources selected from Harvard University's library and museum collections.
Includes images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. Ad*Access concentrates on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II, providing a coherent view of a number of major campaigns.  From Duke University's Digital Collections.
AdViews Resource contains images Resource contains video
From the digital collections at the Duke University Libraries, this collection contains historic television commercials from the archives of the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) advertising agency, covering the 1950s-1980s. 
National Security Archive
"Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents..., leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets."
Wilson Center Digital Archive: International History Declassified Some full text available
Digital collection of formerly classified documents from the Cold War era, from the archives of various governments. Particularly highlights international aspects of the Cold War, the Korean War, and the problem of nuclear (non-)proliferation.
Europeana 1914-1918 Some full text available Resource contains images
A subset of the EU's extensive Europeana digital library, this site is dedicated specifically to World War I. Of particular note is the site's idea to crowdsource materials, thus providing access to personal as well as institutional artifacts and primary sources. 

Data and Statistics

American Factfinder openURL
A comprehensive database of census data about the United States, drawing on a variety of Census Bureau surveys such as the decennial U.S. Census and the American Community Survey. Provides tables, data for download, and also allows for online mapping of census data. 
FRASER Some full text available
"The Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research is a project by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to expand on its mission to provide economic information and data to researchers interested in the U.S. economy. On this web site you will find links to scanned images ... of historical economic statistical publications, releases, and documents."
Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-CPS)
"IPUMS-CPS is an integrated set of data from the March Current Population Survey (CPS), beginning in 1962 and continuing until the present. This harmonized dataset is also compatible with the data from the U.S. decennial censuses that are part of the IPUMS-USA. Researchers can take advantage of the relatively large sample size of IPUMS-USA at ten-year intervals and fill in information for the intervening years using IPUMS-CPS."
Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA)
"The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA) consists of more than fifty high-precision samples of the American population drawn from fifteen federal censuses and from the American Community Surveys of 2000-present. Some of these samples have existed for years, and others were created specifically for this database. These samples, which draw on every surviving census from 1850-present, and the 2000-present ACS samples, collectively constitute our richest source of quantitative information on long-term changes in the American population."
National Historical Geographical Information System (NHGIS) openURL
NHGIS "provides, free of charge, aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2015."
North Atlantic Population Project
Census microdata from Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the United States from 1703 to 1911. 
Social Explorer Restricted Resource Resource contains images
Provides data visualization tools for (mainly U.S.) demographic data from 1790 onwards. 
Statistical Abstract of the United States
"The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web. Sources of data include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies and private organizations."
U.S. Census Bureau
A rich source that includes statistics on population, housing, employment, income and poverty. Includes maps and geographic data, as well as American Factfinder, an interactive web site from which users may retrieve Census data for all available geographic locations and variables.

Historical Newspapers and Periodicals

American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection Restricted Resource Some full text available
The most comprehensive collection of American periodicals published between 1684 and 1912.  Provides rich content in subjects such as advertising, agriculture, health, women's issues, science, the history of slavery, industry and professions, religious issues, literature, the arts, and more. Series 1-5.
Historic Newspapers in Washington Some full text available
A collection of newspapers published in the state of Washington from the 1850's to the 1890's.
Historic Oregon Newspapers Some full text available
A digitized selection of Oregon newspapers published prior to 1923. 
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers Some full text available
This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1836-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
Google Magazines
Particularly good for 20th century mainstream publications like LIFE, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Jet, and so on.
Google News Archive Some full text available
2,400 digitized newspapers from around the world, in various languages. Date of coverage varies by title and holdings are often incomplete. NOTE: not all content is free and this site is no longer updated, but it is still worthwhile to use for historical newspapers that might not be available elsewhere.
Nation, National Review, and New Republic Online Archives [EBSCO] Restricted Resource Some full text available
Full text of the Nation 1865 to the present, the National Review 1955 to the present, and the New Republic 1914 to the present. Select the databases to search individually or together.
New York Times - Historical File 1851-2015 [ProQuest] Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Historical (1851-2015) file includes indexing and full text articles and full page images. Full text is not available for any articles affected by the Supreme Court ruling on the Tasini case (freelance writers and copyright).

For current access, register for the free campuswide access available to all current Wheaton faculty, staff, and students - see New York Times [nytimes.com] for more information.
Washington Post on the Web - historical file Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Historical (1877-2001) file includes indexing and full text articles and full page images; a ProQuest database.
LIFE Magazine Some full text available Resource contains images
Digital archives of America's iconic news magazine, known especially for its photojournalism, hosted by Google Books. 1936-1972. 
The LIFE Photo Archives, which include thousands of images never published in the magazine, are also available. 


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)
Established by Congress in 1980 and opened to the public in 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., is a museum, an educational institution, an archives, and a research center. Its website includes a wealth of information about the museum's collections and exhibitions, but also a significant section dedicated to making scholarship and primary sources on the Holocaust broadly available to the public.