Archive for Online Primary Sources

Online Primary Sources: V-E Day

Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, seventy-five years ago. Some photographs can be perused; watch/listen to President Truman announce the surrender; Winston Churchill, Great Britain’s Prime Minister, delivered an iconic speech; read newspaper accounts; examine the Act of Surrender ; and listen to BBC reports from around Europe on that fateful day.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Kent State University

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings that marked for many the beginning of the polarization of politics in this country. For many of us, we know exactly where we were when this occurred. (For me, I was galvanized into becoming a participant in the march on Washington the following week.)

You can review the FBI files on this event, browse the extensive May 4 collection at Kent State, view dozens of photos, consult a graphic timeline, and read an excerpt from the book “When Truth Mattered: The Kent State Shootings 50 Years Later”. And don’t forget the 1970 document – The report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest.

“This summer I hear the drumming. Four dead in Ohio.” – Neil Young, Ohio (1970).

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Google News Archives

Actively curated between 2006 and 2011, Google News Archives contains thousands of United States and Canadian newspapers spanning decades.

What is frustrating for researchers is that the search function is minimal at best, there is no stated policy as to what was included, and additions to this database ceased in 2011. However, what is does provide is ready access to long runs of historic newspapers from around the country dating from the late 18th century. With a little patience and creative use of the simple search engine, valuable information can be culled from this vast repository.

Used in conjunction with Chronicling America, a superior site in terms of searching and additional features, a window into the past is readily at hand.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Revolutionary-Era Boston Newspapers/Pamphlets

A remarkable four-volume work containing hundreds of Boston newspaper issues and dozens of pamphlets detailing the political tenor of the times, circa 1765 to 1776, was compiled by the improbably named Harbottle Dorr, a merchant and member of the Sons of Liberty. Not only did he arrange these writings into chronological order, but he also produced a detailed index that is also available for viewing.

The Massachusetts Historical Society hosts this valuable collection and allows searching through a browse function as well as a table of contents. If one wants a look into the pre-revolutionary fervor that was stirring in Boston, here is a perfect landing.

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Compilation of Primary Sources on the Impeachment of President Trump

This handy collection –The Impeachment Papers A Compendium of Documents Related to the Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump– contains many of the major sources widely quoted in the press with regards to the impeachment process. Here are dozens of CRS reports on this most historic, constitutionally-mandated procedure.

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Labor Day – Resources and Links

As we celebrate this important holiday, here is a factsheet with numerous links to resources tracing the history and associated legislation with Labor Day. You can also visit Today in History: First Labor Day.

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British Library Online Exhibitions

This institution has posted many online exhibitions featuring items from its huge collection. Ranging from a large selection of maps of London to early photographically illustrated books, these collections delve into their themes with a curator’s introduction as well as descriptive annotations on each object presented. One can easily lose oneself in the various presentations here.

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