19th Century U.S. History Digital Library

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See also Civil War Digital Library ; The American West: Digital Library ; State & Local History

Making of America Journals
"...is a digital library of primary sources in American social history primarily 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 book collection currently contains approximately 8,500 books with 19th century imprints."

American Originals
"Some of the most interesting and famous documents are presented here, including the Louisiana Purchase, a police report on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and President Nixon's letter of resignation."

America in the 1890s: A Chronology
"Provides links to Personalities; Social Political, Literary, Economic, Cultural Events, Art, Music, and Architecture of the decade"
Produced by Dr. William E. Grant and Ken Dvorak, American Studies Program, Bowling Green State University

Beyond Face Value: Depictions of Slavery in Confederate Currency
"This electronic exhibit focuses on the depictions of slaves in Confederate currency. It is important to remember that these images were created by those who institutionalized and worked to preserve slavery, and they do not necessarily portray the slaves as they viewed themselves and their condition...Images of slavery, however, were not the only illustrations on such documents: Vignettes featuring modes of transportation, mythical characters, historical figures of the American Revolution, and romantic portrayals of white women and children also decorated paper money issued in the Confederacy. These scenes offer a new perspective on the Civil War era South."
A Project of the United States Civil War Center, Louisiana State University

Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791
"This online exhibit recreates an exhibit which opened in the United States Court House in Manhattan in 1989...This exhibit provides an overview of the work of and issues faced by this seminal Congress, which was a virtual second sitting of the Federal Convention, fleshing out the governmental structure outlined in the Constitution and addressing the difficult issues left unresolved by the Constitution. Each "topic" begins with a quote from the Constitution relating to it. The illustrations (letters, newspaper articles, cartoons, portraits, etc.) for the topics provide just a sampling of the. wealth of material in the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, 1789-1791...It is our hope that the exhibit will prove useful, particularly to students and their teachers. Towards that end, we intend to produce an online teacher's guide for the exhibit."

Camping with the Sioux (etext)
Fieldwork Diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher
"The following text is based on two journals kept by Alice Fletcher during a six-week venture into Plains Indian territory in 1881."
- National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture
"...collects and creates electronic resources for study and research of the decorative arts, with a particular focus on Early America. Included are electronic texts and facsimiles, image databases, and Web resources...The project will provide access to digitized primary materials significant to the decorative arts and material culture of Early America. Materials for this project will range from Catesby's Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, to a database of early American Furniture from the Chipstone Foundation."
Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Documenting the American South
The Southern Experience in 19th Century America
"provides digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. It supplies teachers, students, and researchers at every educational level with a wide array of titles they can use for reference, studying, teaching, and research."
Includes Slave Narrative, First-Person Narratives, and Southern Literature
University of North Carolina

The Dred Scott Case
"Arguments about slavery in the print and in public debate had a direct impact on the Scotts and the people who surrounded them. The records contained in this exhibit document the Scotts' early struggle to gain their freedom through litigation and are the only extant record of this significant case as it was heard in the St. Louis Circuit Court ... The 85 documents in the Dred Scott collection are presented here as arranged by the Missouri State Archives..."
Washington University Libraries, St. Louis

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920
"...presents over 9,000 images, with database information, relating to the early history of advertising in the United States. The materials, drawn from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University, provide a significant and informative perspective on the early evolution of this most ubiquitous feature of modern American business and culture."

The Founders' Constitution
"In this unique anthology, Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner draw on the writings of a wide array of people engaged in the problem of making popular government safe, steady, and accountable. The documents included range from the early seventeenth century to the 1830s, from the reflections of philosophers to popular pamphlets, from public debates in ratifying conventions to the private correspondence of the leading political actors of the day."
Web edition, University of Chicago Press and Liberty Fund

Freedom's Journal
The first African-American owned and operated newspaper in the U.S., published 1827-1829 from New York City.
"...provided international, national, and regional information on current events and contained editorials declaiming slavery, lynching, and other injustices. The Journal also published biographies of prominent African-Americans and listings of births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American New York community. Freedom's Journal circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada...All 103 issues of the Freedom's Journal have been digitized and placed into Adobe Acrobat format"
The State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Historical Maps of the United Sates
The Perry-CastaÒeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin

Historical New York Times Project
"The Historical New York Times Project is the first of a series of projects undertaken by the Universal Library at Carnegie Mellon University, to provide everyone with a glimpse into the actual events as they were seen by the people of the day. You will see the rich tapestry of lives, so like ours today, in which now famous events were actually understood, and misunderstood...What we present is not for the historian, who has access to the microfilms and who has the time to study them, but for the general public, worldwide."

Madison's Treasures
"The documents presented here are among the most significant Madison holographs in the Library of Congress' James Madison collection, the largest single collection of original Madison documents in existence. The majority of these documents relates to two seminal events in which Madison played a major role: the drafting and ratification of the Constitution of the United States (1787-8) and the introduction (1789) in the First Federal Congress of the amendments that became the Bill of Rights. Other documents relate to the freedom of religion, a cause to which Madison was passionately devoted, and to the burning of Washington, D.C., by the British in 1814--perhaps the major embarrassment of Madison's political career. Also included is family and autobiographical information written in Madison's hand."
- Library of Congress Exhibition

Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911
"Between 1897 and 1911 Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller, filled seven large scrapbooks with ephemera and memorabilia related to their work with women's suffrage. The Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller scrapbooks are a part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. These scrapbooks document the activities of the Geneva Political Equality Club, which the Millers founded in 1897, as well as efforts at the state, national, and international levels to win the vote for women."
- Library of Congress, American Memory

The Nineteenth Century in Print: The Making of America in Books and Periodicals
"This collection comprises books and periodicals published in the United States during the nineteenth century, primarily during the second half of the century. Most of the materials were digitized through the Making of America project, a collaboration of Cornell University and the University of Michigan to preserve textual materials on deteriorating paper and make them accessible electronically. The materials selected illuminate the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Also included are volumes of American poetry."
- American Memory, Library of Congress

Slave Movement During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
"This site provides access to the raw data and documentation which contains information on the following slave trade topics from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: records of slave ship movement between Africa and the Americas, slave ships of eighteenth century France, slave trade to Rio de Janeiro, Virginia slave trade in the eighteenth century, English slave trade (House of Lords Survey), Angola slave trade in the eighteenth century, internal slave trade to Rio de Janeiro, slave trade to Havana, Cuba, Nantes slave trade in the eighteenth century, and slave trade to Jamaica."
Data and Program Library Service (DPLS), University of Wisconsin

See also our Christianity in America page.

Traders: Voices from the Trading Post
A wonderful multimedia history of Indian traders primarily on the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni reservations.
The highlight is their on-going collection of oral history interviews.
Cline Library Special Collections and Archives, Northern Arizona University

Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion, 1820-1890
"This selection of items from Mystic Seaport's archival collections includes logbooks, diaries, letters, business papers, and published narratives of voyages and travels. The unique maritime perspective of these materials offers a rich look at the events, culture, beliefs, and personal experiences associated with the settlement of California, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest. A number of photographs, paintings, maps, and nautical charts are also included to illustrate the story of Americansí western seaborne travel. Various themes are touched upon, including whaling, life at sea, shipping, women at sea, and native populations."
- American Memory, Library of Congress


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